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What's the difference between inbound marketing and content marketing?

By Jada Crespo

content and inbound marketingThe concept of content marketing is not foreign, but now there’s a new term on the block: “inbound marketing.” So what’s the difference? Is there a difference? Once you answer this question, you can take your business to the next level by creating content that appeals more to your potential customers and provides a customer journey that fosters long-term relationships.


Here's the scoop: inbound marketing and content marketing are not mutually exclusive.


Inbound marketing stems from content marketing. It dives deeper into understanding your buyer personas in an effort to create online content that attracts your ideal clients. Thus, it provides more leads rather than giving content overload to a broad audience.


However, content marketing includes multiple facets, such as content creation, strategic planning, platform delivery, and analyzing metrics, for the various stages of the buying cycle and for an array of customer personas. The idea is to reach the company’s ultimate goal through an all-inclusive approach that incorporates inbound marketing values.


Although both forms of marketing coincide, their individual end goals are achieved through their own distinctive focuses that are worth exploring further. 


Inbound marketing 

Inbound marketing is focused on the creation of specialized content that is customer-oriented and distributed online through less disruptive ways than outbound marketing.


Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, created the term “inbound marketing,” which argues that content should attract customers organically rather than be forced upon them like unwanted telemarketing calls. The content produced should do the heavy lifting and speak for itself by providing helpful, valuable, and engaging information to hold the reader's interest. 


The content produced should keep an organization's ideal clients in mind by acknowledging their demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals. Analyzing these characteristics will aid in creating content that attracts potential customers and keeps them engaged.


According to Cision, 84% of people expect brands to produce content that entertains, provides solutions, and produces experiences and events.


It's all about the connection, rooted in a thorough understanding rather than a focus on securing a sale. Customers want to be treated as people, not as dollar signs.


Content Marketing 

Content marketing is the overall strategic marketing and business process of creating content. Its ultimate goal is to engage profitable customer transactions by providing relevant and consistent content. 


Content marketing was the beginning of companies' creating original content for their consumers and stepping outside the realm of traditional or outbound marketing tactics such as commercials, billboards, and print advertisements.


Now, content marketing incorporates various methods to provide valuable content, including social media, infographics, blogs, podcasts, videos, etc.


However, although releasing content is a priority of content marketing, monitoring content success through measurable results, such as social media engagement, conversion rates, sales, and website analytics, is an additional vital aspect.


Within content marketing, there are a variety of overall business goals in various areas including brand awareness, customer conversions, customer service, and customer loyalty. This is different than inbound marketing as inbound marketing tends to be more focused on lead nurturing.  


What now?

Overall, both forms of marketing create compelling content in an effort to appeal to an organization's buyer personas while successfully guiding and providing materials that allow clients a positive and impactful customer journey that benefits your business.  


As content is continuously pushed out into the world every second of every day, yours must stand out amongst the plethora of messages. To catch the right viewer’s eye, you need to customize your content to their preferences. 


Axia Public Relations can help create personalized campaigns that offer additional resources to support and achieve your business goals. Download our guide to inbound marketing to understand the possibilities a PR agency can provide you in delivering next-level content.


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Jada Crespo is a summer intern at Axia Public Relations. Jada studies at the University of Florida, majoring in public relations and minoring in event management. She loves impromptu adventures with friends and having a good laugh with her family.      


Featured image credit: Headway on Unsplash 

Topics: inbound marketing

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