Content Marketing vs. Content Strategy: What’s the Difference?

From a bird’s eye view, content marketing and content strategy may seem to mean the same thing. When you drill down into each term you will quickly find they are completely different, though they complement each other well.

Matt Bowman wrote an article for in 2018 titled, “Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing: What’s the difference?” In the article, Bowman said content marketing helps drive traffic to the site while the content strategy helps to convert that traffic into leads, followers, and customers.

“Without a strategy, your content marketing efforts will seem reactive to what your competition is doing instead of creating content or implementing a tactic based on research, analysis, and what your audience really wants or needs,” Bowman said.

Debra Murphy also tackled the topics of Content Marketing and Content Strategy in 2016, when she wrote an article for questioning whether you need both.

Murphy said content marketing goals could be to drive traffic to the site, increase brand awareness, grow an email list, or generate leads – to name a few – and when creating a marketing plan, it is important to understand content needs of the buyer, define the type of content to include, and determine a distribution strategy.

As for content strategy, defining its purpose – whether to increase visibility, collect more leads, establish authority in the industry, or grow sales – is important, as are understanding the client’s challenges, defining frequency, determining who will create and maintain the content, and developing a style guide to ensure all content across all channels is branded the same.

“Content marketing is a combination of strategy and execution,” Murphy said. “Content strategy is the foundation of content marketing.”

To help elaborate on content marketing a little more, the Netmechanic Team wrote an article in 2020 that compared content marketing with content strategy.

Some of the different types of content marketing include blog posts that help improve SEO and build a relationship with the customer, videos, infographics, and white papers.

“In simple terms, content marketing can be understood as a form of marketing which focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing content to an online audience with the goal of attracting customers,” the team said. “Content can be text-, image-, or video-based and refers specifically to digitally created content.”

The Netmechanic team also said strategy is the foundation for successful content marketing.

“It is the map which guides the journey of your content and lays out where, when, and most importantly, why your content will be shared,” they said.

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Bowman, Matt. (2018) Council Post: Content Strategy Vs. Content Marketing: What’s The Difference?. Retrieved February 07, 2021, from

Murphy, Debra. (2016) Content Strategy or Content Marketing – Do You Need Both?. Retrieved February 08, 2021, from

Netmechanic Team. (2020) Content Marketing Vs. Content Strategy Differences | NetMechanic. Retrieved February 08, 2021, from

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