Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

content marketing

There’s no better time to be a marketing and sales professional than now. So many avenues have opened, providing new ways to sell products and services. The internet alone has become a high-stake battleground where competitive brands get the opportunity to claim their desired market share.

If you are an aspiring stakeholder in the marketing industry, this is your time to shine. You can work for a digital marketing agency or even start your own. Or maybe you have a small business you want to stand out on the information highway. Whatever your motivations are, you could rake in big bucks by engaging in digital marketing. You could claim a considerable piece of the digital marketing pie, enough for your bookkeeping services provider to get busy all year.

But first, you need to know the nitty-gritty. Begin with the basics. Know the difference between inbound and content marketing so when you pitch your marketing services to a brand CEO and you’re asked about these often interchanged terminologies, you will know the exact answer.

Inbound marketing at a glance

According to HubSpot, inbound marketing “focuses on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful — not interruptive.” The operative words here are “relevant” and “hopeful”. Inbound marketing does away with marketing efforts targeted blindly, without regard to the recipient’s level of receptiveness to the campaign.

Inbound marketing is a holistic approach. It encompasses strategies such as social media marketing, blogging, PPC advertising, and search engine optimization, among others. With the employment of these tactics, the goal of inbound marketing is to attract customers that are already sympathetic to a brand, and, hopefully, delight them enough to ensure continued engagement.

Content marketing in a nutshell

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a marketing technique of creating and distributing content that will encourage the target customers to take action. Here, content encompasses marketing collateral like infographics, ebooks, blog posts, and videos, to name a few. The goal of content marketing is to encourage a sustained relationship with potential customers via value-adding content.

Content marketing follows a three-step process: attract, convince, convert, an approach that’s undeniably similar to inbound marketing.

The overlap


One of the key differences between inbound and content marketing is the target audience. For inbound marketing, there’s a specific audience targeted based on their buyer personas. Meanwhile, content marketing is like a catch-all approach, not zeroing in on a specific customer, and instead, resorting to content that’s hopefully relatable enough to a large portion of the buying public.

It’s safe to say that content marketing is but another sub-strategy under the marketing umbrella called inbound marketing. This claim may be supported by the fact that both share the same goal: brand awareness, relationship building, conversion, and sales.

Content and inbound marketing are not in competition against each other. In fact, they work hand in hand, like two friends ready to help you out.

To establish credibility as a marketing expert, you must start with taxonomy. You cannot just throw around marketing terminologies without regard to the usage’s accuracy. The same applies to when you want to establish brand credibility. You must know the marketing approaches available at your disposal, how they are done, and how they are gauged in terms of efficiency.

With that said, we hope that we were able to help you draw the line between two oft-mentioned terms in marketing. Now, the next step is for you to brush up on the ins and outs of inbound and content marketing. We wish you all the best in your future marketing efforts.

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