Home / Learn / Content Marketing

Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing: What’s Right for Your Business?

What sets apart inbound marketing from content marketing? Continue reading to learn about both marketing methods, why they are important, which one is right for your business, and how they can benefit you.

Diana Bajraktari

Senior Content Strategist

Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing: What's Right for Your Business?

Inbound marketing and content marketing are often used interchangeably, which causes a lot of confusion. So, you’re not alone if you’re confused about the differences between the two. It can be difficult to figure out which is best for your business. 


The two marketing strategies are different terms that you should be able to separate, especially if you’re implementing them for your own business. It’s essential to understand the key differences between the two in order to select the best strategy for your company and drive results around your specific goals.


So, what sets apart inbound marketing from content marketing? Where do they come together, and what defines each? Continue reading to learn about both marketing methods, why they are important, which one is right for your business, and how they can benefit you. 

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on drawing customers to your brand through useful and relevant materials and interactions. The main benefit of this approach is the ability to build relationships with potential customers by offering them the information they need – when they need it.


The premise of inbound marketing is that customers do not want to be interrupted by marketing while they are doing something else. They are far more likely to accept a targeted offer or respond to a call to action when they seek out a company or service themselves.


Inbound marketing focuses on delivering the right content to the right client at the right time. Many inbound marketing strategies involve identifying and promoting specific actions. An inbound marketing program may include displaying a pop-up to a repeat visitor because they are more likely to subscribe to an email list than a first-time visitor.


Blogging, white papers, guides, and videos are just a few of the methods used in inbound marketing. Instead of focusing just on clicks and views, inbound marketing focuses on making the proper kind of content accessible to anyone who decides they want or need it.

Content Marketing

Content marketing usually means creating content that a customer in the brand’s target audience or demographic will find helpful, useful, or interesting. It is a great way to connect with and build relationships with your target audience. It’s a subtle marketing strategy that allows you to share valuable information with your customers to help them become more informed. 


Even if the content does not contain a strong call to action or promote the brand’s products or services, its existence may still increase brand affinity. The basic concept of this strategy is based on the idea that when businesses provide consistent, ongoing, and useful information to customers, they will eventually reward them with business and loyalty.


Different types of content may be useful or interesting to your target customers. Blogs, podcasts, infographics, and e-books are some examples. Whatever form the content takes, providing valuable information that is both useful and engaging will keep your customers coming back for more.

Content Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: Differences

Although content marketing and inbound marketing have many similarities, they also have some differences. Inbound marketing targets specific buyer personas, whereas content marketing targets a broad target audience


Content marketing includes the creation and sharing of content using various channels. For example, creating a guide, sharing it on social media, and making sure that it is read and shared among those who find it applicable. 


Meanwhile, inbound marketing focuses on making a website and its content appealing enough to compel a visitor to take action, whether it’s a purchase, the completion of a form, or simply a social media following.


While content marketing focuses on building relationships through content, inbound marketing is a “bigger picture” activity that makes use of a number of tactics in order to eventually inspire a customer to act. Most content marketing programs focus on blogging and content creation, whereas inbound marketing includes a wide range of methods, including social media, blogs, and videos.


Inbound marketing includes more strategies that help in organic SEO, such as building, maintaining, and optimizing your website, running ads, and monitoring your online reputation—things that are not covered by content marketing.

Content Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: Similarities

Inbound marketing and content marketing strategies are similar in that they both take a more holistic approach to marketing that focuses on meeting the needs of visitors or customers. Both are non-intrusive and rely on the gradual, steady growth of a relationship between the brand and the customer to make a sale.


Have you noticed the similarities between the two? They may have used different terminology in each definition, but we cannot deny that content is the key component of both strategies. Both are simply impossible without the creation of high-quality content.


Inbound marketing and content marketing both stick to a more customer-centric marketing approach that prioritizes customer needs and satisfaction above anything else.  

Content Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: Which One Should You Use?

Both content and inbound should ideally be part of your online marketing strategy. Neither method is better than the other, and when combined, they can produce amazing results.


Inbound marketing is essential because it will improve the quality of your website. The methods you employ and the content you make available can compel visitors to act and become customers. 


Meanwhile, content marketing will make your website more appealing to visitors. It will provide them with useful information that will encourage them to believe that you are the right partner. And it will also help your search engine rankings.


Inbound marketing and content marketing can work together to improve the quality of your website. 

Benefits of using content and inbound marketing

As we’ve already mentioned, inbound marketing and content marketing can complement each other to boost the effectiveness of your website. These methods can help you increase your visibility, generate more leads, build amazing customer relationships, and get your content shared on a regular basis.


According to 72% of marketers, the most effective SEO tactic is content creation. Many marketers associate content marketing with inbound marketing. To maximize results, an effective content marketing campaign should incorporate other inbound marketing tactics.


83% of marketers believe that producing higher-quality content less often is more effective. According to a research study of marketers worldwide, 62% believe it is critical to be “always on” for their customers, while 23% believe content-led communications are most effective for personalized targeting.


There is a unique chance to inform your customers about your brand by regularly creating and distributing useful content. You can use inbound marketing to inform customers about your services and to create a strong, trustworthy perception in the minds of both potential and returning consumers.


91% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that recognize, remember, and offer relevant offers and suggestions. And 53% of marketers rank blog content creation as their top inbound marketing priority.


Companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month generate 4.5 times as many leads as those that publish 0-4 monthly posts. 70% of people would rather read an article about a company than watch an advertisement. 


The most difficult challenge for 61% of B2B marketers is generating high-quality leads. By attracting and engaging leads who are already interested in a company’s products or services, content marketing can help address this challenge. Companies that regularly publish blog content receive 55% more website visitors.

How to Use Inbound and Content Marketing?

The goal of an inbound marketing program should be to place the right information on your website in the right places. This includes providing answers to common questions, adding images, videos, or enhanced content, blogging, and engaging in any other activity that will increase the chance of customers converting.


Content marketing cannot guarantee success on its own. For your digital marketing campaigns to be successful, you need to implement a full inbound marketing strategy, which is essentially content marketing combined with these other efforts:


  • SEO
  • Web design
  • Social Media
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Lead Management


Content marketing programs should prioritize the creation of convincing, useful, and original content as well as its distribution across multiple channels. Writing blog posts or guides, sharing them on social media, building links to them, and so on should all be part of your content marketing strategy. 


These activities, once again, will add value to your brand and encourage the growth of interactions with potential customers. For the best results, you can and should use both at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Your business’s focus should be on understanding what these two strategies can do for your business and customers rather than questioning which of inbound marketing and content marketing is better.


Beyond content marketing, there are some important tasks that can help your business succeed online, such as technical SEO, web design, and lead management, all of which are a part of inbound marketing.  When you get these all working together, increasing your metrics and finding new customers will be easy to do.

More Content Hub