What is content strategy? Plus 4 other content marketing questions, answered

What is content? What is content marketing? Why does it matter?

Chances are, you’ve typed that into Google once or twice. It could have been five years ago, five months ago, or even five minutes ago, and maybe it’s what brought you here. You’ve got questions about why people at the office keep throwing around the terms “content marketing,” “content strategy,” “content creation,” and “content distribution.” We’ve got answers.

What is content? What is content marketing?

Content (adjective): in a state of peaceful happiness or a state of satisfaction

Content (noun): something someone consumes—such as a written article, a social post, a photo, or video

Content marketing (noun): using content to provide consumers with the information they seek as a means of generating awareness, engagement, or revenue for the business creating or sponsoring it

Those are the simplest ways to explain content and content marketing. The key is to think of content as something to consume—a book, an article, a social media post, a YouTube video. Content can also be a(n):

  • Article
  • Book
  • Case study
  • Documentary
  • Email newsletter
  • Film
  • GIF
  • Infographic
  • Listicle
  • Podcast
  • Powerpoint
  • Social media post
  • Video
  • Webinar
  • Whitepaper

And that is nowhere near a complete and comprehensive list. In fact, content’s scope changes with how we consume media. In the future, content could include virtual or augmented reality apps or be created by AI. Whatever medium it’s in, content is something we use and consume.

If content is something to be consumed, then content marketing is with a specific business goal or intention in mind. Brands strategize about it, create it, and distribute it for audiences, potential customers, and existing customers. The end goal is to provide some type of value to customers—usually either to inform, educate, or entertain them—in the hopes of generating awareness, engagement, or revenue for the brand. Content marketing is content made for a brand’s purpose.

What is content strategy?

Content strategy is the planning, developing, and management of content. A content strategy uses research and data—including search trends, keywords, industry activity, web analytics, and social analytics—to make observations and insights about that data. From there, brands use these insights to inform their planning, development, and management of content. All content strategies need to be documented if you want to see any kind of success.

What is content creation?

Content creation is the production of content from start to finish. It starts with a content idea that comes from a content strategy. Then, a content creator or team of content creators bring it to life. That may happen online or off, and the result could be an e-book or an article, an infographic or a chart, etc. Content creators can be writers, producers, artists, designers, filmmakers, journalists, musicians, podcasters—it all depends on the needs of the medium.

What is content distribution?

Content distribution is the process of amplifying your content across key channels. These channels could be owned channels, such as your company’s newsletter or blog; third-party channels, which host and promote the content elsewhere, like Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, SEM ads, and more; or paid channels, where your brand pays third-party channels like Twitter and Instagram to advertise your content.

Content distribution often relies on a combination of owned, third-party, and paid channels to get the most impressions possible. Not all third-party channels require paid advertising, but lately we’ve seen a trend where brands use some ad dollars to amplify content distribution even more.

With these definitions, you should have a greater idea of what and why content and content marketing are important. Stay tuned for our next post, or contact us to see how we can work directly with your team and proactively educate your most important stakeholders on the space.

Image credit: StepanPopov via Shutterstock

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