If you’ve ever heard the terms “content marketing” and “blogging” used interchangeably, you’re not alone. In fact, they are not the same thing. At times, content marketing may mean blogging, and blogging may be part of content marketing, but they differ.
Hunting for some clarity? Here’s a look at how these two terms are alike and how they’re not — and why that matters for your business.
Why the Confusion?
Part of the reason these two terms get confused so often is due to the overlap between them. Content marketing is an overarching term that can include many types of content: webpages, infographics, podcasts, videos, e-books, social media posts, photography and, of course, blog posts.
Therefore, a content marketing plan may indeed include blogging as part of its overall strategy, which makes the terms related and easily confused. Nonetheless, blogging would be just one part of the process — and a strategic one at that.
Blogging on its own doesn’t have to be part of a content marketing plan; in these cases, it’s just a blog.
What Makes Content Marketing Stand Out?
Content marketing exists to build awareness and interest in a business or product. Using a variety of different content pieces, from articles to podcasts, it answers questions, provides solutions, raises interest and moves an audience to the place where it’s ready to buy. That is the crux of content marketing: driving action.
Key Components in Content Marketing
To give you an idea of how content marketers create content compelling enough to drive results, here are some key components that go into good strategy.
- Keyword research. Rather than just throwing up pages, posts, articles, etc., content marketers start by researching. They look for words or phrases that are popular enough to be searched often, yet not overly competitive. Then, they build content around those terms.
- Content analysis. Content marketers also watch the performance of everything they create and post. They’re monitoring blog stats, watching hits on videos and observing what photos get the most likes on Instagram — all so they can know what topics, keywords and content types are resonating the most with their audience.
- Marketing. While a traditional blogger might promote his or her post on social media after it’s gone live, a content marketer understands the long-term appeal of quality content. That’s why everything gets refreshed and re-promoted on a regular basis. Through scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, for example, a content marketer ensures strategic, keyword-rich content is going out to the target audience regularly, consistently, time and time again.
- Content planning. While many bloggers write as inspiration strikes, content marketers plan ahead, often months or more at a time. Taking a page from traditional publishers, they set editorial calendars far in advance so they always know what content is in the pipeline next. This makes it easier to know how to promote content, as well as to adjust material to fit new product lines or promotions as they come up.
- Calls to action. Because content marketing is all about driving action, it also includes clear, compelling calls to specific actions: signing up for a newsletter, requesting a free consultation, browsing an online catalog, calling for an appointment or buying a product.
While both content marketing and blogging have business benefits, blogging is most advantageous when it’s part of an overarching content marketing plan. Through research-driven, strategy-backed content marketing, brands can connect with their customers and make it easier to make new sales.
Author bio: Shanna Mallon is a copywriter for Straight North, a Chicago SEO expert agency. A freelance writer, Shanna has been creating online content professionally since 2007.
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Also published on Medium.