Are you Content Marketing or Just Marketing With Content?

June 17, 2018

Content Marketing is the new ‘it’ concept everywhere. As a large chunk of the world population logs onto the internet, brands wish to be part of the conversations happening online. Everybody is talking about authenticity, audience building, value adding content etc.


There is, however, ambiguity with the terms being banded about today - particularly between content marketing and digital marketing. To understand the difference is critical: not only for better strategic decisions, but also to determine the precision of the message and its resonance with the target audience.


So, switch your ‘nerd’ on as we deep dive into the difference between the two.  


Digital Marketing is the advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. At a basic level, it consists of 6 elements: 


1.   SEO - getting found for your keywords organically.

2.   Social Media Marketing - building engagement on social media channels.

3.   Email Marketing - One-to-one conversations with potential and current customers.

4.   Mobile Marketing - Location and context sensitive marketing on-the-go.

5.   Paid Search - paid ads through your search engines and partner sites.

6.  Analytics - understanding the behaviours, triggers and trends happening on your digital channels. 



Think of Digital Marketing as a virtual clingy cat that mews for your attention. It mews at the top of the google window when you search for ‘cat food’ on Google (SEO) and when you complain about it to your friends over Whatsapp (Social Media Marketing). It mews when you open your mailbox at work (Email marketing) or when you are scrolling on your phone after work (Mobile marketing). Oh, and it also mews when you look at it (Paid search). 


Digital Marketing includes the analysis of performance. This helps to know if we are reaching out to our target audience effectively, recording their responses and understanding how better to communicate with them. Most of the advertising channels listed above, provide us with in-depth analysis of our ad campaigns.


Content Marketing, on the other hand, is an all-encompassing universe. Agreed, that it can be confusing and intimidating because of the word ‘content’ which can mean anything from TV ads, to brochures to social media content and emailers that are part of digital marketing, as defined above. But there is a difference between the two. 


Put very simply, it is this:





Content Marketing looks at ‘content’ being the product itself. There are numerous ways in which our content can be decorated to effectively convey the core message that is impactful enough to generate revenue. Good and persuasive content is a result of thorough research and deep understanding, packaged beautifully and delivered to the right person- all of which takes a lot of time and hard work.


If someone would never pay for our content, implying that it’s not up to competitive standards, then it’s not content marketing. A harsh condition, but necessary to separate it from other types of marketing.


Content requires more than a pushy salesman or a mewing cat to sell it. We don’t just nudge people to buy our product or service, but carefully weave a worldview that people would want to be part of.


CocaCola is the best example for this! They never directly tell their consumer “Drink CocaCola!”. Instead, with a good strategy and brilliant content, their message strikes a chord with the viewers/readers. Once the end user has been sold the grand idea of CocaCola, the product sales follow. 


Content Marketing is touched upon at every level of your marketing strategy. So, the main difference between the two is that digital marketing comes in the implementation stage while content marketing is touched upon from the inception of the idea, part of the strategy and implementation, with the final objective of generating sales.


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