What's the Difference Between Content and Content Marketing, Advertising, and PR

Often times, when people refer to "content marketing" they're really just talking about "content."

How is Content Different from Content Marketing?

    It's important to understand that content isn't the same thing as content marketing. That's because everything you produce is considered content! Content is everywhere! There's blog content, website content, product content, advertising content, sales content, video content, social media content... the list goes on and on!

    Content can be created by anyone and for any purpose. So content marketing specifically refers to the content created for marketing strategies, which is different than the content created for Advertising or PR. Let me explain...

    Marketing = Owned

    PR = Earned

    Advertising = Paid

    With content marketing, you publish your content on your own media – a website, newsletter, YouTube channel, podcast, custom magazine or any combination of such channels. By offering your customers the information they really need or actively search for, you’re building a long-term relationship. You are a media owner. 

    Owned media consists of the content you create and publish on a channel you own. This includes your website and blog, any ebooks and white papers you publish, and the content you distribute on your social media channels. 

    Owned media is primarily driven by your content marketing strategy. Providing valuable, educational content that is not overly self-promotional is the mainstay of owned media for many organizations. Promoting this content on social media is key to distributing it widely.

    Owned vs. Earned Media

    The Difference Between Marketing and PR Content

    Traditional Publicity VS Content Marketing

    From Visually.

    Public relations ‘earns’ its coverage. Your organization gains credibility because established newspapers or large news sites are writing about it. It’s the free kudos of third-party endorsement. Basically, you want other people saying you’re doing a great job. That also means you can’t control the message that will eventually be distributed.

    Owned vs. Paid

    What's the Difference Between Content Marketing and Advertising?

    Paid media is driven by your advertising strategy. As the name suggests, this is all of the stuff you pay for — search, display advertising, social ads, PPC campaigns and the like. With paid media, a brand is paying to leverage a channel with the aim of driving traffic to their owned media, blogs), and landing new business. 

    There used to be a time when content marketing was synonymous with paid media. Not anymore. While paid media has its place, times have changed and people have gone beyond responding to promo pitches and clever commercials. Now they are more interested in building relationships with brands they trust and they are seeking involvement with those brands regularly.

    With content marketing, you’re creating content for blogs, web pages, social media posts, whitepapers, etc. for your website. Then, when potential customers search for something related to your industry online using Google, Bing, or some other popular search engine, your content appears in search engine results for the customer to click on and visit your site.

    While Content Marketing may be slightly different than PR and Advertising, there is still plenty of overlap when it comes to creating content for each. But content shouldn't all be owned and created all by one person. Everyone needs to come together and collaborate to produce content for owned, earned, and paid media channels to create the ultimate marketing trifecta! 

    The problem with content marketing is most content is created with the goal of promoting a brand or a product, instead of what the customer actually wants or even needs. In reality, most content is created for the boss. It isn’t created for the audience you are trying to reach, engage, and convert. If you want to create amazing content, stop creating content no one will ever see. 

    Before you can write effective content, you need to ask yourself these questions:

    • Who’s going to read this?
    • What do those people care about?
    • Why are we creating this content?

    Producing effective content will put you on the right track, but success in content marketing doesn’t happen overnight. You need to consistently produce high-value material across all channels for a length of time if you want to get real results.