In the world of marketing, the most important thing you can do is to grab your audience’s attention with a good story, and then turn that attention into action. The more relevant the story is, the more likely your audience will grasp it and understand the message.

While traditional marketing reaches an audience through print, television and radio ads, content marketing uses relatively cheap (and sometimes free) means of reaching an audience — blogs, social media, marketing email campaigns and other techniques.

Despite the differences, the goal for both types of marketing campaigns are the same:

  • To educate the target audience about a new product/promotion/service
  • To generate leads
  • To convert those leads into new customers

If the goals are the same, is the medium used to convert the message the only difference, or are there other differences between the two approaches?

A Longer Shelf-Life

Think about this — you spent your money on making a television ad, and then buying ad time. Shortly after the ad airs, your sales go up. As long as your ad is in circulation, the numbers keep rising. But then, you decide to not spend the more any longer and remove the ad from TV. Suddenly, your sales are bottoming out and the revenue you were making has been neutralized. With content marketing, this is easily avoidable.

Good content

A great piece of content continues to circulate on the web for months, possibly years, which provides completely free advertising. This is where having your content shared through social media and other platforms can be extremely beneficial.

Value Addition

When you communicate through traditional modes of marketing, you’re telling the audience three things:

  • Information about your product/service
  • Why they need to have your offering
  • How they can get what you are offering

This can be a very straightforward way of communicating to your audience, and, as a result, is less likely to engage them on a more personal level. The potential customer wants to be entertained by an ad since it helps them connect with the product/service easier.

When you employ content marketing, you are taking an entirely different approach. Things like videos, blogs, press releases, e-mail campaigns, or infographics are more interesting and valuable to an audience than a traditional marketing campaign aimed at a much larger group. Customers are often more likely to respond to your ads when they feel engaged or entertained.

The Tailored Approach

Print ads, radio ads, and TV ads are effective, but do have some weaknesses. For example, they are not customizable, and their effectiveness isn’t measurable until after they have been broadcast.

Using content marketing, especially with the availability of social media and its ability to find targeted groups, you can create groups within the audience based on behavior, demographics, location, interests, etc.

The Big Pocket Conundrum

In every industry, there are giants who have a large, enviable marketing budget. Since many people think the more expensive something is the better it is, a lot of money is spent on traditional marketing. Because of this, the price of traditional marketing campaigns continues to remain high.

Every day, the use of social media, YouTube, and other content sharing apps and websites is growing at a healthy rate. Companies who invest in a solid content marketing campaign can probably count on a rock solid ROI.

Perhaps most importantly, content marketing can be less expensive than traditional marketing. In addition, there are several resources that are available to help you create, develop and launch content marketing campaigns. is a great example — they connect businesses in need of new content with those who create it. It’s a simple process and an easy way to get good, new content well within budget.

The Bottom Line

Content marketing and traditional marketing both play an important role in getting content out to your customers. It’s not about pushing the “old” out for the “new,” but more about what options are out there for you and how they can be beneficial.

It is also about focus, and deciding if a new direction would help you and your business. With social media use growing and changing every day, there’s a great opportunity to take advantage of that by simply changing where your marketing budget is directed.

When all is said and done, the most important aspect of marketing is to make sure you engage your audience and keep them coming back with new, relevant, and valuable content.