There are so many different marketing terms, it can be difficult to see the difference between them all - especially since they all are basically related to the same ideas. Although a lot of people disagree on the exact difference between content marketing and inbound marketing - it's our belief that content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. With that, we wouldn't have content marketing without the inbound that comes before it. Let's define each first, and get back to how they're related.
Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer's buying journey. With inbound, potential customers find you through blogs, search engines and social media.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound doesn't need to fight for potential customers' attention. By creating content specifically designed to address the issues presented by your customers, you simultaneously attract prospected customers and build trust with the ones you already have - earning your business credibility.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing process focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain your predefined customer base. The point of the strategy is to eventually drive a profitable customer action.
First, you must develop a content strategy which defines the following for your content:
• Who you're creating it for
• The problem it will solve for your audience
• How to make it unique and specialized for your business
• The formats you'll use
• The channels (Facebook, Twitter, website blog) where it will be published
• The schedule for creating and publishing
What's the difference?
Ultimately, your business will need both content marketing and inbound marketing to be successful. Content may help fuel your inbound engine, but there are other aspects to inbound marketing (SEO, infographics, etc.) that are still important to your overall strategy for success.
In essence, content marketing is one part of your overarching inbound marketing strategy. Incorporate your content strategy along with your digital, social, agile, email and other strategies into your inbound marketing strategy for the best results.