By Joe Pulizzi published November 4, 2010 Est Read Time: 2 min

Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

I had the opportunity to present at Hubspot this week for the New England Content Strategy meetup. During the presentation (slideshare below), the group of content strategists and marketers spent over 30 minutes discussing the differences and similarities between content strategy, content marketing and inbound marketing.

You’ll see how I define each of them in the presentation, but this was offered by Kyle James at Hubspot:

“There is a TON of overlap, but each has a slightly specific mandate. Coming from a long line of southern Methodist ministers you could also probably say that Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians make a pretty good analogy. They are all Christians who follow and believe in what the Bible says, but they all ‘interpret’ the exact doctrine a little differently. The biggest difference here is that Christianity is thousands of years old. Content strategy/content marketing/inbound marketing is all of about what 5% that age.”

By the end of the conversation, here was the consensus:

“Content strategy / Content marketing / Inbound marketing…let’s all get over ourselves.  It’s pretty much all the same s**t.”

Personally, I use content strategy when I’m talking to journalists and content strategists.

I use content marketing when I’m talking to sales and marketing professionals.

I use inbound marketing when I’m talking to small businesses.

There are another 30 names for this including branded content, customer media, custom publishing and the list goes on. Frankly, we should use whatever name that resonates with a company enough that they motivated to do something about it.

Here’s my stab at what content marketing inbound strategy would look like as combination soup:

How a brand creates, delivers and governs original or curated content to attract and retain customers, positioning the brand as a credible expert and, ultimately, motivating a change in behavior.

We are indeed all media companies today and it really doesn’t matter what you call it.


Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Amazon bestselling author of Corona Marketing, Killing Marketing, Content Inc. and Epic Content Marketing, which was named a “Must-Read Business Book” by Fortune Magazine.His latest book is The Will to Die, his debut novel. He has founded three companies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and has launched dozens of events, including Content Marketing World. In 2014, he received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Content Council. His podcast series, This Old Marketing with CMI's Robert Rose, has generated millions of downloads from over 150 countries. He is also the author of The Random Newsletter, delivered to thousands every two weeks. His Foundation, The Orange Effect, delivers speech therapy and technology services to children in over 30 states. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi

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