<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=2LgIl1aQibl0vg" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

A Beginner's Guide to Inbound Content

Rewatch our Tech Tuesday Webinar, where we cover Inbound Content and CRM's role in aiding quality content. 

May 8, 2015 | 4 Min Read

Intro to Inbound: What is Content?

Posted By
Gillian Singletary
Intro to Inbound: What is Content?

"Like the Arc Reactor to Iron Man, there is no inbound without content. Content is inbound’s lifeblood. "

-HubSpot VP of Content Joe Chernov

In this next installment of Intro to Inbound, we are going to talk about content. (For last week's installment go here: What is Inbound?) If you know anything at all about why inbound marketing works, you probably know that it relies on content to attract visitors, convert them to leads, and eventually to close sales.

But that the concept of content might not be so clear. What is content? And why is it so important to what we do with inbound marketing?

Content Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

As with any broader concept like the inbound methodology, it isn't always easy to discern between terms that seem like synonyms. So are content marketing and inbound marketing the same thing? It depends on who you ask. If you click through to the HubSpot post above, you'll get Joe Chernov's opinion: content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. But if you browse through blog after blog on marketing concepts, strategies, and tactics, you could easily start to believe that they are, indeed the same thing and it would be difficult to prove you wrong. So while the terminology is confusing, what it is important to remember is that content is an essential part of inbound marketing. So essential that calling inbound marketing content marketing isn't crazy at all.

What Isn't Content?

Sometimes the easiest way to define something is by describing what it's not. So what isn't content? One example of a traditional marketing tactic that would not count as content would be a standard television commercial or magazine ad. While a TV commercial might outline the benefits of say, a new car, and while a YouTube version of that commercial might beg to be shared, the reality is that a commercial is a promotional advertisement and does not aim to help or educate the viewer beyond the product it is selling. Of course, if a commercial is funny in addition to educational, and provides entertainment by way of value, then it could be argued that it straddles the line into content.


Different Types of Content

We will go into the varied uses for different types of content next week, but for today we want to talk about the different types of content that exist. Any of the following could be considered content within the bounds of inbound marketing:

  • eBooks
  • infographics
  • blog posts (like this one!)
  • webinars
  • podcasts
  • videos
  • white papers
  • case studies
  • reviews
  • how-to guides
  • listicles

Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. The most important thing to remember is that content must add value for your visitors and be relevant to their needs. Pure promotion may take the form of content, but it is not what we're talking about in inbound.

The Importance of Content

So now that you know what content is, let's take a moment to give an overview about why content is so important in inbound marketing. Content is ultimately what makes inbound marketing different from outbound marketing. That's because content, as we mentioned, is useful and valuable on its own, apart from your promotional purposes. It is enticing to prospects because it's actually information that they need, or that they find interesting, or even funny. Unlike interruptive marketing, it brings prospects to you.

Next week, we will talk more about the different types of content and how each applies to the different steps of the buyer's journey.

In the meantime, feel free to download our Inbound Marketing Fundamentals eBook below for even more information about the great wide world of inbound.


Topics: Inbound Marketing

Related Posts

Inbound Marketing

4 Top Tips for Writing Long-Form Content

While it's absolutely fair to say that many content marketing professionals understand the importance of actual, high quality content in their overall...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

5 Highly Effective Inbound Marketing Strategies for Healthcare Providers

Did you know that according to new studies, more and more people are searching online for health information, but frequently can't find what they're l...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

How Does Inbound Marketing Actually Work?

Inbound marketing is a methodology that has been around since the early 2000s. Despite its identity as a common practice, it is still a mystery to man...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

Improve Your Indirect Sales By Recruiting Qualified Reps

Manufacturers have long known that an indirect sales channel can become a direct route to growth. Channel partners grant easier access to the fast-gro...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

The Switch from "About Us" to "About You"

Developing a clearly defined marketing message is more important than many marketers grasp. There are many ways to reach your end consumer, but very f...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

The Complete Guide to Building an SEO Strategy for Your Business

Developing a highly-effective SEO strategy is what defines whether your digital marketing efforts will be a success or failure. An SEO strategy is lik...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

Understanding PRM Software

If your business depends on value-added resellers (VARs), technology integrators, or other indirect sales or channel partners, a cloud-based Partner R...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

Tips for Marketing SaaS

Marketing SaaS products can pose a challenge, especially because they have no physical presence. However, there are still many ways to attract your ta...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

Customer Portals: Build Trust and Communicate with Your Consumer Base

As more and more businesses continue to try to find new ways to connect with their customers and provide as much long-term value as possible, one stra...

Read More
Inbound Marketing

What KPIs Are Most Impactful for Your Business?

Every business needs to set clear business objectives and determine the best way to track progress toward achieving them. Looking at metrics like reve...

Read More