Content marketing strategy vs content strategy

Estimated reading time
4 minutes
15th March 2023
Author: Tilly Henley
Posted in: Content Production, Strategy & Planning

Is there a difference between content marketing strategy and content strategy? At Turtl, we define a content strategy as the research, creation and governance of content – across and for all parts of the business.

The difference is the word ‘marketing’. A content marketing strategy can be described as an inbound marketing strategy that creates and distributes content for consumption by an intended audience, with goals aligned to driving brand and product awareness – and ultimately sales.

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” – Content Marketing Institute


What is a content marketing strategy?

Content marketing is a sub-discipline of marketing in which brands create inbound marketing resources like blog posts, reports, magazines, whitepapers and videos to attract and engage leads, share  expertise, and inspire prospects and customers.

This can be coupled with other disciplines including email marketing, social media marketing, search marketing, PR, website and app design.

The point of content marketing

The idea with content marketing is that by helping your audience solve particular pain points relevant to your business’s offering, your brand builds trust, likability and respect, and nurtures  prospects or customers towards a particular goal.

Thought leadership, industry research, opinion pieces and non-product related how-to content all fall into this discipline, and should be steered by your content marketing strategy.

Defining the bigger picture of content marketing

The content marketing plan is the bigger picture behind your efforts – the how and the why. It defines the specific objectives, target audience and pain points to be targeted by a content marketing programme, as well as the types of content to be created. It outlines the distribution plan for what’s created, and the metrics used to measure the success of activities.

Your content marketing strategy document steers the ship, keeping the many spinning plates of a content programme focused and aligned.

Sign saying "This house was clean yesterday - were sorry you missed it

What is a content strategy?

Conversely, content strategy takes into account your business’s entire content ecosystem. At a high level, a content strategy defines the criteria for and prioritizes what needs to be created, updated or binned across the entirety of customer touchpoints, including post-sale. As such it’s a cross-function strategy and not just about marketing.  

In B2B, this includes (but not limited to) collateral for:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Retention/upsell
  • Support and CX
  • Events
  • Partnerships
  • Internal comms

At Turtl, it steers the likes of SaaS knowledge base content internally and externally, coaching handbooks and partner collateral. In fact, content strategy is everywhere, impacting how we  communicate things like product launches or new services internally and externally.

Cohesion and consistency

Your business will be working towards particular goals and each department will have objectives that should feed directly into them. Your content strategy needs to be designed to  aid  these objectives. Leveraging a deep understanding of your audience to ensure content across touchpoints (and produced across departments), remains goal-oriented – is crucial. 

 Also, understanding your audience provides direction around your tone of voice and style, user scenarios and messaging hierarchies. And if closely paired with a visual style guide or rule book, all published  communications are  presented cohesively to achieve business goals.

Ownership and workflows

A content strategy also involves content production and governance processes. Your strategy should break down silos across and within departments, replacing potentially separated work with a well-oiled production line. This way, departments can align giving your content team richer insights across the business, and the capability of outputting high-quality content when handling multiple requests. .

It’s a complex beast, but worth investing time and effort into getting right – especially if customer experience is central to your business strategy.

Digital content strategy 101

Increasingly, when people talk about content strategy, they mean digital content strategy. As more and more businesses transform their marketing activities to a digital-first approach, print takes the back seat.

There is definitely still room for printed content in a healthy strategy. However, understanding how a printed piece of collateral works online is critical to maximizing the value of what can be a very costly resource.

How to plan your content strategy

Content strategy has seen a delightful amount of attention over the last five or so years.  There are a variety of excellent resources out there to help you plan yours. Here are some of our faves:

Resources to help you with content marketing

There is a lot of content about content marketing (surprise), but a lot of it is superficial. Here are a couple of hands-on resources to help you move your planning forward.

Turtl Takeaway

Don’t get tunnel vision with your content. It’s easy to start churning out content as part of your workload, or to just get something out there, but taking time to plan out your content and consider the wider business is just as important. A content marketing strategy will help to define your audience and their pain points but without a solid content strategy your content may not fit as strongly into the wider business goals. Your content strategy will help you focus your efforts into content that will help the other teams in your business and by extension your product or service.