Branding. Messaging. Editorial Calendar. Content. Copy.

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Do you know the difference?

Branding, messaging, editorial calendar, content and copy: These terms are often used interchangeably. 

The truth: Each of these words has its own unique meaning and plays a specialized role in the marketing process. 

It’s important for marketers to know the differences among these terms so they can effectively leverage them — and the tactics associated with them — in a marketing plan and campaign. Here’s a simple way to understand and remember them:

•    Branding = Who
•    Messaging = What
•    Editorial Calendar = When and where
•    Content = Why
•    Copy = How

Let’s take a closer look at this construct and how you can use it to take your marketing to the next level.

Branding = Who

Think of your brand as the “personality” of your firm. It’s the identity that conveys your firm’s:
•    Values
•    Mission
•    Work practices
•    Services
•    Products
•    Way of doing business.

Your brand governs everything about your company, including:
•    What it does
•    How it does it
•    What is says about itself
•    Its tone of voice
•    The imagery used to present itself to the world.

Ask yourself: Can you describe your firm as a type of person? Here are some examples:
•    A smart yet stodgy uncle that explains everything in formal terms
•    The best friend that guides you through life offering friendly advice
•    A maternal figure that offers protection and reassurance through difficult times
•    A coach that provides firm and clear guidance to win the race.

If you can’t describe the personality of your firm, you need to work on developing or improving your brand.

Messaging = What

Once you’ve defined your company’s brand and it’s personality, you should figure out what it needs to say to explain itself to prospective and current clients. This is known as messaging. It’s all the points that must be conveyed so your prospects and clients understand how your brand benefits them.

Here are some examples of typical messages used by financial and professional services firms:
•    Committed to customer service
•    Leader in cutting-edge technology
•    Protecting the things that matter most
•    Focused on generating results.

Having a messaging platform gives your marketing team a foundation of key messages to leverage when building marketing assets and campaigns. Make sure each of your messaging points is backed up by solid proof points.

Editorial Calendar = When and Where

Your editorial calendar is the plan that explains when and where your brand connects with prospects and clients. Start by doing research to find out where they spend time (publications, programs, websites, etc.) so you can deliver messages to them on their turf.

  • Are they Millennials who connect on Instagram and Snapchat and other social media platforms?
  • Are they Boomers who prefer to watch the news on television?
  • Are they upscale professionals who get all their information through Bloomberg, The Huffington Post and other online news sources?

Once you understand the media habits and preferences of your prospect and client base, and you have a defined marketing budget, you and your team — or an agency — can plan an editorial calendar that defines where and how often you connect with them.

An editorial calendar is the blueprint of a successful marketing plan. It’s a good way to know your marketing assets are being delivered when and how you expect to the audiences you’re targeting. It also serves as the basis for generating metrics and results to determine the success of your marketing efforts.

Content = Why

Think of content as why you deliver your messages the way you do. Content is the core deliverable your prospects and clients interact with to learn about your brand. Content takes the form of videos, articles, brochures, social media posts, infographics, education papers, television commercials, banner ads, podcasts and more.

  • Do you package your messages into videos because they’re an effective way to convey complex concepts in a visual format?
  • Do you incorporate them into white papers to provide in-depth analysis to experts in your field?
  • Do you condense them into basic sound bites to distribute through social media?

Many people today describe content as “king” because it’s the visible deliverable most people experience and respond to. However, the truth is that content is really only a single part of the more complex marketing construct outlined in this article.

Copy = How

No matter how you deliver your messages — video, ad, white paper, etc. — a talented writer must write a script, ad headline, in-depth educational text or other type of copy. No matter the form, copy shapes the final deliverable. 

Copy is a critical component of marketing because it’s where the creative process brings messages to life. A copy deck allows key marketing stakeholders to provide input on a project to shape it into its final form.

Copy helps you and your team answer the following questions:

  • Are all key messages represented in the final deliverable?
  • Is the brand tone and voice appropriate?
  • Will the content resonate with end consumers?

It’s important for companies to have a solid team of copywriters who can write effectively for all types of content deliverables. A good script writer may not be able to write solid social media posts. An advertising copywriter probably doesn’t have the skills to develop a white paper. If you don’t have the breadth and depth of talent to handle all your writing projects, an agency with a solid team of copywriters who know how to draft copy across all disciplines could help.


Carpenter Group is an agency experienced in branding, messaging, developing editorial calendars, creating content and writing copy. We’ve created effective marketing campaigns that get results for financial, professional services and tech firms for thirty five years. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your marketing needs.