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Content Marketing Vs. Advertising: How I Learned The Difference As A Promotions Intern

Content Marketing Vs. Advertising: How I Learned The Difference As A Promotions Intern

Friend: What’s new in your life?
Me: I’m working as an intern at a place called NowSourcing.
Friend: What’s that?
Me: It’s an Infographic design agency!
Friend: Cool! Do you design for them? (Probably secretly thinking how strange this is because I have no talent in graphic design work).
Me: No, I work in the promotions department *long awkward pause*….I work to get our infographics out in the cyber world in order to promote the company that hired us to make the infographic.
Friend: So you work in advertising!
Me: Not quite, let’s think of it as content marketing.

This isn’t how I use to end the conversation when I first started as an intern. At first I really thought advertising and marketing were the same thing, just interchangeable words. When I started working as a promotions intern for NowSourcing I thought I understood fairly well how this company worked and what part my position played in it all. I knew what infographics were and I knew what it meant to promote something, but I mistakenly thought that what this company did in part was to advertise for other companies. It did not take long after starting that I learned we were doing something very different from advertising; we were doing content marketing.

Advertising and content marketing are vastly different. They may have similar goals but the methods used to accomplish them are not the same. Advertising seeks to be ‘in your face’ and has a goal to reach the most people as possible. Content marketing seeks to put out information readily available to a specific targeted audience who will find the content helpful to them. The hope in this is to build trust by showing that the brand not only sells a good product but that they are knowledgeable in what they do first and foremost. Content marketing cares about building a relationship with an audience whereas advertising cares about getting an audience.

Advertising is about getting a message out to as many people as possible. This approach is not personal and it’s less about who the company is and why you should trust them and more about making a product look good. The hope is that as long as people are seeing this product everywhere someone will eventually buy it. Unfortunately this doesn’t work as well as some may think.

Content marketing on the other hand isn’t as direct but it is certainly more targeted. Time isn’t wasted trying to convince an audience that doesn’t need a product that they need it; instead content marketers looks for the people who would want the product but don’t yet know about it. This creates a confidence in the audience that this business is knowledgeable in whatever they are doing while building relationships upon that confidence.

During my time as a promotions intern I learned what the difference is between advertising and content marking by actually doing content marketing. Most of the hard work has already been done by the time an infographic reaches me, and I have to find that specific audience that will find this infographic interesting, helpful, and useful to them. If I did my job well I did not sell a product but rather I helped a particular audience find content that they saw as helpful and relevant.

Emilee Smith is a Promotions Intern at NowSourcing.
Learn more about content marketing.