What is the difference between branded content and content marketing?

By Rich Homer Thursday, January 11, 2018
Branded content and content marketing are both common marketing jargons that you may come across in articles, blogspots or social media. Many people mistake branded content with content marketing but they are different from each other.

Understanding these buzzwords will help you to have a clearer look at content marketing. So, let’s dive deeper to find out what are they and what they do in the marketing realm.

branded content marketing

Branded content

It’s quite hard to have a comprehensive definition for branded content, but first and foremost, it is not native advertising. Branded content is content which is created by an advertiser to connect with audience. On the other hand, native advertising is a way to distribute such a content which make the two things differ from each other in the aspect of form and function.

Unlike traditional advertising of which the objective is to convey benefits and selling points of products or services to audience, branded content’s main function is not to convey product features nor brand benefits. According to Manager Partner and Board Director of the venture capital firm Dreamit - Avi Savar, branded content is “people stories.” Indeed, it’s all about people: what they feel, how they live, which problems they are facing, and so on.

Still, the point that helps branded content beat traditional one is that it build a connection between brand and their customer as it is created to reach out to a specific group of audience and driven by storytelling and creativity. Branded content, therefore, i more attractive than traditional one.

content marketing

Content marketing

Content marketing is a strategy to build, develop and nourish the relationship between brands and their customers. The first step of this strategy is to create branded content. Content marketing includes the practice of selecting what information to communicate and what type of content to create. Towards this point, it is similar to branded content; however, the second part of a content marketing strategy is what makes it different: content distribution.

Content is only valuable when it’s distributed to the right audience. As a result, the distribution practice is perhaps even more important than content itself. Many content marketers know about the rule of 20/80: Use 20% of your resources on creating content and the 80% remaining on distributing. As every topics and types of content has its respective channel, so you need to find out what they are and put your content on the right place.

There is one principle in content distribution that you need to keep in mind: focus on the user experience! Your audience has the right to choose the content they want to see. According to research, disruptive content such as pop-ups, pre-roll videos and banners are increasingly disliked by users. As a result, when it comes to these formats, use other channels like native advertising. If you provide content which is relevant to user experience, your audience will feel comfortable with it, and they will remember as well as love your brand.


Branded content and content marketing are significantly different things. While branded content is about nurturing the relationship with customers, content marketing is about creating and distributing content. Perhaps you have heard somebody saying that “Content is King”, however, content only work effectively if it has a smart distribution strategy behind.