It can be easy for online business newbies and marketing amateurs to confuse blogging and content marketing as terminologies.
With blogging and content marketing used interchangeably, are they really the same?
What differences set one marketing practice from the other? Is blogging still relevant to date? How has content marketing evolved in recent years?
In this blog, let us understand blogging and content marketing individually, their major differences, and why both can be helpful for your venture into the online sphere.
Blogging refers to the practice of writing blogs, a term primarily derived from ‘web log’, or a journal or log published on the web. In the past, blogging served primarily as a way to record and publish information, experiences, and ideas on the internet.
Over the years, blogging has been picked up as a marketing strategy employed by businesses to position their brands and give a voice to their respective organizations, offerings, and promotions.
The typical format of a blog is structured by way of a published article, complete with headline, sub-headings, and chunks of paragraphs. To make a blog entry more engaging, it may be inserted and published with images, infographics, statistical data, or even videos.
Despite the emergence of newer content marketing strategies other than blogs, blogging has retained its relevance today. According to 2019 stats, 500 million blogs are currently in existence on the internet. Moreover, as much as 77% of people who use the internet also read blogs.
Content Marketing Defined
Content marketing is the strategic and long-term practice of creating, collating, and distributing content to a target audience as means to build brand awareness, forge lasting relationships, and ensure profitable conversion.
Any marketing strategy, therefore, which employs any form of content for the purpose of meeting the needs of a specific audience can be loosely classified as content marketing.
Does this mean blogging is a form or type of content marketing? Yes, definitely. But does this mean content marketing is limited to only blogging? Clearly, no.
The rationale behind content marketing is that earning the trust of your prospects is very crucial in the online sales process. If you have a business operating online, getting the attention of your audience can no longer be accomplished by aggressive, in-your-face marketing or advertising.
Gone are the days of pushy advertisements and loud calls-to-action.
With content marketing, you are able to offer something valuable to your audience first. This could be in the form of an email newsletter, a case study, a webinar, photo collages, or a weekly blog.
Once you have their attention (and, more importantly, their trust), selling to them ultimately becomes smoother and easier.
The Main Difference?
Blogging and content marketing are hugely related in the sense that blogging is a form of content marketing. But this is also where there their difference is clearly marked — content marketing is so much broader than blogging.
Think of content marketing as this huge umbrella where under it are a range of strategies, of which blogging is merely a part.
It is also worth noting that ‘content’ here doesn’t simply mean textual or written content. The formats of content marketing are numerous and diverse.
Charts, graphs, podcasts, infographics, memes, videos, and video logs or vlogs —- all of these are considered to be content marketing formats.
The popularity of video-sharing sites, social media platforms, and mobile usage has brought significant changes in the way content is defined, consumed, and marketed.
In the early years of the internet, content marketing used to be closely tied to blogging and email newsletters. In recent years, however, content has had to adapt to the dynamics of technology and social platforms, giving rise to other, non-textual forms.
Are There Similarities?
The fact that both blogging and content marketing aim to tell stories shows that they are cut from the same cloth.
Both blogging and content marketing target clearly-defined markets or market segments. Used as a marketing practice, the ultimate goal of both activities is to encourage profitable customer action.
When you blog, you shape information into a cohesive and understandable whole, engaging your audience through examples, definitions, even figures of speech.
This is the same for content marketing, as it also has to anchor on a specific subject matter or topic. To be effective, vlogs, how-to videos, and infographics need not only convey some sort of information. These formats also have to connect to a target audience on a more personal, trustworthy level.
Blogging as Content Marketing Strategy
In a nutshell, blogging is just one content marketing strategy format. And while it is not the only format you can use for your content marketing efforts, it remains to be a viable tactic within a market that welcomes stories, honest experiences, and a more personal take on things.
The fact that there are way too many blogs online cannot be overemphasized. With 400-500 million blogs in existence, personalized content and authentic stories are all the more called-for.
And in a 2019 SEMRush report, 77% of surveyed businesses say that they operate with a content marketing strategy at hand. This can only mean that content marketing as a digital marketing practice is not going anywhere, anytime soon.
Whether you use blogging or any other content marketing format, the goal is the same: convert your audience into loyal customers through consistent creation and distribution of valuable and timely content.