Content or Community Marketing?

What is the difference between content marketing and community marketing? This question has been coming up frequently of late. Therefore, it is worth exploring in some detail.

Both areas have the aim of engaging a target audience or ‘community’. While there is an amount of cross over in this sense, they are two different branches of marketing.

Content marketing…

…is focused on creating, publishing and distributing content. For example, brands might produce free magazines or leaflets. In turn, these publications might contain valuable content that is provided for free in order to attract prospects. The aim of providing valuable content for free is to turn those prospects into customers. This type of content also helps to keep existing customers engaged with products or services and, as a result, encourages customer loyalty.

The content can be hard copy or digital copy. The latter is known as ‘digital content marketing’ or simply, ‘digital marketing’.

Community Marketing…

…is different. While it has a similar aim in so far as it wants to engage a community, this type of marketing focuses on the perceived needs of existing customers. It is, in fact, a strategy that relies on active, non-intrusive prospect and customer conversations.

Community marketing comes in two forms:

  • Word of mouth recommendation (Organic marketing) – this does not require advertising on the part of the company. It relies on customers talking about their experience with the company.
  • Sponsored Community Marketing – a company can promote itself by investments in the local community, improvement initiatives or by improving corporate social responsibility. This generates prospects and gets them talking about the company.

The point is to do the following:

  • Connect existing customers with prospects
  • Connect prospects with each other
  • Connect a company with customer and prospects to solidify customer loyalty
  • Connect customers with customers to improve product adoption and satisfaction

 

Like content marketing, some community marketing does take place on digital platforms such as social media. However, it is generally not as a result of content or advertising by the company or brand. Rather, it comes about when a customer shares a photo or post which talks about a purchase or service they have recently bought or encountered.