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If content is king, then what is inbound marketing?

If content is king, then what is inbound marketing?

If you run a business or work in a marketing department, you may have heard the phrase “content is king.”

This phrase, made popular by Bill Gates, refers to the idea that information and entertainment deliverables are what drive traffic and consumer engagement. We can’t disagree with that.

It is important to deliver quality articles, eBooks, whitepapers and other content that your audience will not only want to read or watch, but will find valuable and useful enough to engage with your brand and maybe even share your content with their friends.

But what good is a king if he doesn’t understand his audience’s needs and wants? Or if he can’t deliver his messages to the people who will be most interested in reading it?

That’s where inbound marketing comes in. Inbound marketing serves as a messenger or town crier of sorts (which doesn’t sound as important as being a monarch, but it’s a very crucial role).

Image of a king piece on a chess board. Content marketing is said to be king, but inbound marketing strategies help grow revenue and engagement.

Content may be king, but inbound marketing plays a sovereign role in reaching your audience. Image of click to tweet icon

Back in the days before TV, the Internet, and social media existed, the town crier was often the only source of information for populations where very few people could read and write. The town crier would go to the places where locals would gather—the town inn or square, for example—to deliver proclamations from the king. In a very similar fashion, inbound marketing tactics seek to meet your audience where they like to spend their time (social media, emails, your blog, etc.) and deliver the information that they will find most useful.

Blog: 4 strategies for building trust through content marketing

Inbound marketing also allows marketers to monitor the performance of their content (downloads, page views, email clicks) while interacting with and growing a better understanding of their audience’s pain points, goals, and behaviors.

So now that we’ve established how inbound and content marketing are interrelated, let’s dig a little deeper to take a closer look at both approaches and how each can strengthen and shape your comprehensive marketing efforts.

The Ultimate B2B Guide to Inbound Marketing Download

Defining inbound and content marketing

Wordstream defines inbound marketing as: "Any kind of marketing that reaches customers when they go looking for something to buy." In other words, it's designed to intercept consumers and offer them options to solve a problem or fill a need. That's pretty broad, but it's right on the money.

By contrast, the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as: "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." That's far more specific. It identifies not only an approach to customers but a desired result.

Opinions vary on if content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing, or vice versa, but we’re of the opinion that you can’t practice inbound marketing without great content, and your great content can’t reach its desired audience as effectively without inbound marketing strategies.

Content marketing as part of your inbound marketing campaign

Writing for Business2Community, Written founder Helen Nesterenko points out that inbound marketing's chief goal is to attract customers. You're trying to pull in potential clients so they'll understand your products and services and want to buy them.

Content marketing can achieve this goal. You can write blog posts, email newsletters, white papers, social media posts, and a host of other content to draw eyes to your website or other platforms. You can also create videos, infographics, and other forms of visual content.

However, inbound marketing also includes other strategies designed to turn your business into a customer magnet. You might try pay-per-click advertising, for example, or engage with your followers on social media. All of these efforts can be supported by great content. For example, you can run PPC campaigns to promote one of your eBooks, and you should be sharing each and every blog post or video with your followers on social media.

Blog: The Marketers Guide to Content Marketing

Creating your campaign

Image of people on laptops in coffee shop. Inbound marketing tools help organizations reach audiences where they prefer to interact.Inbound marketing is the modern town crier: Delivering messages
in the places that your audience prefers to gather. 
Image of click to tweet icon

A well-rounded marketing campaign should include both content and inbound marketing. If you neglect one or the other, you short-change your business and leave potential customers out in the cold.

Furthermore, you can't just create content or start a PPC advertising campaign and hope it will work its magic. You have to analyze each element's performance and make adjustments to your strategy as time passes. Otherwise, you risk chasing prospects into the willing arms of your competitors.

Since inbound marketing is highly focused on analytics, you can use those strategies to inform your content marketing efforts. Creating great content is a good first step, but it’s not enough. With inbound marketing tools and tactics, you will be able to analyze the performance of each deliverable and tailor topics, discussions, and strategies to align with customer behaviors.

Content marketing and inbound marketing are undeniably linked, sharing common qualities that support and strengthen efforts from both disciplines in order to help lift your organization to new heights.

After all, your content won’t be able to find its audience without an effective town crier, and your town crier won’t have anything useful to say unless he or she has something of substance to announce.

The Ultimate B2B Guide to Inbound Marketing Download

Make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn to get valuable insight on the latest news in marketing and website design. Follow us  here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/inbound-281

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