Is content marketing any different from advertising, and if so, how different are they?
As digital marketing gains momentum around the world, most businesses are having a hard time differentiating content marketing vs. advertising. For most people, content marketing and digital advertising are the same things, or the former is a subset of the latter.
Though somewhat related, if you take a deeper dive into both, you’ll realize that they are very distinct. Despite their difference, each approach to digital marketing is incredibly valuable to businesses. As such, most companies would want to adopt both approaches, but the financial weight of both content marketing and advertising makes it an unfeasible move.
In this piece, we’ll explore what makes these digital marketing approaches so different, and what each entails. That way, you can decide which approach is best for your business, or whether you should go with both if your resources allow it.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy that focuses on directing relevant and high-quality content to the target audience. It is a highly effective strategy that premises on solving consumer problems and building rapport with potential and current customers.
You can think of content marketing as a more “modern” digital marketing technique as compared to traditional forms of advertising. Most businesses integrate content marketing with social media strategies to increase brand awareness, drive lead generation, and increase sales. It can create a buzz around a particular product to increase customer interest, which almost always translates to increased sales.
Content marketing is a proven digital marketing strategy because about 95% of shoppers read reviews online before purchasing a product. The same goes for B2B clients, where 92% of them will readily do business with a company after seeing positive reviews.
Types of Content Marketing
Content marketing is more than just posting relevant blogs on your company’s website. It’s a highly diversified marketing strategy with a variety of tactics. Here are a few types of content marketing.
Blogs are the predominant form of content marketing and arguably the most effective. Blogs deliver high-quality, relevant, and useful content to both potential and current customers.
Businesses with robust email campaigns build a loyal customer base and drive their lead generation for more profit. However, you have to be careful with marketing emails; overdoing it does more harm than good.
You can argue that videos are more engaging than emails and blogs, and you’d be right. That’s because, unlike blogs, you don’t have to read videos, which is great for consumers who find reading a bit tiring.
Podcasts have become popular across the country and are a great way to get the word going about your product or service. Anyone can listen in on the podcasts and learn more about your product or how your product can help solve a particular problem.
These are just a few examples of content marketing that businesses employ to drive their sales and generate leads. Other forms of content marketing include e-books, infographics, and webinars.
What is Advertising?
For formality, advertising is a collective term for a variety of tactics that businesses employ to showcase their products or services attractively to make consumers purchase them. It’s the oldest form of marketing but it’s still effective.
Principles of Proper Advertising
Advertising is an age-old marketing technique that centers on a product’s or service’s selling points to attract customers. For your advertising to be effective you need to:-
Good advertising grabs the customers’ attention to create interest in your brand or product. You can also advertise to raise awareness about an event or a new product or service. A proper advertisement must capture the viewer’s attention, or else it’s useless.
Not all advertisements stir emotions, but the best ones do. Your advertising must have an emotive angle to win over customers. Ads are designed to elicit an emotion from the audience and not necessarily a positive one.
Some ads make viewers sad, angry, or even mad. An advertisement is more likely to linger in the mind of the audience if it had an emotional response. However, your ads shouldn’t make your viewers sad just for the sake of it; you’ll lose big time.
Every emotion should somehow link to the product or service you’re offering, and that’s the difficult part. However, if you nail it, your ad and your product, by extension, will be all the talk later on.
Make It Convincing
Your ad must have a clear call to action so as not to look like an entertainment gimmick. However, the ad shouldn’t also be just a direct call to action. It should have a narrative or at least a brief description of the product before concluding with the CTA.
Content Marketing Vs. Advertising: The Difference
When you compare content marketing and advertising, four key areas make them different. These four areas are:-
In most cases, companies have to pay third parties to advertise. For instance, you need to pay the TV or radio station to run your ad. The same goes for PPC ads, social media ads, and even billboards.
For content marketing, you rarely have to pay to market your products. That’s unless you’re hiring content writers or using influencers for your social media strategy.
For content marketing, you owe the media for conveying your content. While in advertising, you typically need a third-party to facilitate advertising
Inbound and Outbound
Advertising is an outbound marketing technique that directly fronts products or services to potential customers. Content marketing, on the other hand, is inbound and aims at adding value or establishing rapport with potential customers.
There’s no clear winner when it comes to content marketing vs advertising, but it seems that content marketing has the upper hand.
Make Your Decision Wisely
For most businesses, choosing between content marketing vs. advertising is a very tough decision. Fortunately, if you can’t decide, you can always choose both for the greatest effect.
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