Content Marketing and advertising are big topics at the moment. I come from a commercial advertising background but I now work much more in a content marketing relm, so the journey of learning the difference has been very important for me. Some people hate commercial advertising and love content marketing and visa versa. I personally see them as having different purposes – sometimes one suits your business more than the other. We’ve included some examples from our own work so you can see.

 

So, what is Content Marketing?

The way I like to see it is when you produce content that provides value. Think – blog posts, interviews and anything else your audience might be interested in. The key is that you are usually providing them some value and you are not explicitly promoting your product or service. The aim is to get people interested in your product or service in an indirect way. So, if you’re sharing really useful information or things that are really helpful then people might come to your website and check out your product or service.

Image of a morning routine for Content Marketing
Content Marketing example of offering value rather than advertising product

 

Advertising is what then?

Advertising is where you are explicitly promoting your product or service. For example, think about all perfume adverts promoting their expensive perfume, or the car ads where you are shown all the features of the car.

Advertising will use the more traditional routes such as: TV, Radio, Billboard ( also referred to Out of Home or OOH for short), Direct mail and email. You can also see paid brand advertising online in the form of web banners and promoted posts on social media.  Content marketing is primary online and might be seen more on social media and blogs.

brand advertising example with HowNow
brand advertising example of we promoted HowNow on social media with text that advertised the product.

 

Content Marketing Vs Commercial Advertising?

You might be wondering when content marketing should be used and when commercial advertising should be used? Well, in my opinion both are useful and can be used at the same time. Advertising can be great for trying to raise brand awareness and to make sure you are reaching the right audience as you can more precisely target your consumers.

As Content Marketing on the other hand can be great for building up a strong relationship with your consumers. Purely because you offer them more value and are far less invasive with your product or service messages.

I believe content marketing should be done at all times to build up long lasting customer relationships. Content marketing is essentially the personality of your brand. It’s like a friend that is dishing out  super handy advice to you, without becoming preachy. Commercial Advertising should be used to get your product to consumers mind in raising brand awareness or informing people of a new product or service. So use content marketing more than you use advertising is the way I look at it.

So, there you go – that’s the difference. Fairly simple way to remember is just think advertising means promote product and services and content marketing is producing useful content.

Let me know if you have anything really interesting to add to this as it’s an evolving discussion and sometimes lines can feel blurred.

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