Do You Know the Difference Between Content Marketing v. Inbound Marketing?

content marketing-inbound marketingAs the terms "content marketing" and "inbound marketing" gain greater traction, it's important to note the ways they are the same and different from previous types of marketing and how they relate to each other.

Smart companies understand that everyone in their organization is in the customer service business and everyone helps market the business through their daily interactions with customers and prospects. So, the end goal of marketing has not changed. We are still in the business of connecting the right people with the right product or service.

While some of the basic units of effective marketing are the same, the strategy and process of getting to the end goal are a bit different. And of course, we're calling it something new.

We have a new overarching strategy called Inbound Marketing and we use every channel available to us to create an attraction marketing strategy that pulls our customers and prospects to us through sharing valuable content that helps them solve real problems. In the process, we use some new tools to accomplish our goals like social media.

In a Forbes article this week on Inbound marketing, writer Steve Olenski shared a concise definition of inbound marketing from Trust Media:

“Inbound Marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses implement tactics to ‘get found’ by customers. Inbound Marketing involves creating and providing valuable content for your customers, promoting your remarkable content, building customer relationships, and overall ‘pulling’ the customer toward you. Inbound Marketing strategies create brand awareness, improve Search Engine Optimization, create thought leadership, develop valuable customer relationships, establish credibility, and build trustworthy reputations.”

In my mind, the easy way to think about the inter-relationship of inbound marketing, content marketing and social media marketing is this:

Inbound Marketing is the strategy that utilizes both content and social media to accomplish its goals.

What's the content in content marketing then? It can include things you've always done like customer newsletters, catalogs, direct mail and events. It can also include new tools such as robust, optimized websites, landing pages, video, white papers, online communities, blogs, and other social media.

Content marketing is the way in which you organize and deploy these information assets to build community and bring value to your customers and prospects whether or not they have actually purchased from you.

One of the big shifts here is the front-loading of information into the relationship. By the time you become aware of the prospect, they have already determined your potential value in solving their problems through their research of potential solutions.

Inbound marketing is a strategic response to the change in how people acquire information. In order to be "found" companies need to be present in all available channels with content that is actionable and conveys the value of the product or service being sold.

Instead of companies finding customers, customers are now finding companies.

The interruption marketing model no longer works efficiently and has been replaced by the attraction model of inbound marketing.

In order to transition, we begin with a content audit that literally inventories the information assets you already have available. And most companies have more than they think. We'll discuss content audits next time.

How are you using the information assets at your disposal to transition to best utilize an Inbound Marketing strategy?

Other articles/posts of interest on this topic:

Why Content is the Secret Sauce in Your Marketing Mix

3 Terrific Resources to Learn More about Content Marketing

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