Category Digital Marketing
Publication date
31 October 2014

What is the difference between content strategy and content marketing? (and other adventures in communications)

Time to read 3 minutes read

A definition of content strategy is not hard to come up with. It is the process of having a "strategy" for your "content" - what we publish, where, why, and how we measure its success.

For some reason, when you tell people you "do" content strategy, they say "Oh, you make viral videos" or "you write blog posts", or "ah, you're an editor". In a small company it's a both/and answer, in a large company it's a neither/nor one.

This is part two in a multi-part blog series on content strategy. Read part one: An introduction to content strategy for beginners.

Let's set some records straight. Content strategy is not:

Content strategy is not Content marketing

Content marketing deals with using content to market your product or service. Examples include creating interesting blog posts (like this one!), releasing viral videos, hosting a webinar, publishing competitions on social media. All of these might be a part of your content strategy, but they are not your content strategy in itself.

So, who "does" content marketing? It's a mix between the marketing and the content departments.

Content strategy is not Copy writing

Copy writing means writing copy (words). It's really that simple. This can range from terms and conditions to signup forms, from taglines to viral video scripts (for the content marketing department to use). It should be quite easy to see why copy writing does not equal content strategy, but certainly is a part of it.

Who "does" copy writing? Well, the copy writers of course. But also anyone who writes anything that reflects upon your business.

Content strategy is not Copy editing

Once the copy writing is in train, someone needs to oversee it. This is usually the copy editor. S/he reads the copy, makes suggestions, and sends it back to the copy writers. Of course, there's much more to it than that, but for the purpose of this exercise, that will suffice. Like copy writing, copy editing is not your content strategy, but does form a part of it.

Who "does" copy editing? You can probably guess. But also anyone who changes any piece of copy (edits it), such as amending a typo in a blog post or deleting a social media status.

Content strategy is not Social media strategy

Social media and social media strategy is huge these days. Everyone is blogging, commenting, tweeting, responding. This is great. It "gets the message out", but it alone does not constitute a content strategy - and if it does, well ... something isn't write (sic).

So, who "does" social media strategy? Why, the social media strategist. Be careful this isn't the intern on school work experience. Do you really want the person who knows least about your business saying most about your business?

Content strategy is not Just about web content

Content strategy is about content. All content. Full stop.

It is not just about web content. It's about your business cards, your mission statement, your billboard advertising. It's about your homepage, your auto-responders, and everything else that has to do with your business.


That's a short summary of what content strategy is not. It doesn't mean that what you are doing with any of the above is wrong.

What it might mean is that you are doing lots of things right, but don't have a "governance" (strategy) document around it. This document will help everyone to know how each piece of content feeds into the others and how each fulfils a business goal.

Profile picture for user Mark Conroy

Mark Conroy Director of Development

When not promoting sustainable front-end practices at conferences across Europe, Mark leads our development team to create ambitious digital experiences for clients, so they, in turn, can have success with their clients.

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