Content marketing is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing tool belt. It is a way of communicating with your audience that seeks to connect, rather than sell. When done correctly, it builds trust and drives results.
As times change and technology advances, consumers are less interested in traditional marketing methods like television ads or flyers in their mailbox. Instead, they want to be in charge of what messages they consume, and they only want to consume useful content.
There is certainly a time and place for traditional marketing methods. However, for businesses to truly succeed long term, digital and content marketing will be the way of the future. Let’s look at the differences between the two.
How is Content Marketing different from Traditional Marketing?
Content marketing and traditional marketing are both ways to promote a business and ultimately sell products or services. They both involve sharing messaging with an audience as a means of converting them to paying customers.
Where they differ is the intention and strategy behind the messaging.
Content Marketing Supports Digital Marketing
One key difference between content and traditional marketing is the medium through which messaging is delivered. Content marketing is delivered online in support of a broader digital marketing strategy.
Traditional marketing messages may be seen in newspapers, magazines, televisions, or even posters and flyers. They are often on things that you can touch or hold in your hand. Before the internet became as dominant as it is today, this was the best way to reach your potential customers.
Now, however, the world is more connected than ever and content can be distributed to almost anyone instantaneously. Content marketing takes advantage of this by using tools like social media, email, and websites. It’s often highly connected to other digital marketing tactics like SEO or social media marketing.
By distributing messaging digitally, content marketing strategies are able to reach more people and meet your audience where they naturally spend time.
Content Marketing is an Inbound Strategy
Have you heard the saying about attracting more flies with honey? That’s how inbound strategies like content marketing work. Instead of bombarding your audience with messages that they may not even care about, you publish valuable content and let them come to you.
The tactics of traditional marketing are outbound tactics. Messaging is pushed out to consumers, often interrupting their daily lives. Think of the commercials that you try to fast forward through on television or the flashing billboards that overwhelm you in places like Times Square. These are all examples of pushing content out, instead of pulling consumers in.
Content marketing flips that script. Think of an individual that just got a new puppy. They may start by researching online how to train a puppy or what supplies they need. A pet supply company using content marketing would have content that answers the searchers questions.
If they see an article about the best training treats or a video on how to teach basic commands, they’re likely to click through to the company’s website. From there, they find valuable information, they view the company as a trusted authority, and they likely end up making a purchase.
Content marketing is focused on naturally drawing customers in, not pushing out sales messages.
Content Marketing Provides Value
Just because a piece of content is distributed, doesn’t necessarily make it content marketing. The true hallmark of content marketing is value.
A funny Tik Tok is great for your social media strategy. An infographic explaining how your product works is great content marketing. Your content marketing should educate, entertain, or inspire your audience, while also answering their questions and meeting them where they are in the buying process.
This value is what draws people in and builds their relationship with your brand. Think of a software company writing a blog on how to choose the right software for your needs. If they provide good enough information, you trust that they’re experts. When you need to purchase software, you’ll naturally gravitate to their brand that you already know and trust.
It takes a lot of research and a customer-centric approach, but it pays off in dividends for the organisations that do it right.
Traditional marketing served us well for many years, but the times are changing. As society advances, content marketing and other digital tactics will be the ways forward. If your content marketing strategy could use some help, schedule some time to talk with our team today.