Our customers sometimes ask us to explain the difference between content marketing and social media. Are they two different animals? Or is one simply the subset of the other? It’s worth it to take a look at the two concepts in greater detail and understand their relationship.
Content marketing is defined as creating and distributing relevant content for the purpose of engaging a targeted audience in order to achieve business goals. Social media is defined by Wikipedia as the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue.
So a way to look at the relationship between the two might be to consider social media as one of the distribution channels used in content marketing. After the content is created, social media sites like Facebook are used to deliver it to the target audience. Technically this is correct, but is this view is somewhat simplistic?
A deeper, more insightful way is to look at the relationship between three broader concepts: marketing, content, and conversation.
When we consider marketing, it’s easy to see that without good content any marketing effort will most likely fall short. If you don’t grab and hold the attention of your audience, there is simply no way to get your message across. At the same time, marketing without conversation becomes a one-way conduit that simply dumps the information in front of people. Even if this effort is well targeted, without conversation your audience will most likely glance over your content and quickly move on. There is already a tremendous amount of content “out there” competing for attention and standing out without the conversation often requires extensive resources beyond the reach of medium and small businesses.
On the other hand, conversations without content or with content that’s not interesting are not likely to work very well either, if at all. It’s like speaking to a boring person or someone who has little or nothing to say about what you’re trying to talk about. Great content, on the other hand, can stimulate vigorous conversation that maintain momentum and often grow virally.
Looking at it all from a bird’s eye perspective, it’s clear that in order for marketing to be as effective as it can be, it needs to have great content as well as be social. This is especially true for internet marketing because the web is fast becoming one giant social network. It’s becoming difficult to find a web site that’s not enabled one way or another to support some form of conversation or social media.
So while social media and content marketing are two separate concepts, they are increasingly interrelated and interdependent. Working with an expert partner like Accendo Digital, who understands and is able to navigate this relationship is crucial to a successful marketing campaign. Contact us to explore how content marketing and social media can help your business.