What Is the Difference Between Content Marketing and Traditional Advertising
Over the past months of working on my documentary about luxury brands and millennials, I’ve researched this subject to death. What exactly constitutes modern content? And how is it different from traditional advertising? In this post, I am going to share with you what I learnt.
The main difference between traditional advertising and content marketing trickles down to one word — VALUE.
Traditional advertising exists to serve the seller. While meaningful content marketing is there to give value to the customer. It is true that the line between content marketing and traditional advertising is blurred. In our recent interview with Dominic Chambers of Jaguar Land Rover, he rightly touched upon this blurring of the line.
Invariably, every form of communication that is released by your company is a kind of content. For instance, traditional television advertising is still a form of content. At the same time, your aim is to sell, so even when you create online content, it is a form of advertising.
What Is the Right Approach For Your Brand?
It depends on whether you want to sell to millennials!
In many industries, millennials are not your immediate customers, but they are your future customers in say 5 to 10 years. But, being a millennial is not just about age. It’s about the way in which technology impacts our behaviour. Let’s set aside the generations and think this way; as a brand, you want to reach out to an audience which is immune to advertising. How can you reach them? By giving them value, through education and entertainment.
This is where you’d want to move more towards modern content and away from traditional advertising. Millennials don’t want to be advertised to. They create and consume content on the go and they will opt in for content that entertains them and/or that they can learn from.
They also show little interest in reading traditional magazines or watching scheduled TV programming, making it increasingly harder to target them on those platforms. The way to get to them is by giving them VALUE through content that educates and/or entertains them. If you can combine both elements you win.
Of course, your ultimate goal is to sell. A business can’t be successful and sustainable without sales. So there will always be an element of brand awareness and advertising in the content. But as long as you can keep a healthy balance of giving more value than trying to sell, you are on the right side of the content marketing spectrum.
80/20 would be great, 70/30 is good, 60/40 is still ok and 50/50 is passable. So always ask yourself, is the content that we are releasing more of an advertisement to sell a product, or is it giving genuine value to the customer. As long as the balance is in favour of the customer, you are on the right side of the content marketing spectrum.
Here is a short video where I go into more details about the subject with some simple illustrations.
I’m Somi Arian, a filmmaker with a passion for connecting brands with millennials. I am currently producing a feature-length documentary about the relationship between luxury/premium brands and millennials.
My team and I help brands with a complete content strategy and produce short films and video series for them. You can see some of our work on smartcookiemedia.com
I also record a daily Vlog about how I’m building a business and how creating content is helping our company. Watch my daily Vlogs, here.