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Strategic Content and Why It’s NOT Marketing

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In between archiving, editing, walking the cats and composing I find myself thinking a lot about the connections and lines between what I do. Naturally some are decidedly clearer than others, and the confusion continues with the finished product. Let’s briefly define marketing as activity relating to the sale of goods or services. The important takeaway for me is that it’s in service of something else.

1. It can stand alone. Good content adds something valuable and coherent without branding. This is supposed to be true of content marketing as well but the contextual pressures are different.

2. It is slower. Not only slower, but often existing at wholly different stages in a customer journey. Nobody wants a sonic screwdriver who hasn’t seen Dr. Who, but the producers of the same never had to consider a consumer market for sonic screwdrivers, they just had to make a cool show.

3. The metrics are different. You can’t really link revenue to strategic content. Engagement is more crucial and credibility grows with it. You also need room to fail by any statistical metric. Whatever value drives your content and however well crafted it is, sometimes it will echo in the void – take a broader view and remember that meaningful dialogue takes time to build.

4. It engages with the wider issues. Strategic content serves a purpose rather than a product or service, and that purpose has to be bigger than you or your company, or it will fall flat. There are opportunities here to express values and contexts you have no other way to show, or maybe it just connects some dots you wish had been pointed out to you earlier.

5. Did I mention room to fail? Go out on a creative limb, be real, be human. If it’s not about more than clicks or revenue, you’ll lose your audience.

6. It’s often collaborative! As well as engaging with the wider issues that are important to you, consider the wider community: physical location, special interest, sector etc. So many other people and organisations are involved in your journey you need to be able to celebrate them if you expect others to put faith in you.

So, what’s the point if it can’t be assigned a cash value?

Creating your context, engaging with your neighbours and standing by your values are activities attached to longevity, so it depends whether you intend to sell or to build.

Now, what kind of copy is this?

While I haven’t written this to appeal to a particular demographic, generate clicks or ad revenue, context still makes a lie of any of the points I’ve made here (even the title). I’m actively looking for clients, collaborators and potential employers, making this content marketing. Yes, it’s all attached to a product and the product is me. Add in a tidy call to action like “message me to talk about content with a deeper purpose than sales” and we’re about done.


In my portfolio you can see how brand development and strategic content interact for a charity start-up.

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

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