Oftentimes, we confuse strategy and tactics. A strategy is a plan for achieving your objectives. It’s all about the big picture, mapping the path and setting the tone for your journey.

We tend to think that what we do day in and day out is strategic in nature. But if we’re interested in utilizing content and publishing as a marketing mechanism, it’s important to understand the difference between a strategy and a tactic. Telling stories matters, but there are countless marketers who are commoditizing content based on the demand to tactically execute.

Content is not just something you can produce and dump into the trough for the world to gorge itself on. It is not something you produce off of a conveyor belt. Content demands a much higher level of commitment.

Again, strategy is the path you set to your objective. Tactics are the incremental steps you take on that quest. In turn, if you decide that publishing as a strategy is the path to your goal, tactics are the specific steps you take as you navigate that path.

Imagine your business purpose and vision as a mountain peak. Your strategy is the route map—the path you choose that’s going to get you up that mountain. Tactics are the steps you take on the journey to advance your way along that chosen path toward the summit, thus realizing your vision.

Story is frequently used as a tactic to attract the attention of customers. Too often, I hear, “We just need to get some content out.” We worry about the perfect tag-lines and appeasing every internal political whim, and chortling every feature and benefit of the products we make. And we don’t really even know if those tactics help us get closer to our objective.

By failing to see your narrative as part of your strategy and making publishing the process rather than the byproduct, you’re missing the opportunity to get closer to your market. Utilizing the publishing process as a strategy and not just a tactic elevates your business to another level. It moves you from antiseptic noise to an enriching process that simultaneously nurtures understanding and community.

Using publishing strategically inspires understanding. And to differentiate ourselves from the competition and create affinity with the right clients, we must show rather than tell. In other words, the magic lies in the creation of the story and not the distribution.

Mark Potter

Mark Potter

CEO, Conduit, Inc.

Mark Potter is the CEO of Conduit Inc, a content marketing organization, which produces a variety of publications and community building programs including CANVAS Magazine. In addition, Mark is the author of the book, Egrets, Hockey Sticks, & Roller Skates and sits on the Electronic Document Scholarship Board.