The content strategy and marketing relationship

How content strategy relates to content marketing has generated much discussion, as various practitioners learn more about what each other does.  There is growing acknowledgement that content marketing needs strategy, but how this happens is still not widely agreed.  Some people speak of a hybridization called “content marketing strategy” while others refer to content marketing as simply the tactical implementation of content strategy — a related but distinctly later stage of activity.  Implicit in these formulations is a game of one-upmanship, placing one aspect or another as the less important detail.

I have created a simple diagram to show how each side needs to relate to the other.  I hope to bring greater specificity to the discussion than has been generally offered so far, without weighing down it with  long explanations.

How content strategy and content marketing should relate to each other
How content strategy and content marketing should relate to each other

I decided to align content activities according to whether they are primarily focused on brand content in general, or on the relationship with a specific audience segment.  Obviously, audience and content are two sides of the same coin, so there are some things I’ve classified one way that others might classify differently.  One common responsibility is content experience: making sure content offers audiences engagement.  Practitioners are welcome to re-classify specific tasks as they like: I am merely trying to highlight broad tendencies.   I wanted to avoid classification biases based on fuzzy notions of “strategic” verses “tactical” activities, or narrow notions of sales-supporting verses overhead activities.

A second caution is not to treat this classification as a way to organize internally, or to equate activity names to specific job titles.  Ideally, everyone involved in content should work together as an integrated team.  No one person will be expert on all these activities, and some activities may not be familiar to you individually.  The list of activities itself is only indicative, and not exhaustive.

Organizations practice widely different ways of dividing up teams involved with content, based on many factors including budgets, oversight responsibilities and so forth.  My modest hope is that revealing the mutual dependence of various parties on each other for the success of the whole will promote better coordination.

— Michael Andrews