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Content Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

Whether you’re a marketing intern, blog specialist, or SEO guru, chances are you’re familiar with content and inbound marketing. Some professionals in the industry have argued that the terms are interchangeable, but there are some pretty key differences between the two. So what exactly separates the two? How are the processes different? To answer these questions, it’s essential to identify the definitions of content marketing and inbound marketing and understand how they work together to produce results.

  1. What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is exactly that – content that’s created to market your business. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s say you own a company that sells craft supplies. Your target public is likely using search engines for inquiries like “5 DIY Crafts for Using Yarn” or “Easy Art Projects for Kids.” An effective use of content marketing would be to create a blog on your site with posts written to answer those types of questions. When you write content that is relevant to your business and gives useful, educational information to your consumers, you build your site’s credibility and relationships. Blogs are not the only way to practice content marketing. Other strategies include:

  • Press Releases
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars
  • Forums
  • Slideshows
  • Memes

These are just a few examples of the many ways you can practice content marketing. The key concept surrounding all of these strategies is to ensure you’re writing content that provides value to your customers while positioning your business as a trusted source for information and products.

What is Not Content Marketing?

Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of content marketing is that it is not direct advertising. It may be tempting to write a sales pitch inside of your blog post, but resist! Remember that the goal is not to be a salesman. The goal is to create valuable content that creates a positive relationship with your consumers, enticing them to come back to your site for more content and eventually to buy products or services. For example, Tasty with Buzzfeed doesn’t create videos marketing their line of cookware. Instead, they create fun recipe videos while using their products during the cooking process. This is a perfect way to integrate your business into your content while avoiding direct advertising and traditional sales tactics. Content marketing is essential for your business, but it’s a small part of a larger strategy known as inbound marketing.

  1. What is Inbound Marketing?

So you’ve written out high-quality content with SEO value, published it on your site, and your strategy is airtight and ready to go. Now all you have to do is wait for those conversions to roll in, right? Not exactly. While content marketing is important to master, that’s not the end of the road. Publishing a whitepaper on your site is great, but if no one sees it, the value is lost. This is where inbound marketing comes into play. A common way to define inbound marketing is that it is a strategy intended to put the right content in front of the right people at the right time. With the content acting as bait, inbound marketing strategies are the fishing rod that hooks consumers and creates attempts to bring them back to the site to create conversions. Presenting a special discount to a returning consumer who placed items in a shopping cart but failed to complete the transaction is an example of inbound marketing practice. Other tactics could include sending email reminders to past site visitors or creating Calls-to-Action to drive visitors to key landing pages.

Why is Inbound Marketing Important?

In our online society, inbound marketing cannot be ignored. Users do not respond as positively to banner ads or pop-ups that interrupt their online sessions as they did in the past. Instead, consumers are searching for answers to their problems and inbound marketing is key in providing the solution. When a potential customer reads a helpful blog on your site, chances are they will more heavily consider your business when making a future purchase, especially if they are sent reminders or incentives to visit again. This process of grooming leads into paying customers is what makes inbound marketing so essential to a business’s success.

Market with the Pros

This all sounds great, right? The opportunity to grow your business-consumer relationships while increasing conversions is too good to pass up. The team at Smarter Searches agrees and that’s why our staff understands the processes and execution of effective online marketing strategies. Contact our office or visit our site to see how Smarter Searches can help your business today.