Content Marketing and Advertising – What’s the Difference? 

July 20, 2019
by Deanitra Kuminka

Businesses today are continuously trying to come up with new strategies and ways to generate sales and build brand awareness. Fortunately, there are many ways to do so as the marketing industry continues to grow and introduce new programs and technologies. When it comes time for you to determine what your business needs and how it fits in with your budget, you may be wondering what the difference is between content marketing and advertising and how each one can help you accomplish your goals.

Content Marketing

According to the Content Marketing Institute, Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. In that definition, it is important to note the keyword, valuable. Valuable content has become so important because brands are in constant competition with each other to put content out there in front of their audience. Your customers are bombarded day by day with paid advertisements, sponsored posts, content that might be valuable to them and content that may be irrelevant to them. Creating valuable content is vital when it comes to content marketing, otherwise, your content may not even be noticed. 

So, what exactly might be considered as “valuable” content? Valuable content can be educational or provide your readers with some sort of information that may be of interest to them. For example, if you wrote a blog about your product or service you would want to include how this product or service can help your readers. In addition to the information you provide your readers, any facts you include should be accurate and include some type of reporting or sourcing of information. 

Valuable content must also be content that is engaging and thought-provoking. More than ever, customers want to feel connected to a brand and have a relationship with the business they support. Asking your audience questions, or for their feedback is a great way to begin an engagement. Stories are another way to engage your audience. Stories help to clarify a point and also are a way to connect with your audience. 

Images and videos are a way to present visual content to your audience. Some people learn by reading and others may learn by seeing or hearing videos. Visuals can help to get your point across and also assist in catching your audience’s attention.

If you can create valuable content for your audience, there are many benefits of content marketing. 

Benefits of Content Marketing 

  • Attracting Long-Term, Loyal Customers

Content marketing helps to encourage customer loyalty as it creates a positive brand image that your customers can relate to. As you create more and more valuable content, you are providing your audience with information which really makes your website a free resource for them to receive information.  If you are using social media as a way to share your content, customers will start to become more and more interested in what you have to say and as a result, they will continue to stay in the news of your business and become long-term, supportive customers. 

  • Cost Savings

Gone are the days where you would have to pay thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get your content in front of people. With content marketing, you can deliver an effective message to your direct audience with low-cost tools and programs social media and adding blogs to your website. 

  • Increased Sales 

Content marketing helps to increase brand awareness. As you share content on your website or various channels, more people will learn about your business and become familiar with your brand. Content marketing helps to attract website traffic, answer questions and convert prospect customers into valuable customers. 


In contrast, Advertising is a way to influence your audience’s behavior through messages that are created to persuade them to take action. With all of the changes in the marketing industry, the utilization of advertising is declining among business owners, but it still is effective in different ways than content marketing and other strategies. 

Benefits of Advertising

  • Draws Attention

Advertising has been around for years and was designed to raise awareness for brands, promote new products or services or even upcoming events. Advertisements today are created to quickly catch your audience’s attention. Ads can be seen on television, billboards, and more commonly, social media.

  • Stimulates Emotion 

Advertisements are designed to quickly grab attention and as a result, the message creates an emotional reaction from the audience. An ad can make people laugh, cringe or experience any other emotion. A great example of excellent advertisements and how they provoke emotion are Super Bowl advertisements. As you may know, some of these ads have been talked about for years which ultimately increases brand awareness. 

There are various advertising techniques. Traditional ads are radio, television, print media and direct mail advertisements and then, of course, there are digital media ads that are more commonly used in today’s digital world. While advertising can still be effective, it is much costlier compared to other marketing strategies like content marketing. 

Before deciding on marketing or advertising, it is important to determine your short-term and long-term goals. If you are looking to produce long-term, lasting results that will build strong relationships with customers that will continue to support your business, content marketing might be the strategy for you. If you want to see fast, effective results and have the budget to do so, advertisements might be the better option. 

As marketing professionals, we suggest that you do thorough research and consult with professionals that can guide you and your business in the right direction. Professionals in the marketing industry can offer you that outside view that you and your team might not be able to see. Having the assistance of a marketing team can also potentially save you money from preventing you from spending money on a strategy that might not be right for your business. To learn more about content marketing and to determine if it could beneficial to your business, contact our team today.


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