Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

We’re all familiar with the term marketing and most of us can safely say we have a pretty good grasp of what marketing means… basically getting your products and services in front of your audience in the most effective way.

Well, back in the days when the only real exposure we had to the various companies out there was the Yellow Pages and the only time we were really ‘sold to’ was during the Coronation Street ad breaks companies could afford to be quite direct in their sales messages.

Since the advent of the Internet, we have been bombarded with information. As a result, we’ve all become much more savvy. People have tuned out of loud advertising and suspicion of ‘interruption marketing’ where companies largely controlled when and what we accessed, has well and truly set in.

Businesses have had to adapt to the huge shift in how consumers behave, what they respond to and whom they’re prepared to put their trust in, and the ones who’ve done this most successfully are those that have shifted from traditional marketing technique to a type of marketing which puts the consumer first and that is, content marketing.

Through whatever medium, what content marketing does is either educate or entertain an audience in such a way as to engage them, build a relationship over time until such time a buying decision is ready to be made.

At that point, and only then, if you have sufficiently educated and entertained, there’s every chance people will be coming to you to buy.

So how is content marketing different from traditional marketing?


Uninterruptive, permission-based marketing

Traditional marketing is interruptive and is ultimately, on the advertiser’s terms: they decide when and where their audience receives their message, and it’s largely unsolicited.

Content marketing on the other hand is a form of permission marketing, which delivers anticipated, tailored messages. Businesses who implement this type of marketing correctly understand and respect the consumers’ prerogative to ignore marketing and so ensure they deliver real value.

For this reason content marketing is appreciated rather than just tolerated.


Giving and sharing

Marketing in the 20th Century was fairly straightforward and in full swing in the days of Mad Men (did someone say Donald Draper?). The basis of traditional marketing was to choose a target audience and get a strong message across about your product or service, why they need it and how to get it.

The basis of content marketing however is not to shove your offering under your audiences nose but to provide them with useful or interesting material and to create a situation where you’re providing them with something of value. Done well, this approach means that they’ll come back to you when they need what it is you offer.

Whereas traditional marketing rents markets from platforms that already have audiences, through content marketing you earn your audience and they are therefore yours to keep so long as you continue to engage with them effectively.


Interaction and Engagement

Because of the channels of traditional, through print and televeision etc, it was largely one sided and there was no opportunity for interaction with your brand. Because content marketing largely takes place on the Internet, you audience has the opportunity to voice their questions and provides the opportunity for dialogue. Traditional marketing strategies don’t ask for any response, in contrast content marketing is intended to start a conversation with the audience.


Personalised messages

Traditional marketing messages were designed to appeal to as large an audience as possible.

However, because content marketing is centred on building the audience’s trust, the content is directed towards smaller, niche audiences and speaks to them directly.

Put another way, content marketing campaigns provide something of value to several smaller audiences rather than little of value to a large, untargeted audience.


Shareworthy content

When your content provides value, it is automatically shareworthy. When people recognise the usefulness of your blog, video or podcast they are much more likely to share it on social media and share the name of you and your business with others when the demand for your services arises.


Channels of communication

A key difference between the two forms of marketing are the channels of communication.

Whereas traditional marketing has always had its base in print and on the television for example, now we can reach our audience through blogs, webinars, podcasts video, and lots in between.

There is, of course, some crossover, between the platforms used by each type of marketing but it’s certainly true that content marketing has changed the way businesses reach consumers largely since the advent of the Internet.



According to a report on the current state of content marketing by Demand Metriccontent marketing efforts cost 62% less than traditional marketing efforts, and they generate 3x as many leads.

The key thing to remember is that, although producing content takes time, effort and a dedication to consistency, the momentum which builds over time as your audience and their loyalty grows will

Traditional marketing campaigns don’t necessarily build on each other, it’s a little bit like starting again each time.

One of the most effective forms of content marketing is blogging. To get started sign up for my 5 part video tutorial below.

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Natalie’s mission is to help busy entrepreneurs and business owners achieve their business potential online through content marketing. She loves to help fill people with the confidence and enthusiasm they need to promote their business online.
Whether it’s through one-to-one training and coaching, public workshops or content strategy, I truly believe that with the right help and a patient teacher, anyone can take control of their own online marketing and enjoy the benefits of increased brand awareness, audience engagement and leads.

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