Marketo recently put together a great content marketing infographic that pits traditional advertising against content marketing in terms of spend and effort. This makes a lot of sense: advertising is content we’re putting out into the world, after all, but the channels are generally analog.
The biggest difference between content marketing and advertising, though, is that one of the main principles of content marketing is getting out there and marketing the marketing, which isn’t something one would typically do with a traditional print ad or a digital banner ad (which I’ll call Direct Marketing, therefore differentiating it from “advertising” – something that’s meant to generate a click or an action is a direct marketing tactic). That being said, as content marketing matures as a discipline, it’s inevitable that some of its radical core principles will influence its more conservative cousin, Traditional Advertising.
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are neck-and-neck on where folks are distributing their content; this surprised me until I remembered that, as a new discipline, a lot of content marketers I know (and this includes me) are B2B marketers, and LinkedIn is the channel for that.
Also surprising to me was finding that more than half the content marketers surveyed outsource their content, but perhaps it shouldn’t: I know more than anyone the challenges of continually producing relevant, engaging content. With average budgets growing, I’m sure we’ll continue to see content marketing apps and other software products crop up as folks scramble to programmatically address the new content marketing landscape.
While we can’t be sure where content marketing is headed, and what that means for PR and Social Media as content marketing disciplines by default, the trend is that more companies are spending more money on this new department. The good news: content marketing metrics are easier to establish and track than traditional media spend, so the elusive ROI debate should be easier to manage with skeptical senior executives.