Delivery strategy is separate from content strategy

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

Something occurred to me as I unwrapped my copy of Content Rules, the new book by CC Chapman and Ann Handley, both very good friends. (I got it yesterday, so I haven’t started reading it just yet) Maybe they’ll address it in the book. Maybe not. Content strategy is something of a misnomer.

Here’s why: content strategy the way most people describe it can easily be retitled “build it and they will come”. Build great content and people will find it, share it, and love you for it. Except it doesn’t really work out that way. You really need two strategies: a content strategy and a delivery strategy.

Content is the good stuff. It’s the blogs, tweets, podcasts, the knowledge, data, information, and insight that you are going to share with the world. If your content sucks, nothing you do will be sustainable. No one will want to read what you have to say, listen, watch, or participate because they get no value from you.

Delivery is who gets the good stuff and how it gets there. What content you have dictates how you’ll deliver it. Nothing drives me up a wall faster than an audio photography podcast – show me what you’re taking pictures of instead of talking about it! Likewise, most music videos are a waste of time – the musician could have saved themselves time and energy by making more songs I want to listen to than dancing around in a silly costume.

Delivery also encompasses audience. It’s fine to have a blog or a podcast, but if no one is listening or reading, it doesn’t matter.

Which do you do first? Content. You must build damn good content first, then find people who want it. How do you find people who want it? You listen to them ask about it, knock on their door gently, and try to provide value quickly.

Let’s do a Twitter-based exercise together.

Start by filling your Twitter stream with great content. Interact. Lots of replies. Share stuff that’s useful. Put up a decent introductory landing page.

Then do a Twitter search like this:

"content strategy?" -http - Twitter Search

Let’s see who we get, assuming we are blogging about content strategy. Hey look, there’s someone writing about it now.

"content strategy?" -http - Twitter Search

Go follow them.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat until you’ve followed everyone talking about content strategy that’s working on it or you hit your daily limit of 1,000 follows. Then do it some more tomorrow. Some percentage of folks will do their homework, investigate you and what you’re about, and as long as your content is dynamite, you’ve built audience as part of your delivery strategy.

You might also enjoy:

Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here

AI for Marketers Book
Take my Generative AI for Marketers course!

Analytics for Marketers Discussion Group
Join my Analytics for Marketers Slack Group!


5 responses to “Delivery strategy is separate from content strategy”

  1. Well then…. It sounds to me like you’re suggesting that I follow a thousand people a day, simply to receive more followers. I’ve never played that game, as I don’t believe it’s a good idea. I prefer following two or three new people that interest me a day, and if others follow me, that’s cool, but I’ve never subscribed to the “I’ll follow you so you follow me back” model.

  2. Fantastic. It’s ironic (I suppose) that in the race to maximize content reach people often forget about the most important item – quality.

    We spend so much time focused on data mining to find the perfect nugget of conversion or organic gold that we forget people still need a reason to legitimately care about your content. Neither can thrive without the other.

    Love the post Chris , thanks!

  3. Meghan Casey Avatar
    Meghan Casey

    Good content strategy includes what you call delivery strategy.

  4. “Here’s why: content strategy the way most people describe it can easily be retitled ‘build it and they will come.’”

    Hold the bus! “Most people” say lots of things–like “I could care less”–but that doesn’t mean they’re correct.

    Practicing content strategists have been codifying and evangelizing the definition over the past couple of years. (See for some roots.) Coming out of 2009’s Content Strategy Consortium, “the practice of planning for content creation, delivery, and governance,” evolved to this: “content strategy is planning for the creation, aggregation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content in an experience.” I add that, in addition to being useful and usable, content must be brand appropriate as well; genericism undercuts good experiences.

    It sounds like you’re confusing content marketing and content strategy here. These areas of practice have a bit of a Venn-style overlap. While content marketing addresses how you create and use content to draw attention, content strategy addresses the broader lifecycle and actors in it. Delivery and audience are components of both practices.

  5. I agree with previous comments that delivery strategy should be PART of your content strategy, and, more importantly, that you should get to know your audience FIRST. Who are they? What do they need/want to know? Where and how do they want to consume that information? What format/delivery channel will most appropriately meet those needs and desires? With those insights you can then plan, create and deliver damn good content that your intended audience will find, consume, learn from, enjoy, act on, share, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This