Inbound Marketing vs Content Marketing

The main difference between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing is where you publish.

Both are based on publishing articles and stories your desired audience will find interesting and useful. Both are intended to attract people to your brand and turn some of those readers (website visitors) into prospects.

Content Marketing describes a broader set of activities that includes (but is not limited to):

  • Blog posts
  • Social media updates
  • Email blasts

Even magazines printed and distributed on paper are forms of Content Marketing. The oldest known case of Content Marketing started in 1895, well before the age of blogs and social media. It was a magazine printed by John Deere titled The Furrow. Today it’s a website, but it started as a quarterly magazine distributed to farmers.

The farmers found the articles to be useful in general, and it kept the John Deere name in front of the farmers more. It helped John Deere sell a lot of tractors.

Inbound Marketing on the other hand describes a set of activities whose specific intention is to attract your audience to your website via organic search. With Inbound Marketing almost everything you publish is published on your website, on your company blog.

You do so in a systematic and prescribed way where each article is fairly short and focused, answers one question or proposes one main idea, is properly formatted for SEO, and articles are published to your website at frequent and regular intervals. There is more to this, but those are key success factors.

Based on my personal experience, Inbound Marketing is a superior long term solution, as being found helps you be found more. So at some point Inbound Marketing becomes a bit like that snowball that gets larger as it rolls downhill.

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