Many marketers maintain a two-pronged approach to content marketing.

  1. Tactical Strategies: These are concepts like best practices for content, how to optimize and other efforts that focus on the micro-level, i.e., individual assets or campaigns; and,
  2. Strategic Methodology: This is the bird’s eye overview of a brand’s approach to content marketing, concentrating on direction and organization of the micro-level efforts. Concepts such as brand building and SEO are within this category.

Together, these two ideologies support each other, but a third category has risen to importance in the content marketing world. Success can be built using the approaches described above, but each must be guided by a common purpose in marketing decision making. Having a purpose is often overlooked, whereas it should be seen as a driving force that gives structure to the other two content marketing prongs. Purpose is essential to establishing effective content frameworks that build and reinforce your brand, and here’s why.

Purpose Guides Branding

Companies that create visible, enduring brands are those that have a clear vision to guide their marketing strategies. When a single asset (micro-level) or campaign (macro-level) is developed with purpose in mind, organizations can transition brand messages between their products and services seamlessly because the message itself remains consistent. Storytelling efforts fit naturally within the overall framework because the direction has been established first by identifying purpose.

Incorporating purpose starts with asking the question “Why?” Once a coherent, concise answer to that inquiry is developed, the tactical and strategic decisions fall into place to support brand building.

Purpose Provides Impact from the Top Down

Many organizations expect measurable results from their social and content marketing efforts – and are disheartened by a lack of impact. They’re following the best practices and documenting their content marketing strategy, but the efforts are stymied. Most often, this is because marketers are focusing on the tactical and/or strategic initiatives above without first engaging in the prerequisite: establishing their purpose.

Knowing the best time to deliver a tweet or having an ideal blog topic doesn’t give purpose to the content you’ve created. Purpose is where a brand building strategy should start; you can’t earn your chops with #1 or #2 above without it. It eventually trickles down to the micro- and macro-levels once there’s a structured framework in place.

Purpose is a Communication Channel for Content

While it’s effective at aligning content marketing efforts and inspiring ideas, purpose serves as a conduit for communicating the content you develop. Your content is a vessel for spreading the word about your brand and gathering an audience, instead of the other way around. When you take this approach, content and purpose are interconnected and co-dependent upon each other: Content can communicate purpose, while purpose gives structure to content creation and strategy. But it’s critical to remember that content comes first.