Many believe that Content Marketing and Inbound marketing are two different terms for the same concept, confusion that is mainly due to two factors:
- The novelty in the term Inbound Marketing (it is a newer term than the term content marketing)
- The close relationship between the inbound marketing and content marketingconcepts.
Therefore, in this article we want to explain the similarities and differences between the two Marketing methods and how they can benefit you.
If you want to implement these strategies in your business and aren’t sure what the difference is between inbound marketing and content marketing,or which of the two methods to implement in your strategy, read on.
The first thing you need to know to understand the differences is that it means each one.
Content Marketing Definition
Content Marketing is a strategic marketing technique focused on creating and distributing value, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a defined target with the goal of ultimately endoring actions that make you a customer.
Content is kingBill Gates
There are few tools as effective as content for building trust-based relationships with your potential customers. Content is a new form of advertising.
Content marketing consists of creating useful and interesting content for the brand’s target audience. Even without CTA’s calls to action content, its existence can lead to brand affinity for potential customers reaching the content.
Content Marketing means that companies try to communicate with their audience without selling products and services immediately. They should try to establish previous emotional connections that will help the company/brand to retain their audience.
More and more consumers are disconnecting and rejecting invasive marketing methods and ignoring sales pitches. At the same time, content marketing has become the most effective way to build long-term relationships with the audience, relationships that end up increasing sales.
Definition of Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, encompasses a whole methodology. Inbound Marketing is the application of a set of marketing techniques; that allow to capture customers in a non-intrusive way combining attraction marketing actions such as SEO, Content Marketing, and leadgeneration, among others.
The Inbound methodology was created by Hubspot’s founders to get the most out of digital marketing actions, aligning them around the same strategy with the goal of maximizing return on investment.
Therefore, we could state that Content Marketing is a subset of Inbound Marketing.
A non-intrusive methodology that guides its entire strategy on the buyer,based on the basis that decision-making power has passed from companies to users.
Inbound Marketing brings together a series of marketing techniques aimed at increasing the number of visitors to a website; through quality content in order to turn traffic into qualified leads; increase the number of customers and sales, and retain current customers. Throughout this process, the content is one of the essential pieces, but beware: NOT the only one.
History and origins of Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing
Inbound marketing and content marketing both emerged because of the same circumstantialness: The change in consumer behaviors during the rapid progress of ICT since the early internet.
These patterns of rapid-change behavior caused traditional marketing techniques to become less and less effective techniques than they used to be. That’s when the explosion of Inbound marketing and content marketing methodologies arose.
Origins of Content Marketing
Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, says content marketing was already used in 1895 by John Deere through the publication of his magazine “The Furrow” and through which John Deere had the clear goal of educate its end users about best agricultural practices. Tractor sales were a side effect of John Deere’s reach.
Throughout the 20th century and due to the change in consumer behavior, brands became increasingly involved in the distribution of free content with the aim of providing value to their customers.
According to Joe Pulizzi, providing value for the audience was a marketing tactic built for the future, where we live today.
Inbound Marketing Origins
The origins of Inbound Marketing are recorded long before the famous introduction by the American multinational company Hubspot.
Cyrus McCormick, founder of McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, already used educational methods to spark interest in her agricultural equipment in the mid-1850s.
Later, in the 1950s and 1960s some of the world’s leading brands such as General Electric established more equitable relationships with their customers by integrating customer feedback into the development lifecycle of their products.
But the official creation of Inbound Marketing was not confirmed until years later in 2005 by US co-founder HubSpot. Halligan and Dharmesh Shah had founded HubSpot, a service that aimed to provide everything Marketing specialists need to know to launch a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Key similarities between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing
Inbound marketing and content marketing are similar because the two focus on meeting the needs of the audience’s potential customers.
Both are non-intrusive marketing concepts and share the same goal: the long-term creation of company/brand-customer relationships to increase sales.
Both Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing consider content to attract potential customers. Therefore, the contents are just as important in both concepts.
Both strategies are supported by the creation of content through online resources such as blogs, podcasts, emails, videos, social networks, ebooks, etc. Therefore, the contents can be broadcast in numerous ways: a website optimized for SEO, a blog content strategy, visually appealing infographics, ebooks and podcasts, and above all, Video content,as currently most users prefer to watch a video than read technical text documents.
In conclusion, we emphasize that the most important similarities between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing are as follows:
- Both focus on the empowerment of potential customers.
- They share the common primary goal of establishing a lasting relationship with the target audience.
- Both concepts include creating valuable content that educates users.
Differences between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing
Content marketing and inbound marketing have a lot in common, but they are different concepts and there are differences between them.
- Content marketing focuses on creating and publishing content on the most appropriate distribution channels and with the correct frequency of publishing, such as social networks, among others, in order for content to reach as many users as possible and in turn share them.
- Inbound marketing focuses on making a website have a strategy-optimized structure, and the content is as eye-catching and engaging as possible for the user to take some kind of action. An unlo optimized website can cause any inbound marketing strategy to backfire.
- Inbound marketing is also based on the quality content created for attract potential customers to a certain brand and product, be aligned with users’ interests based on the phases of the funnel and the purchase cycle in which they are located to convert, close and retain customers.
- While content marketing focuses on engaging through content, inbound marketing is an activity that allows for greater reach using many activities and methods to ultimately inspire a customer to take action. Most content marketing actions focus on creating blogs and content across multiple formats and channels, while inbound marketing encompasses a variety of methods for engaging users with value content created.
- Inbound marketing uses more techniques to attract traffic, in addition to content. Among them are the SEO (to improve organic search engine positioning and appear in Google’s first results when users perform related searches), pay-per-click or PPC advertising and email marketing (which, in addition to the original traffic capture, is very useful during the later phases of lead nurturing) among others.
As can be seen, the main difference between Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing is in the processes after the user’s arrival in web content and its interaction behavior. Inbound’s strategy, after attracting users, implements techniques and processes to turn these users into leads and customers.
Once new users have been attracted, Inbound Marketing focuses on turning web traffic into a quality database that makes possible a more personalized subsequent contact with each user. We seek a long-term relationship with the potential customer, a relationship that is enriched and monitored through other Marketing techniques possible thanks to automation tools that make these techniques possible:
- Lead nurturing
- Lead scoring
Therefore, inbound marketing is a much broader concept that includes the creation of content as one of its essential pieces, but that is not limited exclusively to the creation and distribution of content. Any inbound marketing strategy incorporates elements inherent in a content marketing plan.
Inbound marketing is based on the basis of content marketing but incorporates numerous additional techniques and strategies that maximize process results and empower you to guide conversion and optimize return on investment: techniques such as SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, conversion, lead nurturing, lead scoring, or automation give content marketing the added value needed to ensure that the efforts made have an optimal return on investment.
It is important that Inbound Marketing’s methodology includes a good Content Marketing strategy and that as a whole; it is effective and delivers the expected results in the form of notoriety; visibility and brand positioning, increased traffic and positioning in search engines, generation of qualified leads or customer conversion.