content marketing vs advertising min

Traditional Advertising vs. Content Marketing

With any business, it’s important to get your name and products in front of the right people.

Traditional advertising methods like radio spots and television ads have topped the marketing strategies for a long time—but with so many people online these days, marketing is moving in a different direction.

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Content now plays a huge part in how consumers get their information, and greatly influences their decisions. Both methods are used to get the message out about your business, your products or your service. However, the mediums are very different. Let’s take a look at how content marketing differs from traditional advertising, and how content can work for your business.

With advertising, you are focusing on things like:

  • Television or radio commercials
  • Newspaper or magazine ads
  • Billboards
  • Banners or signs
  • Direct mailers or flyers
  • Brochures

Content marketing, on the other hand, is completely different. It utilizes methods like:

  • Company and outside blogs
  • Social media
  • YouTube
  • Online articles

And types of content like:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Email newsletters
  • Videos or podcasts
  • Ebooks
  • White papers
  • Webinars

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The Big Differences

Other than methods, there are a few key differences between traditional advertising and content marketing.

Showing vs. nurturing

Traditional marketing takes the stance of telling consumers all about a business, a product or service. They show off images and direct information about whatever it is they are selling.

Content marketing isn’t as direct. Instead of mentioning things, content marketing puts out content that the target consumer finds interesting, useful or valuable. It is a way to show consumers that you’re knowledgeable in your industry, and that they can count on you for the helpful information.

Instant vs. long term

Advertising banks on the fact that you see their product and you buy into their product. However, this rarely works. On average, you have to get in front of a prospective customer 7 times in the span of 18 months in order to really get into their heads.

With content marketing, you’re not instantly pushing a product, but you are consistently getting in front of your target customer with your content. Content is a great way to get seen and heard, without having to push a product or service.

Talking to vs. talking with

With advertising, you’re talking to consumers. There’s no dialogue, you’re simply showing consumers what you’re selling and praising the benefits of that product or service.

With online content, there is much more opportunity to talk with consumers. They can leave comments on your blog posts, interact with you on your webinar or podcast, comment and like your social media posts. And content allows you to respond back; letting you really get to know your potential customers and allowing them to really trust you.

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General vs. specific

Advertising is about getting your message in front of the most people possible. Content marketing is about getting it front of the right people.

In general, content marketing is targeted. Content marketers spend time researching their audience and finding out exactly what types of content they want to read the most. They look at trends and the types of blog posts that do best, and they even research where their audience can be found so they can distribute the content in all the right places.

Business driven vs. peer driven

Content marketing is very different from advertising in the way it’s shared. With advertising, the business itself runs the show. They decide where and when their ads are shared.

On the other hand, content is easily consumed and shared by the readers, which makes content marketing very peer driven. Consumers are much more likely to check out a business if someone they know and trust has recommended it. And online content is so easily shareable that it makes it a great peer-to-peer marketing tactic.

Today’s businesses are moving in a new marketing direction. Content marketing is about creating pieces of content that your target customer will find useful. It’s about getting in front of the right audience, and nurturing that relationship so they come to like and trust your business, eventually becoming dedicated buyers.

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