Content creation, marketing and strategy are three diverse terms that overlap in similarities but have strong differences that make them unique. However, if you were to ask any bystander on the street to compare and contrast content creation, content marketing and content strategy they would most likely have no idea how to answer. The terms blur together and with content being a theme in all three it can be difficult to differentiate. So let’s examine these terms further and see what makes them all unique, starting with the basic definitions.
Content creation is very self expiatory. To expand on it a little bit further than just saying “the creation of content” every video you see on facebook and every tweet you see on twitter is content that someone created. Content creation can be personal or for a brand. If I were to sum it up in a definition it would say: the act of creation something with the intention for someone to consume it, usually a graphic or media of some sort. But don’t take my word for it, take Hubspot’s,
“Content creation is the process of generating topic ideas that appeal to your buyer persona, creating written or visual content around those ideas, and making that information accessible to your audience as a blog, video, infographic, or other format.”
They bring up a great point because an important part of content creation is the audience that will be consuming it. Every piece of content, even personal pieces, are created with the audience in mind. The audience guides the content.
Next up is content marketing. To me, this is the step that naturally follows after content creation. The content marketing institute describes content marketing as,
“…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
That sounds like a lot of marketing jargon so let’s break it down. This phase is designed to determine who your audience is, what your business plan is, the goals you have and how you plan on addressing problems. Content marketing is the outline of your project.
Lastly is content strategy. This is the big How of your project. How are you going to get your content, that you created in the content strategy plan to your audience, which you defined in your content marketing stage. I really like these questions that Search Engine Journal says are important to ask yourself at the content strategy stage:
Why should the content be published?
Where are we going to publish this content?
When should we roll out this content to viewers?
Who do we want to see it?
What reaction are we hoping to receive from the content?
What in the world do we do with the content after we’ve published it?
These questions are important at this stage because this stage is all about fulfilling the audience’s needs. This stage should be the final way to ensure the audience is being thought of throughout the process.
So how are they all similar and different? I think the similarities are pretty obvious. All of the terms focus on the audience. Each term circles back to the core belief that what you are doing should be with the audience in mind, above everything else. In addition to that none of these terms can function without the other. Well, they can, but they wouldn’t function as successfully. For example, you can create all the content you want, but if you want it to be successful and seen by a lot of people, you need to employ the tactics used in content marketing and content strategy.
Differences between the terms can be found in specificities. Content creation focus on, again, the creation. Content marketing focuses on laying the ground work. Content strategy focuses on following through on that ground work and getting that creation to the audience.
In the end all three are incredibly important parts of content that should not be over looked.