Digital Marketing vs. Content Marketing: What You Need to Know

Digital Marketing vs. Content Marketing: What You Need to Know

Modern marketing has undergone an evolution, and you’ve most likely come across common terminologies such as “digital marketing” and “content marketing.” Businesses use both types to share news, products and stories, and to promote their brand and engage with their audience. These marketing strategies often intermingle, and it can be confusing to know what the differences are between the two.

In this article, I’ll breakdown the components of both content marketing and digital marketing.

Digital Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Websites, blogging, and social media advertising are all part of digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

The introduction of the personal computer ushered us into the digital age. More than four decades later, we have a plethora of digital devices at our fingertips. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that digital marketing covers a wide range of tools and tactics designed to create brand awareness and name recognition for brands.

Digital marketing includes:

  1. Websites
  2. Blogging
  3. Guest Blogging
  4. Search Engine Optimization
  5. Search Engine Marketing
  6. Social Media Marketing
  7. Social Media Advertising
  8. Other Online Advertising
  9. Email Marketing
  10. Video Marketing
  11. Influencer Marketing
  12. Infographic Creation & Promotion
  13. Podcasting
  14. Webinars
Blog flow chart.
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Blogs can increase inbound marketing and SEO.

Websites, Blogging and SEO

Websites are one of the most popular ways to showcase products or services and create brand awareness for your target audience. For the consumer, a website is a vital source of information and helps them make decisions about purchasing your products and services; it also provides pertinent information or reviews.

A blog is a collection of written articles about products, services and other helpful and interesting information that’s related to your business; it is part of many websites. Blog articles are usually conversational in style, informative, and can describe a service, experience, or share tips, tricks and other insights. Both B2C and B2B marketing use blogging, and in Hubspot’s Marketing Statistics for 2018, research showed that 55% of marketers defined blogging as their most important inbound marketing channel.

Blogging can help a brand establish a successful digital marketing campaign in several ways. One of the long-term benefits is that it creates more written materials to support a brand, product or service. In return, this creates more indexed pages on a company’s website. Together, they boost visibility for search engine optimization, also known as SEO.

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SEO driven websites provide more data for search engines.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, use an algorithm to sort through all the information on the web. SEO helps them find and show the most relevant information on the searched topic. Websites that are SEO driven contain blogs or pages with researched keywords, titles with

keywords, links to relevant websites with high domain authorities, optimized pages for quick loading, and social sharing buttons.

Another tremendous benefit to blogging regularly is that it will help establish the principal(s) in your company as a thought leader. By sharing your expertise, you and your business can become the go-to resources for people seeking information in the subject areas you specialize in.

Guest blogging is another digital marketing method and benefits the owner of the blog as well as the guest blogger. As an example, a business might have the goal to increase their website traffic through blogging. Featuring an article by a guest blogger with expertise in a relevant area related to your organization gives the company’s target audience another resource to read, adding value and assisting the customer’s decision-making process. On the flip side, the guest blogger whose article appears on your company blog has a platform to share their skills or knowledge, and attract new followers.

Many companies will approach other blogs that write about industry-related topics and see if they can author an original post on that website. It’s another excellent way to gain visibility and also provides a backlink to your company website, which is great for your business’ search engine optimization.

Words for Search Engine Marketing.
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Search Engine Marketing uses targeted keywords on search engines like Google and Bing.

Search Engine Marketing

In addition to providing organic search results, search engines offer paid advertising called search engine marketing, or SEM. This advertising uses targeted keywords, and when a user inputs a search term into Google, Yahoo or Bing they will be usually be shown a relevant ad at the top of the results. Most online ads work on a pay-per-click basis, which means the advertiser is charged every time someone clicks on their advertisement.

Social Media Marketing

Wordstream states that social media marketing “Involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals.”

This type of digital marketing encompasses all the ways you can create social media campaigns with organic posts, images and videos on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The keys to success when it comes to organic (free) social media marketing include:

  • Posting a wide variety of content (graphics, videos, articles, memes, quotes, etc.) designed to appeal to your target audience
  • Following the 80/20 Rule (only posting 20% self-promotional content; the other 80%, designed to arouse interest, can be related to your company’s industry)
  • Posting consistently at optimal times of day
  • Posting frequently as appropriate per platform
  • Using hashtags strategically and as per best practices for each platform
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When advertising on social media, choose a platform based on your target audience.

Social Media Advertising

Besides organic posting options which are free, all the social media platforms have pay-per-click advertising options to fit a wide range of budgets, along with opportunities to boost content to further your company’s reach. They’re an incredibly valuable tactic to include in your digital marketing strategy.

Social media advertising specifically refers to paid ads posted on social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. The platform chosen is based on the advertiser’s target audience.

Regardless of the chosen platform, the elements of a successful campaign include a strategy with a specific goal or mission, a researched target audience and appealing content. Once a campaign kicks off, reviewing the data and making adjustments to the ad creative and/or targeting will help keep a campaign on track.

The cost of search engine marketing and social media advertising varies by platform, and price models are based on the action the user takes. Common terms related to these digital marketing tactics are:

  • PPC – Pay Per Click
  • PPV – Pay Per View
  • CPV – Cost Per View
  • CPA – Cost Per Action
  • PPA – Pay Per Action
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While creating your digital marketing campaign review your audience demographics to refine your strategy.

Most social media platforms have specific requirements for the ad creative in regards to size of graphics, length of videos and text that can be included. When preparing to create an ad campaign, it’s important to not only keep these things in mind, but also consider where people who click on your ads will be directed. It’s strongly recommended that you create a unique, compelling landing page that includes information specifically related to your ad, as well as strong calls to action (CTAs).

Before you run your ads, it’s important to make sure your targeting is spot on. Targeting options vary from platform to platform, but they can include a wide range of demographics to choose from including age, gender, household income, geographic location, lifestyle factors, job titles and much more.

Depending on the platform you’re using, there may also be options like using a customer list to reach them with your ads, retargeting those that visited your website or focusing on users similar to those that already follow and engage with your brand.

Email, Video and Influencer Marketing

Research shows that email marketing is consistently one of the top choices for digital marketing and has a higher ROI when compared to other platforms. Why? An email list consists of subscribers who have signed up to receive news about your brand, service or product. MailChimp and Constant Contact are popular customer relationship management systems, and email marketing on those platforms is free or low-cost until a certain number of subscribers are reached, at which point the fees increase.

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Video and influencer marketing can significantly drive traffic to your website.

Video marketing is another useful tool and, “One study shows that potential customers are 85% more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.” Users are very responsive to videos on multiple social media platforms. The most popular video platform is YouTube, which has more than a billion users and is actually the second most popular search engine right behind Google. Plus, “More than 500 million hours of videos are watched” each day. One of the keys to creating a successful video marketing campaign is to stay authentic to your brand and use SEO keywords.

Influencer marketing is a collaborative digital marketing style between the business or a brand and a person who has a strong connection to their target audience, hence an influencer. Instead of paying for advertising the influencer is paid to share an honest review of a product, service or destination. Followers trust their influencer, and the information they share can drive traffic to a business’ website.

Infographics, Podcasting and Webinars

Visuals can boost post engagement ‒ producing a 650% higher engagement rate, according to Inc. An infographic takes data and statistics and conveys them in a visually digestible format. Infographics can be shared on social media as well as in blog articles or elsewhere on a company’s website.

Podcasting allows businesses or brands to share content through digital audio files. An advantage of creating a podcast is that your audience can listen at a time of their choosing, and with devices like iPods and MP3 players they can tune in on the go. There are several ways to produce podcasts including various apps like Chirp, available in the Apple app store, or on internet hosting networks.

Webinars share educational content or expertise in a live streaming video that may include slideshow presentations and guest speakers. Viewers can sign in from anywhere in the world, and during the lecture, there are opportunities to interact with the host and ask questions.

Content Marketing text with symbols.
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Content marketing focuses on creating content for a particular audience.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing fits under the umbrella of digital marketing, but it is different in that it refers to creating specific types of content to reach a particular target audience. The types of content you create can include blog articles, social media posts, graphics, podcasts and videos.

Before you go through the process of developing content, be sure to create a strategy using best practices. This includes defining and staying authentic to your brand’s voice, developing an editorial calendar, researching keywords and hashtags, learning to write for SEO, creating backlinks to your website and more.

Analyze Your Content & Digital Marketing Data

Whether you are using digital marketing or a more strategic content marketing tactic, it is crucial to analyze your metrics and make adjustments as needed. Without this step, you will never know what strategies are working.

Content or Digital Marketing: Which is Best For Your Business?

Determining what digital marketing and/or content marketing strategy and tactics are best for your business and your budget can be a challenge. If you need assistance, we love helping clients to build on their goals to create brand awareness through blogging, social media, emailing marketing and more!

Written by Lara Dunning for Business2Community and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by Campaign Creators

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