Marketers know that, in many industries, brands are becoming publishers – with an increasing need to develop and manage content across different platforms as part of their marketing strategy. We also know that, increasingly, news publishers are getting into the content marketing business. With this focus content strategy, there is a danger brands will feel the need to create yet more content. But that is not necessarily the case.

The Internet is not short of content – with at least 4.8 billion web pages indexed by Google at the start of June 2014 – and some topics are more densely populated than others. If you are a brand seeking to get your content even seen by some audiences you have quite the battle on your hands. And this is why many content marketing strategies end up being paid media strategies – having to pay to drive traffic to your content through partnerships, search or traditional media spend.

This is not necessarily a sustainable solution for brands, and also seems at odds with what good content is and can do. The brand with the highest media budget will get their content seen, not necessarily the brand with the best and most useful content for their audience.

But a content marketing strategy is not necessarily about creating content – rather it should be thought of as how the brand uses content to achieve its objectives. This may necessitate the creation of new content. But equally it may not. There can be as much value (if not more) to brands working with existing content than there to creating their own.

The role of a content strategy should be to use content as a tool to support customers with their information and entertainment needs, and to support the business with its objectives. Curation of content can be as, if not more, important as creation of new content. Being the best place for consumers to find content from all over the Internet on a certain topic can help your brand objectives as much as creating endless new content yourselves.

Many brands that think about content marketing strategies end up with the need to hire writers to produce large swathes of content. But we should think about content strategy not as the need to write more words, but as the way brands are working with content (in all its forms and from all its sources) to achieve their aims.