The Difference Between Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing

Donny Kemick

You've decided that it's time to get your company firing on all cylinders with Inbound Marketing...or is it Content Marketing...or is it both?

Don't worry, you aren't the only one that is confused about the difference between content marketing and inbound marketing! Simply put, content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. While you may find varying characterizations, that is our belief and the generally accepted theory of how the two work together.

A Look At Their Definitions

For starters, let's look at how the two terms are defined by their "originators".

Content Marketing - Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

- The Content Marketing Institute

A point to notice with this definition is that it's primarily focused on content creation for a purpose. That makes total sense given it's name, content marketing. The definition alludes to growing business (profitable customer action) but lacks real clear emphasis of it.

Inbound Marketing - Inbound Methodology covers each and every step taken, tool used, and lifecycle stage traveled through on the road from stranger to customer. It empowers marketers to attract visitors, convert leads, close customers, and delight promoters.

- HubSpot

The definition for Inbound Marketing has a broader spectrum. Overall, it's more of a methodology spanning all of the the web marketing tactics, from SEO and CRMs to CONTENT MARKETING.

The Best Way To Think Of The Difference Between Content Marketing And Inbound Marketing

Instead of focusing on the difference, it's better to think of content marketing and inbound marketing working symbiotically together. Inbound marketing depends on great content marketing to get the right people to your website and in some cases, get them to convert into leads.

You can even take it a step further, because all of your lead nurturing emails and content focused on existing customers are really content marketing as well. It may be best to thing of content marketing as all of the content that supports your overall inbound marketing strategy.

Think of content marketing as the content and inbound marketing as the overall strategy to grow your business online.

Want To Go Deeper On What Content Marketing Is?

Download this free guide on what content marketing is to fully "get it".

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