Warning: Don’t fall victim to content strategy’s biggest mistake

If you think content strategy and content marketing are independent of each other, your content doesn’t stand a chance. Here is why:

Content strategy vs. content marketing

Yes, the two concepts are drastically different from each other, but understanding that you can’t successfully do one without the other is a must.

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Think of content strategy as a whole hamburger, with content marketing being the bun that holds that strategy together. A content strategy would fall apart if it didn’t have the support of content marketing, so why do we separate the two?

In its most basic form, content strategy provides answers to the Four W’s: Who? What? Where? Why? Content marketing answers how it will reach the target audience.

The problem many content strategists run into is that they think their job is done once they have provided answers to the Four W’s.

They wipe their hands clean and then rely on the content marketer—whether that’s an SEO expert, outreach specialist, or CRO professional—to take it from there.

This is a mistake.

Working with a content marketer throughout the entire process is the only way to take a good content piece and make it great.

Knowing what type of content to create

Content strategists who work in conjunction with content marketers will create content designed with the user in mind. They understand that a solid marketing strategy is all about delivering the right message, in the right format, to the right people, at the right time.

They also understand that a piece designed specifically for social media shouldn’t look the same as a piece that will be delivered via email campaigns.

Groupon has mastered the art of delivering the right content, in the right format, to the right people. Take their website content and their email marketing content, for example.

It’s evident they understand that while the two should convey the same message, it has to be delivered in different formats to gain any traction.

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Their email campaigns provide just enough detail to get the consumer interested, without overwhelming them with information.

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The website, on the other hand, is packed with information and answers nearly every question a customer could have.

These are prime examples of what can go right when a content strategist and a content marketer work together to deliver a message across different digital channels.

Creating content isn’t enough. It has to be seen

Have you ever come up with an idea you just know will take the internet by storm, yet it falls flat on its face? You’re not alone. In fact, in 2013 it was reported that roughly 70% of all content was never seen.

This brings us back to the idea that working together is the best way to create effective marketing campaigns.

As a content strategist, you should work with the content marketer from the get-go to determine not only who the content piece is for, but how to get that content in front of the target consumer. Content marketers are typically more immersed in an industry, working more directly with your target audience. They know where your target customer is and how to reach them.

Take, for example, Obrella.com, a startup website that’s trying to break into the well-established insurance industry. One approach taken was to review top auto and home insurance companies, not a new concept within any B2C industry. But incredibly effective.

Their reviews of Allstate auto insurance, The General, and more were quickly picked up and gained consistent traffic thanks to backlinks from top consumer websites.

The success they saw came from having a content marketing plan in place to help support the strategy. This allowed the content marketer to get the right content in front of consumers who were in the shopping phase of their purchase decision.

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If the content marketing plan had not been in place, the time and research that went into creating those pages could have all been for naught.

Content marketing explains ROI

At the end of the day, content strategists create content that aims to do something:get social shares, earn email addresses, make a sale, etc. And while a content strategist can dig into analytics and find page conversions, without working with the content marketer they can’t answer the how.

Let’s say you have a page that gets 20,000 visitors a month. Content strategists must work with the content marketer to be able to answer how that traffic was gained. With Facebook now sending more traffic than Google to sites, using SEO to explain the how is no longer the only viable option.

Content marketers are responsible for answering if paid media was utilized, what metrics were used for a social campaign that sent referring traffic, if it was part of a link-building campaign, and more.

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Knowing the how will allow content strategists to make more informed decisions for the next piece, ultimately allowing them to be more successful and provide better content to the user.

“There is no content strategy without measurement strategy. Before embarking on a content initiative, irrespective of medium or platform, it’s important to know what you want to achieve.” -Rebecca Lieb, Principal at Conclomotron LLC

The end goal is the same

The good news is that both disciplines share the same objective, and should ultimately want what is best for the consumer. Then all it takes is an open line of communication.

Utilize kick-off meetings for each new project that address who the content is being created for, why it needs to be created, and how it’s going to get into the right hands. If you prefer tools to help you fully visualize the strategy and marketing of projects, I recommend Divvy, Kapost, and Marketing-AI.

At the end of the day, working together in a more seamless fashion will not only make both disciplines more successful, but will result in a better customer experience from start to finish.

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