Both content marketing and inbound marketing have a lot in common, but there are slight differences. Content marketing emphasizes the creation and distribution of content across multiple channels. For example, user or visitor engagement in the form of visits to a blog, watching videos, listening to podcasts or viewing newsletters or email auto-responders.
On the other hand, Inbound marketing emphasizes enriching and enhancing of user-visible information enough to compel some kind of action by a user or a visitor. For instance, in case of a website visitor, the inbound activity could be making a purchase, the completion of a form, or just getting a like on social media.
It’s not clear who coined the term “content marketing”, but it was first used somewhere around 2001 by Joe Pulizzi. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) defines it as:
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.Content Marketing Institute (CMI) – What Is Content Marketing?
The intent behind the creation of valuable, relevant, and consistent content is to address a target customer segment or demographic, which is more likely to find it useful. Even if “content” does not push business or brand, it’s usefulness and its appeal may still help build a business or brand’s reputation.
The term “inbound marketing” was first used around 2005. It was coined by Brian Halligan who is the co-founder and CEO of a software company called HubSpot.
HubSpot, a leading developer, and marketer of inbound marketing software, defines “Inbound Marketing” as:
Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t want, inbound marketing forms connections they’re looking for and solves problems they already have.Hubspot – Inbound Marketing
Marketo, another leading developer, and marketer of marketing automation software, defines “Inbound Marketing” as:
Inbound marketing is a strategy that utilizes many forms of pull marketing – content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media and more – to create brand awareness and attract new business.Marketo – Inbound Marketing
As noted earlier, both the aforementioned marketing strategies have a lot in common. Both are invariably non-interruptive; both intend to satisfy customers or visitor’s demands once they end up on their website or mobile app. Ultimately, both rely on slow and steady building of a relationship with the prospective customer or visitor.