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Content Marketing vs. Advertising – What’s the Difference?

Written by: Wade Cockfield

Content marketing can be easily misrepresented as advertising and vice versa. Whilst both share the same purpose of promoting brand awareness, it’s worth to note that there’s actually a fine line between the two and that the goals are different.

Business and consumers alike are continuously looking for ways to improve the quality of life and efficiency of their business. In order to comply effectively with this demand, marketing strategies are consistently redeveloped.

Despite the dominance of traditional advertising, marketing experts and analysts found that content marketing has a  better overall return on investment and that it’s still the King in the digital world.

However, traditional advertising is still a force to reckon with. While content is promising when it comes to organic and wider reach, advertising wins when it comes to scale and predictability.

Now, let’s tackle the different facades between the two.  Let’s start with the world of Advertising.

The Old Fashion Way


For starters, advertising is defined as the activity or profession of producing information for promoting commercial products and services.

The basis for all advertising is very simple – awareness. Companies invest on awareness heavily for very specific reasons and they are the visibility of your brand across different social status and demographics, the perception of people towards your product and of course, the sales generated. All of these relate to awareness.

Advertising is tailored upon how it is projected to consumers. Commonly, it works on motivation to save money, but of course, it’s not all about the sale. If that’s the only motivation there is, then it won’t work for the majority. Research, responsibility, vicinity, persuasion and emotional engagements are just some of the winning factors that make advertising a success.

Like many other marketing strategies,  advertising is a long-term approach and is also associated with some risks.

The New Trend

Content marketing by definition is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract and acquire a particular group of audience.

Whilst advertising is more on awareness, content marketing is all about conversions. The number one for content marketing is the number of leads it generates.

This method allows the consumer and the brand to stand on equal footing. Thus, encouraging the brand to elevate the quality of their content. Pretentious and mediocre brand projections no longer appeal to consumers in this generation, especially millennials because they can actually compare and do research.

The reviews and merits that will be generated will be based on the actual response of the consumers who tried the service or products. When this happens, there will be equality of brand and the content consumers.  If this is properly executed, the return of investment will be phenomenal.

Infographics, videos, podcasts, books and web pages are some of the popular forms of content marketing.


Those are the differences between content marketing and traditional advertising. Regardless of what you prefer, both have their advantages and disadvantages. The common goal of both is to promote a brand to the consumers.

Author Bio:
Wade Cockfield is an SEO Consultant based in Melbourne, Australia. He founded Wade Cockfield Executive SEO Company that offers effective content strategies to different companies. He likes to share his wisdom on SEO and digital marketing to his avid readers. He loves to read about politics, sports, trends in technology and current events in his spare time.

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Andre Bourque (@SocialMktgFella) is a cannabis industry media influencer, brand executive and advisor, blockchain marketer, and cannabis columnist. He specializes in cannabis industry partnerships, distribution, and funding. He is a ranked social media marketing and content strategist.

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