For any marketer, particularly those who focus on digital marketing, it’s highly likely you’ll already be familiar with the terms “community marketing” and “content marketing”.
They’re two, separate marketing strategies that are often referred to interchangeably. The line sometimes seems blurred between them due to their shared goal of adding value to the customer experience, often both targeting communities with valuable content.
With the number of different approaches to marketing and the seemingly endless strategies that can be used (product, customer, developer, and more), it’s no wonder that there is some confusion and a lack of distinction between these two. Hey, they even sound similar, right?
But in order to achieve the best results from both strategies, it’s important to recognize exactly what makes them both unique, as well as what unites them.
In this article, we’re going to define the differences between content marketing and community marketing, as well as establish a number of ways in which both teams can collaborate to create the best possible marketing output - together.
- What is content marketing?
- What is community marketing?
- Five main differences between content marketing and community marketing
- Six ways both teams can work together
Let’s get into it. 🔥
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategy that focuses on creating and distributing content that is designed to achieve specific business objectives.
These objectives could include driving website traffic or increasing brand awareness. Ultimately, the goal tends to be about generating leads, sales, and revenue.
The content that is created is designed to educate, inform and engage the intended audience, and, as a result, establishes the company or brand behind the content as a trusted source of information.
As for the types of content created, there are a lot of different ways it can be delivered, such as articles, reports, e-books, videos, podcasts, social media posts, whitepapers, webinars, and more. A key factor is that the content marketing team behind the content should understand the audience they’re trying to reach, the channels they prefer to receive their content in, and what they’re hoping to achieve or learn from the content.
In order to achieve this, content marketers will often set up an editorial calendar to outline what topics they will be covering, and what type of content they’ll produce. They’ll most likely use customer insights and keyword research in order to understand what the customer hopes to see, as well as to understand what forms of content will be best received.
What is community marketing?
In a previous article, we looked at defining the differences between community marketing and customer success. There, we defined community marketing as follows:
“Community marketing, or community-led growth, is a strategy that centers on fostering a community of individuals who have an interest in a specific brand, product, or service.
“This approach aims to strengthen customer loyalty and the sense of belonging by engaging with the community through platforms like forums, social media, and community platforms.
“The objective is to create an exceptional customer experience by providing a platform for them to interact with one another and come together over shared interests in the brand or product.
“The ultimate goal is to convert customers into brand advocates who can promote the brand to others, thus driving customer acquisition and retention.”
5 main differences between content marketing and community marketing
While there will always be room for overlap in the way both content marketers and community managers operate, the day-to-day of each role, and the way they prove or measure success varies.
Here are five main differences between the two strategies:
Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage a target audience, while community marketing focuses on building a community of customers or users around a brand, service, or product - often looking to provide this for existing customers as a priority.
Content marketing aims to create content that can educate and inform while positioning the brand or organization as a trusted authority on its chosen topic. Through this, the hope is to generate sales, grow website traffic and build brand awareness.
Community marketing aims to build customer loyalty, increase brand value and provide a sense of belonging that can translate into creating brand advocates who will go out and spread the word about the organization, product, or service on their own.
Content marketing involves creating various types of content such as articles, videos, reports, and more, which can then be shared across a number of platforms to increase reach.
Community marketing focuses on engaging with customers in a more conversational way on community platforms, forums, and social media. For example, answering questions from customers in a chosen community space.
The metrics for content marketing will often include website traffic, post engagement, and conversions, while the metrics for community marketing will include customer engagement, loyalty, and advocacy.
Content marketing is distributed through multiple channels to reach the target audience and expand reach, while community marketing focuses on building and maintaining a specific community in one or a few channels.
Content marketing aims to establish trust and authority while generating leads or sales, while community marketing aims to foster a sense of belonging, customer loyalty, and advocacy. For example, a Content Marketer would hope that an article they’ve written can teach their audience something new, as well as give them a reason to come back and read the next article.
In contrast, a Community Manager would hope that providing a space for their community members to come together and connect would increase their feeling of belonging with a brand, product, or service - and even encourage them to spread the word to other potential members.
6 ways Community Managers and Content Marketers can work together
While the work of a Community Manager and Content Marketer can present very differently in practice, the quality of the output on both ends can be markedly improved if both teams can collaborate effectively and work together.
For example, a Content Marketer could do their own research to see what their desired audience wants to know and create a great piece of work with that.
However, with the added insight of anecdotal evidence, or real-time customer feedback that a Community Manager will receive, they can create a much more well-rounded, unique piece of content that can be delivered across multiple channels, as well as within the community itself.
This would increase engagement and website traffic for the content marketer, plus it adds even more value to what the community marketer has built, resulting in more engaged community members.
Here are six ways Community Managers and Content Marketers can work together to improve their own and each other's output:
Define common goals
Community marketing and content marketing teams can and should come together to discuss their respective objectives, to ensure their efforts aren’t conflicting, can support each other, and achieve the overall goals of their organization.
If both teams are hoping to achieve higher levels of engagement, it makes sense to touch base on each other’s plans and outline areas for potential collaboration. For example, if a Content Marketer has a survey coming up that needs responses, highlighting this with a Community Manager and asking for help in reaching more people can achieve a much better result, than if a Content Marketer were to try to tackle it alone.
Collaborate on content creation
There are a number of ways in which Content Marketers and Community Managers can collaborate when it comes to content creation. Community Managers will have access to 24/7 feedback and insights from their community, and keeping their content marketing team in the loop can ensure that the content they create will resonate with the audience.
Community Managers can promote content created by content marketers within the community. If they’ve made an infographic that’s relevant and useful for the community, sharing it will not only benefit community members, but it can help increase engagement and even drive traffic back to the right channels.
Likewise, Content Marketers can help to create engaging content that can better promote community activity. If a community manager is running an event, the promotion can be amplified by a supporting blog post or some engaging video content that a content marketer can produce.
Engage in community building
Content Marketers and Community Managers can participate together in activities that build and strengthen the community, such as hosting webinars, creating forums, and organizing events.
Even if it’s as little as keeping each other up to date on what plans are for community activity, it means that there is always room for idea-sharing and collaboration that can help to boost the community-building process.
Joint metrics tracking
Both teams should already be tracking their own metrics, of course. But for metrics those teams have in common, such as engagement, conversion, and loyalty, it can be valuable to check in on how each team is performing individually, as well as continually measure the success of their joint efforts and make improvements where necessary.
Regular communication between content marketers and community managers is an absolute must. It helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards common goals, plus it opens up the floor for potential collaboration opportunities.
Let’s sum up
While Content Marketing and community marketing are ultimately two different kinds of strategies, they can be unstoppable when put together and both teams collaborate.
Ultimately, both strategies strive to provide customers with the best experience - be it through teaching them something new in content marketing or providing a space to ask questions with community marketing.
The best result from each strategy comes from working together to understand what makes each team different, as well as what unites them so that they can help each other out for the best possible customer experience.
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