Two major buzzwords right now: Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing. If you're like me, you probably thought the terms were synonymous as they are often used together; however, I've found they are not the same. In this post I'll demonstrate the differences between these practices and how they work together.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Simply put, inbound marketing is the process of sharing topical information with an interested and engaged audience. This is accomplished through online social channels, or email newsletters. Typically the shared information will link back to a company's own, original content on their website.
But the shared message doesn't have to be your own, as long as it applies to the audience you want to attract. Inbound marketing not only allows people to find your content, it also has the capability of establishing you as a thought leader and beacon for resourceful information within your industry.
How Does it Work?
So how do you start practicing inbound marketing? You have to get social! The obvious go-to channels for sharing links are Facebook and Twitter, but don't stop there. Check out professional groups on Linkedin, comment on other people's blogs, post to Tumblr or Pinterest, answer someone's question on Quora. Know where your audience is and get creative about where you share your content online.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is simply generating content that is useful for your readers and potential customers in an effort to gain a profitable customer reaction. Why would a prospective client want to read something that has nothing to do with your business anyway?
Again, generating useful content not only drives traffic to your site, it shows leadership within your area of expertise. Having a blog with good content demonstrates to a potential customer that you are knowledgeable and able to "practice what you preach".
How Does it Work?
Successful content marketing is done by keeping your ear to the ground for interesting material and performing valuable research. Find out the hot topics in your profession through searching places online like Google Trends, Twitter feeds, other blogs or community forums. Attend conferences and write about what you hear. Remember, pictures and video can also be great for content marketing, be sure to keep that camera around when you're at your next business event.
Putting it Together
So why do content marketing and inbound marketing get confused? I'd venture to say because they are working together. They are like best friends, helping each other out. Neither concept would be successful without the other. Without inbound marketing efforts, people might not reach your content. Without content marketing, there would be no reason to perform inbound marketing. One hand washes the other.
What ways do you practice inbound and content marketing? Let us know in the comments.
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