In a crowded marketplace, marketers often forget to use all the tools in their toolbox. And these mistakes hurt them, their clients, and, ultimately, the customer. Ironically, the answers to their problems are often right in front of them.

When “content” came to mean, well, “content” we were told that “everything is content” – and the problem in not declaring limits to what content could be continues to cause headaches for confused marketers (“everything is content” is about as fathomable as “the universe is infinite” or “Bill Gates is worth $82 billion”) and bring profits and a lot of work to content marketing gurus and experts and conferences. Confusion is good for business, after all. And business in the world of teaching would-be content marketers how to create content marketing is very good.

Now here’s a word we rarely hear in terms of content: leverage. But that’s what good content is. Good content starts with a good strategy that uses all the levers to bring the right brand message to the right audience. Different media should be used as leverage to propel the brand message along the value chain. And different types of activations should be used as leverage to complete the value chain. This is where marketing and PR and content meet, where video meets digital meets print meets audio. Content should be a circle of pick-and-choose parts, made for an audience that doesn’t care about form or format but only cares about the content that improves their lives. Brands that connect all the touchpoints in other words, and don’t create their messaging in silos (what, your PR department and marketing departments don’t talk to each other?), start to create a coherent – and effective – brand message.

Brands must leverage content. To attract new customers, retain current customers, or enhance loyalty. Or all of the above. And then the audience – the customers – leverages that content to live better. Content that works, finally, is a form of leverage in and of itself.

One way for brands to break through a crowded content environment (“everything is content” remember?) is to remember that every touchpoint in the content chain, every medium, every strategy, even every silo, must leverage everything else. Leverage, in other words, is the beating heart of successful content. Maybe “content” isn’t everything after all.