Defining the Difference Between Content Marketing and Community Marketing

Content marketing. Community marketing. Online advertising. Search engine optimization.

If you are in any way involved in internet marketing, you have probably heard all of these terms, and you’ve maybe used some of these terms almost interchangeably.

If you are new to internet marketing, that isn’t really a problem, since basic internet marketing generally blends the concepts. However, once you reach a certain point, you need a stronger understanding of the various concepts.

For today, let’s talk about the difference between content marketing and community marketing.

  • Content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves the creation and sharing of online media in order to acquire and maintain customers.
  • Community marketing is a marketing strategy that involves interacting with your customer community in ways that encourage the community to naturally market your brand.

While both strategies may involve the creation of online media, the purpose of the content marketing is to build customer loyalty, while the purpose of the community marketing is to both reward customer loyalty and reap the rewards of customer loyalty.

It is important to note that both types of marketing differ from more direct advertising in that neither is designed to directly create sales (though indirect sales are usually expected).

Examining the Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of the two styles of marketing primarily come down to one big difference: content marketing focuses primarily on building a costumer base while community marketing focuses primarily on interacting with that base.

Because the user base already exists, a community marketing doesn’t necessarily need to rely on good SEO. Unfortunately, this benefit also has a negative side effect. When a person searches for content and chooses to interact with it, that person has usually been fully engaged.

When content is directed at a person, as per community marketing, engagement is much less likely. Effectively, a brand needs to work harder to maintain brand engagement through community marketing.

Judging engagement is also different for content marketing and community marketing.

For content marketing, there are a number of criteria that can indicate successful engagement, including time spent browsing a web page, number of pages a person visits, whether a person chooses to join the brand community in some way (Facebook page, forums, etc.), or simply if the person makes a purchase.

Community marketing, content marketing

For community marketing, interaction is the main way to judge engagement, but that can be difficult to judge. A simple post count (for comments or forum posts) doesn’t always paint the full picture and lurkers (people who never or rarely post) are even harder to judge. Judging community marketing success often requires an occasional direct survey.

As for how you can get those inactive readers to actually post something, that is a thought for another day.

Customers Equal Sales

The simple truth is that more customers equals more sales. Both content marketing and community marketing understand this truth, focusing, respectively, on creating customers and interacting with customers.

Both forms of internet marketing are long-term strategies that work best when combined with short term strategies like direct advertising.


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Helping manage over 15,000 clients from over 80 countries, Nissa works with the customer success team at Crowd Content. Her goal is to help clients create unique and relevant content for their digital strategy. Originally from a small town in the mountains, Nissa moved to Vancouver Island to satisfy her curiosity about sociology, and complete her degree in it. When she takes a break from clients and content, Nissa spends time with her partner and her dog, Tickle. She also loves to embroider, paint and draw.

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