What Is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that specializes in the creation and distribution of informative, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a target audience — and, over time encourage them to take action and become a customer.
Yet content marketing, a more recent discipline than inbound marketing, is an umbrella term that doesn’t clearly delineate what its components are. Does it include website content, email marketing, event marketing, social media or other types of marketing? Even in companies that have a content marketing department, the position may report to the CMO, customer success, demand generation or corporate marketing. In all, it’s broad and flexible.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a little more defined in that it stands for an approach that helps companies align their marketing with the way customers are finding their products and services, consuming content and eventually making a purchase.
The thinking is that people don’t want to be marketed to, so inbound marketing helps people who are looking for the type of product to find them. This is to prevent interrupting people who are not actively in the buying cycle.
This includes digital marketing, syndicating content, email marketing and paid search.
Content Marketing + Inbound Marketing
A common question for marketers is, do we need both? Inbound marketing is built on promoting content, so content marketing is a key component of inbound marketing. It’s unlikely to conduct inbound marketing without a content strategy and content in a variety of forms that align with the buyer journey. A typical content marketing plan includes blog articles, long-form content like case studies, whitepapers and e-books, content for social media and web pages.
The reason the combination works is because inbound marketing measures metrics and results and requires content marketing to aid in conversion.
If we go back to the mission for content marketing which is to create and distribute informative, relevant, and consistent content for your audience, it’s really about improving your visitors’ experience to your site. However, in most cases, you’ll also need to create a pipeline of leads for your sales team. You may not have to choose one or the other, but find the balance to build content marketing to feed the demand generation efforts.