How content marketing is different from conventional advertising

Conventional advertising is constantly telling you to buy something. It’s normally one way – you come across it on TV, radio, print media or in the form of banner ads, landing pages and text link ads on the Internet. Conventional advertising is interruptive – instead of providing any value, it simply starts telling you buy this product or subscribe to that service. Of course it is exorbitantly expensive from business perspective.

In the absence of any other option, it was considered to be the best way of reaching out to prospective customers and clients. Content marketing not only altered the perception, it completely changed the rules of marketing and engagement.

We have all grown up in the midst of advertising, but content marketing is something very few people understand. Lack of proper understanding prevents many people from even taking it seriously, let alone considering it as an alternative to conventional advertising. What exactly is it?

Just because it is called “content marketing” it doesn’t mean there is lots of marketing. It simply means, indirectly marketing through valuable content. What is valuable content? Content that informs, educates, creates awareness, engages prospects, or even entertains. While implementing a content marketing strategy you don’t overtly tell your prospective customers and clients to do business with you. You constantly provide them highly useful information that they actually appreciate. Through your content, you are constantly communicating with them. The main ingredients of an effective content marketing strategy are:

  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Timeliness
  • Engagement
  • Regularity

Is content marketing an Internet-specific buzzword?

Although content marketing has certainly gone mainstream with the advent of easy publishing through the Internet, it’s origin definitely cannot be traced just back to the Internet. In the modern times (around 100 years) businesses have been using valuable content to strengthen their brands, reach out to their customers and clients and create an engaging presence in the market. Those in America may like to research more on the Michelin Guide for example. Been published since 1900, it is a very famous travel guide that provides highly valuable information to travelers such as where to live, where to eat and where to rent good automobiles.

Do you know that the G.I. Joe comics were created to boost the sales of the eponymous toys? Another good example is Richard Branson – he constantly participates in activities (for instance covering great distances in a hot air balloon) that get quite media coverage.

So one way or another, content marketing has been at the forefront of branding for many years. It has just now become accessible to almost everybody due to a publishing revolution called the web.

Why big businesses like Coca-Cola are ditching conventional advertising in favor of content marketing?

By now every content marketer, one way or the other, has talked about this famous Coca-Cola content marketing roadmap.

These videos were created for their own staff.

So why content marketing? Because it works. People these days don’t like being talked to. They don’t like interruptions. They want to be engaged. They want to find you when they need you. For that they may use their favorite search engines or their favorite social networking and social media websites. The moot point is, if I want to purchase a particular camera I would like to obtain the right information myself rather than you as the camera seller pushing that information down my throat when all I want to do is watch my favorite TV show or YouTube video.

Today’s customer is empowered by unprecedented connectivity. He or she can immediately log onto the Internet and find the needed information. He or she should be able to find you exactly when he or she needs you. This becomes possible through a carefully implemented content marketing strategy.

Big businesses are switching over to content marketing because one, conventional advertising is not as effective as content marketing, and two, conventional advertising is a lot more expensive and short-lived compared to publishing and distributing targeted content.

I will share more thoughts on this in the coming blog posts, so stay tuned.


Amrit Hallan