It’s easy to become confused at all of the terms floating around the world of Internet marketing. You’ve probably heard of content marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing and online marketing, to mention some of the most common terms.
Are these all the same? If not, what are the distinctions that make them different from one another? The fact is, these terms do overlap quite a bit. To make things more confusing, people often confuse them and use them interchangeably. Yet each of these has its own unique characteristics. To make this more clear, let’s take a brief look at what each of these terms really means.
Content marketing refers to any strategy based on creating, publishing or distributing content in order to attract a wider audience. Content can be written material, images, videos, slideshows, social media posts or whatever new platforms become popular in the coming years.
Content marketers may use their own content or be content curators -collectors of content from other sources that they re-use, provided they have the proper permission to do so.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is a term that’s used widely, and not always in the same way. Everyone agrees that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ are social media sites. However, many other kinds of sites can also fit this description, including social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit and even video sharing sites such as YouTube.
Even review sites like Yelp and answer sites like Yahoo! Answers have a strong social aspect. The point is, all of these sites and thousands of others can be used to promote a brand, product or company. Social media marketing entails building a following using tactics such as gaining friend, fans or followers on various sites and communicating with them by posting relevant content. Social media marketing can actually be considered a type of content marketing.
Inbound and Outbound Marketing
These two terms are a little less familiar than the others, at least to those not well versed in the world of internet marketing. Inbound and outbound marketing are usually contrasted with one another, which is why they are being considered together.
Outbound marketing is often portrayed as old style marketing that has its roots in the pre-internet age. This type of marketing is one-way rather than interactive. That is, it is a message sent directly from the advertiser or marketer to the consumer, viewer or reader. Examples of this include TV and radio commercials, newspaper ads, cold calling and direct mail. Certain types of Internet marketing are also outbound, such as most ads.
Inbound marketing is another term that is very close in meaning to content marketing, but with a slightly different emphasis. It can mean promoting your product or business using any type of content that is potentially viral and interactive. For example, with outbound marketing the viewer or reader cannot share or respond to an ad or commercial. Whereas it is possible to share, re-send, vote on or place a comment on an article, video, social media post or blog post.
This is the broadest term of all, as it refers to any type of marketing conducted online. This can mean paid advertising, content marketing, social media marketing or marketing with articles, videos or email. Online marketing is often used interchangeably with internet marketing.
Conclusion: Learning the Terminology of the Online Marketing World
There are many terms and definitions in the world of internet marketing. Some of these overlap quite a bit, while others are more broad than others. When hearing such terms, it’s important to realize that not everyone uses them to mean exactly the same things.
For example, some people might consider video marketing separate from social media marketing, while others might group them together. As the Internet and marketing platforms continue to evolve, it’s likely that new terms will emerge. For those who want to stay on the cutting edge of these trends, it’s a good idea to keep up with the latest jargon of the industry.