Inbound Marketing vs Content Marketing

Inbound Marketing vs Content Marketing

What’s the difference between inbound marketing vs content marketing? When you read articles on the two topics, it can sometimes be hard to tell.

Explaining Inbound Marketing vs Content Marketing

In essence, inbound marketing is about getting found online. It’s in contrast to what’s called “interruption marketing” which uses techniques like print, billboard and broadcast advertising, social advertising, press releases, pop-ups and banner ads to interrupt what users are doing – both online and offline – and make a bid for their attention. But those techniques don’t work so well any more, and that’s where inbound marketing comes in.

According to Moz [1], inbound marketing generates most of the clicks on the web and makes it easy to get the attention of new customers. The techniques inbound marketers use include:

  • opt-in email marketing,
  • book and ebook publishing,
  • working with influencers,
  • speaking engagements and creating thought leadership

It’s notable that many of the techniques outlined involve creating content. That’s why content marketing is a key plank of inbound marketing. You could even say that inbound marketing will fail without a good content marketing strategy.

Hubspot [2] has a great presentation that outlines what makes inbound marketing different. The key thing is that customers come to you when you attract them with excellent content such as blogs, photos and infographics, videos, presentations and more. If your content also provides that information when people most need it, you have a recipe for success in both content marketing and inbound marketing.

Content marketing is about creating relevant content that connects with potential and existing customers at every stage of the buying process. And it’s not that new. When John Deere created The Furrow magazine in 1895, he became the first content marketer!

Content marketing helps:

  • Create awareness of your brand or enhance the awareness that is already there.
  • Nurture leads and convert these to new business.
  • Capture customers and provide them with the service they need so that you can retain them.
  • Create advocates and influences who will promote your products and services for you.

content marketing vs inbound marketing 1

7 Ways to Market With Content

The content marketing products you create help drive your inbound marketing campaign so that potential customers can find and connect with you online. Here are some examples of content tools you could use.

1. White papers. White papers are an excellent way to showcase how you can solve a problem for your customers or to present research in your niche it in an approachable format.

2. Customer magazines. Customer magazines are a form of content you can use to connect regularly with your audience. Having a magazine that arrives at regular intervals is a form of appointment marketing. These are an essential tool that work well in many different business sectors.

3. Blog posts and articles. The facts are out there: companies that blog have a massive advantage over those that don’t in terms of leads and sales. Posting excellent content to your company blog, then extending that to guest articles and interviews on other blogs can help put you in front of your target customers.

4. Videos. Video is one of the fastest growing segments among the mobile device readership and using this as an interactive element inside your online magazines is a great way to cater for two kinds of readers at once.

5. Presentations. SlideShare is one of the fastest-growing sites with more than 10 million presentations on the site. These are a great way to repurpose your other content into bite sized chunks and reach a business audience.

6. Long form content. Google’s in-depth articles update shows that people are looking for content that goes beyond short snippets. Check out some of the top blogs around and you’ll see that many of them include long form content in the content marketing mix Longer articles establish thought leadership and get more attention, potentially bringing more customers to you.

7. Social media updates. You may not think of social media updates as a form of content marketing but it totally is. After all, if you’re going to be effective, you need to pay attention to crafting these updates too. And with sites like Google+ (and the newly permitted blogging on LinkedIn) you can marry social media updates and long form content to great effect.

Finally, one feature that both inbound marketing and content marketing share is the need to be mobile adapted. With audiences are increasingly looking to consume content on tablets and smartphones, making all content types ready for that market is a must.


[1] Goodbye SEOmoz. Hello Moz!

[2] What is Inbound Marketing?



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