Content marketing and advertising, are they are entirely different disciplines or one and the same? Four members of The Content Council share their views.
Director of Sales, Diablo Publications
Ultimately, advertising and content marketing share the same purpose—to get us to buy products or services or do certain things. Content marketing just lets the sponsor tell longer stories, and be less obvious in the pitch, or even to make no pitch at all. And the viewers and readers get it. They know it’s sponsored. But if the stories are well told and well presented, then we are drawn to them anyway. If a brand shares my interests, and they entertain and educate me, then I’m likely to have an affinity for them. They might lead me into more interaction with them. And when I’m in the market, I’m likely to buy from them because of that common interest.
Traditional advertising is more transactional. It gets straight to the point. It describes a product and/or service and its features, benefits and price. It gets tricky though, because the lines are blurred and often cross over. People will tell you they don’t really like the interruption of advertising, but content marketing, done well, is often welcome.
Vice President, iostudio
There’s definitely a relationship between content marketing—or just marketing in general—and advertising. From my perspective, your advertising can boost attention to your marketing. I consider advertising more in the paid media buys. I pay x dollars to purchase social media ad placements. I’m expecting a certain number of transactional clicks to see my black and white ROI on day one. But for marketing, it can get a bit more expansive, and more about relationship building. Many of our clients hire us to provide them a marketing suite of platform, content and engagement. We dive into audience and client research to best plan a platform that’s designed for the audience’s habits, meeting them where they want to be met. That might be a website; it might be Instagram; or something different. From there, we build trust with the audience by using that platform to house enriching content. To go beyond impressions and create loyalty, we believe every content component must offer nuggets of wisdom that are immediately useful to your audience. We refer to that content as being functional; it has purpose. We then support that with an engagement plan providing subject matter experts ready to chat with the audience, offering first-contact resolution of their questions or needs. The marketing suite is scalable and has a la carte capabilities. Through this functional content marketing, you create a magnetic experience retaining the audience and attracting their sphere of influence. But if you build it, that doesn’t mean they will come. So, here’s where advertising is your megaphone to let everyone know you exist.
VP & Group Publisher, St Joseph Communications
Traditional advertising is a push media exercise — traditionally media spends are based on identifying a target audience, and then invading the target consumer’s space, via a specific media property or platform at a specific time. In the past, it has been a reach game - to blanket the target with the message, with the intent to have the message received at levels estimated from industry benchmarks (open rates, media impressions, time spent etc...) with the hope that the message is being received.
Content marketing is the discipline of creating content, on behalf of a brand, designed with the specific strategy of influencing consumer behavior in order to drive quantifiable, profitable results. It is about inspiring consumers to take action, providing authentic and valuable material to an audience — for example a service or education — at the right time and on the consumer’s terms. It’s a push and pull marketing solution based on being part of the customer journey, driving long-term strategy and providing measurable results and proven ROI.
Traditional advertising and content marketing are not mutually exclusive and both can be strategically and simultaneously leveraged to drive maximum amplification of a marketing program.
Group Creative Director, Campbell Ewald
Is there a difference between advertising and content marketing? Absolutely! Brands can (and should) do both, but there are fundamental differences in how and why brands create traditional advertising, and how and why they create content. Selling products or services may be the ultimate goal, but the approach is distinctly and purposefully different. I see the two divided in the following way:
|Intended for immediate conversion||Intended for long term relationship building|
|Tell your audience (sell)||Give your audience (inform & influence)|
|A paid endorsement||Authentic endorsement|
|Push||Pull (and share)|
|More generalized||More personalized (can be highly targeted)|
|Helps with awareness for a brand||Helps with trusting a brand|