The Difference Between Inbound Marketing And Content Marketing


Apr 11, 2016


3 min read

I have been a content writer for a long time now and it was a dream that I was living until someone asked me to explain the difference between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing. I honestly replied to him that I had no clue and did not want to give a wrong answer to the question so I told him that you please give me sometime and let me find out. Even here at the office we used to use the words interchangeably for both content and Inbound Marketing. But when I got hold of the truth through a prolonged research, I knew that it was a big mistake and it is important to know the difference between the two terms.

So a lot of research and time went into it and then finally got hold of HubSpot’s annual survey that they conducted with 3500 marketing and sales professionals.

The Question that was specifically asked was that What is the relationship between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing? And was a multiple choice question with the options:

  1. They are synonymous to each other.
  2. Content Marketing was the subset of the Inbound Marketing.
  3. Inbound Marketing was the subset of the Content Marketing.
  4. The two are fundamentally different.
  5. Don’t know the answer.

Before we dive into the answer that was voted the most, what I think is that Content Marketing was the subset of Inbound Marketing but I wanted others to give me confidence on what I think. And it turns out I was right and don’t we all marketers think alike? Even after what we think we should also understand one thing that without content Inbound Marketing is nothing, content marketing is the heart of Inbound marketing that pumps blood into its veins.

Inbound Marketing
When it comes to a discussion about both, marketers should rather use the terms with “and” not “or” for content and Inbound marketing relationship. What not is included within the scope of a content marketer is the keyword analysis, SEO, freemium trials, social media management, etc. All that core content that is made by a content marketer is the white papers, blogs, case studies, and ebooks. So it is understood by the fact that marketers, sales people, customers or non-customers, they all had one notion and the correct understanding that Content marketing was a subset of Inbound marketing. Another survey that was conducted with the other marketing professionals who use marketing automation as a platform, even then the data that was received supported the same idea.

Marketing Automation

A company that employs Content marketing and not the other parts of Inbound marketing, it is making a big mistake in thinking that they are using Inbound marketing to its full potential and have leveraged its beauty in its entirety. All they should focus on is to create content and use Inbound Marketing to its full potential so that they can help themselves to get found, get leads and close sales. Creating content to answer the customer’s questions, and then optimizing it for keywords or sharing it on blog sites, social media sites to get found, to bring in new audience to your website and to close sales is what a typical operation of Inbound Marketing means.

Content marketing is not limited to the time when you have successfully closed in a sale, but as believed by many it extends beyond the sales funnel and contributes to an ongoing communication with the existing customers as well. For example, a customer who has a long time relationship with your company and now the company is into a process of releasing a new product or service and it needs to make all its existing customers aware of the new product or service. So the company decides to create a blog content or a case study around how this new product or service can help solve their problems and sends the blog content via an e-mail or simply puts it up on the website and performs the optimization of keywords over it so that it gets found. That’s how people leverage both content marketing and Inbound marketing to grow their company.

We would sincerely want to know about how useful did you find this blog and if there’s anything that we missed out on any point of difference between content marketing and Inbound marketing it would be a pleasure for us all to learn from you.