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What is the difference between Content marketing and Inbound marketing?

In marketing circles, there is a lot of talk about both content marketing and inbound marketing, but what is the difference, or is there a difference? Maybe it's just different words for the same thing? Here I try to sort out the difference between content marketing and inbound marketing.

Anna Råström - 24/05/18

Marketing is traditionally divided into two types. Inbound and Outbound Marketing.

content marketing vs inbound marketing

Outbound Marketing is what we might call traditional advertising, spreading its message in channels where you pay to be seen. For example, TV, outdoor advertising and newspapers but also digital (banners, search engine marketing, paid advertising in social media, etc.).

Inbound Marketing is basically about trying to achieve the same thing but by disseminating content that is linked to what the customer wants to do (intention). The idea is that the customer himself, for example via searches on Google (or any other search engine) or via social media, should be able to take part in content that ultimately leads to a purchase.

Content is of course the basis of Inbound Marketing, but it is not enough to create any blog posts, whitepapers and guides for it to be called inbound.

Inbound Marketing is a whole system where Content Marketing is a part of the whole. Inbound Marketing can be called a structured way of working with target groups, content and dissemination to achieve specific goals, which can be, for example, subscriptions, purchases or leads depending on the industry and target group.

In that process, you need to work with several different parts such as landing pages, conversion optimization and marketing automation. Personally, I also see a value in combining inbound and outbound activities for the very best results, when you combine all the parts of the marketer's toolbox (including web development, product development and analysis) you can talk about Growth Hacking.

What channels do you talk about when you talk Inbound then?

  • SEO
  • Content
  • Landing pages
  • Email marketing
  • …to name a few

Why is it not enough just to create content?

The basis of inbound marketing is of course content, but it neither begins nor ends there. Before you start writing blog posts or making videos, you need to ask yourself what the purpose and goal of the content is, just like with any other marketing.

If the purpose of our business, for example, is to sell tents, it is important to find out who buys tents, what needs the tent buyers have, how they search for tents online and if there may be things around the tent itself that are also interesting. (maybe hiking trails or storm kitchen?).

Once you have straightened out the purpose and goals, done your target group analysis, created a customer journey and developed measurable KPIs only then is there really any point in starting to create content. When you know who the content is for and what it should lead to, it is so much easier to create good content for your target group.

And the job does not end when the content is created. The chance that someone will find your content if you do not spend time and effort on marketing it is namely minimal.

The 80/20 rule

Creating content is a rather time consuming process, at least if you want to do it well, expect it to always take longer than you think. A general rule for me and many others who work with content marketing is to spend 20% of the time and money on creating the content but 80% on spreading it. Without dissemination, the content has no value.

So my tip is to spend a lot of time producing really good content but quality over quantity. The content you once produced can be adapted and reused in different channels for almost any length of time.

A blog post can be a video that can be an infographic or a look at a podcast, but then of course it is good that it is good from the beginning. So work smart!

What do you think?

Are you also a content nerd or just interested in the subject. Do you agree or do you think I'm wrong up the walls? I am happy to discuss further on Linkedin.

Here you will find me (I am very active and like to discuss).

Get in touch now

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