Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Content marketing is a marketing strategy in which a company specifically develops content (i.e. blog posts, social media posts, white papers, newsletters, eBooks, etc.) that people will find valuable and want to consume.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, sums up 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.”

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is a larger marketing strategy – one that focuses on different tactics to draw consumers in and convince them to buy. In fact, the experts at HubSpot say that content marketing is just one subset of inbound marketing and that there are other inbound marketing techniques that can work alongside content to bring in new customers.

Some of the other popular inbound marketing techniques that companies rely on include:

  • Technical SEO
  • Freemium trials
  • Interactive tools
  • Product or service demos
  • Events

ICYMI: Part I: “What is Inbound Marketing?

really confused woman

This stock photo woman does not know the difference between inbound marketing and content marketing

Marketing expert Mike Lieberman explains how content is a key piece of the larger inbound marketing strategy. He writes,

“Inbound marketing is a metrics- and result-driven methodology, so you want content to drive results. In essence, your content marketing is going to be tightly integrated with your conversion strategy. Inbound produces results by using content to turn website visitors into leads, so the focus is on optimizing that content and that conversion experience.”

Pulizzi also explains the role of content marketing as one smaller piece of a larger marketing puzzle:

“Content marketing is not a standalone marketing technique that can thrive in a vacuum. Rather, it’s something that needs to be integrated into your overarching marketing plan, as its principles will strengthen all your other marketing efforts.”

Check in next week for Part III: “Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing”