Digital content is everything. If you are part of a young business trying to get off the ground, you will need the three pieces of the content triangle for the highest chance of success, whether that is to gain the most followers, or to earn the most customers.
Content creation, content marketing, and content strategy are the three most important tools any person or business needs to successfully find an audience. Without any one of these three assets, your content will not earn the engagement that it deserves.
While content creation, content marketing, and content strategy all seem like they are the same concept, they are more different than you think, and are integral to ensure your content is noticed. As you continue reading, you will learn about each concept and how they are similar yet unique to each other.
Content creation is the easiest concept to grasp amongst the three. It is all forms of digital media that has, well, been created. Blogs (like this post), music, films, videos, or even podcasts count as a form of content creation. The goal is to make content that is valuable and engaging to your audience (Green). Whether or not that is true for you, as long as you make your content, you can call yourself a “content creator.”
Here is an example of content creation. This is a short film animatic that I made for a class called, fittingly enough, Content Creation. Based on the view count on YouTube, it is not an engaging piece of content that did a good job of keeping an audience. Regardless, the video itself is a form of content creation because it is a form of digital media that can be viewed by an audience of any size.
Content marketing is the actions one takes to make their content effective to an audience. It takes your content creation and makes a goal: to earn the trust of potential consumers. This will increase your chances of getting these people to consider you when they finally want that product or service that you offer.
Content marketing is about using content so that it changes or enhances a behavior (Rose). You want to get audiences to your website and to recognize you as a business that is worth coming back to in the future. Content marketing works because it does not directly sell a product or service (McCoy). As long as you are using the content to build relationships with an audience, then you are employing strong content marketing tactics.
This is an example of content marketing used by the Orlando Magic. They use AI in order to generate customized emails and notifications to each of their fans (Harris) regarding extra benefits that their tickets have, such as getting the best value for them if they are looking to resell their tickets. This gives fans a reason to continue staying loyal to their favorite team and makes them want to continue supporting the team in the future.
Content strategy takes the first two concepts and uses them to help sustain your business. Once all of the content marketing efforts are done to drive users to your site, content strategy converts that traffic into leads, followers and customers (Bowman). Think of it as the guiding force to all your content marketing efforts.
With a content strategy, you dive deeper into the statistics and characteristics behind your users, which helps you determine how they are reacting to your content and what you can do to make that content more appealing. This is called User Research, or the “exploration of your users’ attitudes and beliefs, concerns, experiences, behaviors, and motivations” (Casey, 81). This approach seeks to understand an individual’s actions towards your content and can help you figure out who is seeing your content, how they are affected by it, and who else you want to see your content.
Every company implements content strategies in order to adjust to the wants and needs of the user, which impacts the direction the company takes their products and services. Google has plenty of products and services, and uses a website dedicated solely to user research studies. Google’s incentive of “the chance to build something you’ll love” leads users to believe they will have a direct impact on the next major Google product or update to one of their existing services.
Google is not showcasing any content or driving people to their websites. Instead, Google is calling on the help of their users to get a better idea of how they use Google’s services and what they want to see from Google next. Acquiring data this specific is not possible with content creation or content marketing, and is one reason why having an effective content strategy can do wonders for the future of your business.
Content creation, content marketing, and content strategy are all related. Content creation is the building of your content, content marketing is the publishing and distribution of your content, and content strategy is the management and study of how your content performs with its intended audience. These concepts are linked with the goal of using content to engage with an audience and to build relationships with future customers. Without one of these concepts, a business’s efforts may be all for nothing,. Unless you are creating content for fun, it is vital to include content marketing and content strategy if you want your content to be a hit.
Bowman, Matt. “Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing: What’s the Difference?” Forbes, 17 Oct, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/10/17/content-strategy-vs-content-marketing-whats-the-difference/?sh=15be253b7e7b
Casey, Meghan. The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right. New Riders, 2015.
Green, Ben. “Content Creation and Content Marketing: Key Distinctions for B2B Marketers.” Oktopost, 14 Oct, 2015, https://www.oktopost.com/blog/content-creation-and-content-marketing/
Harris, Jodi. “Learn From The Best: 8 Inspiring Content Marketing Examples.” Content Marketing institute, 22 Jan, 2019, https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2019/01/best-content-marketing-examples/
McCoy, Julia. “The Difference Between Content Marketing and Content Strategy (& Why You Need Both).” Search Engine Journal, 1 Mar, 2020, https://www.searchenginejournal.com/content-marketing-vs-content-strategy/349392/#close
Rose, Robert. “How Content Strategy and Content Marketing are Separate But Connected.” Content Marketing Institute, 16 Oct, 2013, https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/10/content-strategy-content-marketing-separate-connected/