Content Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

Content marketing is an increasingly popular way for companies to attract their target audiences. Digital marketing, on the other hand, has been around since the early 2000s and focuses on generating traffic to websites by using different online strategies like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media Organic Postings, Social Media Paid Ads, Email Marketing, Lead Magnets, Lead Funnels, Affiliate Marketing and much more. This article discusses the differences between digital marketing and content marketing and their similarities, and where they overlap.

Table of contents

What are digital marketing and a digital marketing strategy?


Digital marketing is a form of promotion where content and messaging are delivered through digital channels. Digital marketing includes content that promotes your business, product, or service on websites, emails or social media posts, online ads (such as Google Adwords), text messages/SMS, videos viewed across multiple devices such as smartphones and TV screens.


A digital marketing strategy is a strategy that includes content creation, content promotion, and content distribution. A digital marketing strategy aims to attract visitors (“leads”), convert them into customers or clients via email or social media outbound messages, nurturing the leads until they are ready to buy your product/service.

Digital marketing tactics and digital marketing strategies


The content marketing and digital marketing world are constantly evolving. New tactics are being developed every day to help you take your content or business to the next level.


There’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding in this industry, which makes it difficult for anyone new to digital marketing to start learning about it all at once.

Below are some of the most popular digital marketing tactics.

Search Engine Marketing


Search marketing includes Search engine optimization (SEO) and paid advertisements on search Engines. It refers to the process of optimizing web pages so that they rank higher on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing for relevant keywords; this will result in more visitors (and customers) to your website or paying to be listed at the top of the search engines. Search engine marketing is synonymous with search marketing.

Social Media Marketing


Social media marketing is a strategy that uses social networking platforms (social media channels) to reach and engage with customers and prospects.


Social media marketing aims to use content – text, images, video, etc. – to attract attention and create interest in the business’s products or services, so there’s a chance for eventual conversion into leads or sales down the road.


But it’s not just about creating content then sitting back and waiting for people to find it; you must also be active on your chosen networks by responding promptly when someone leaves a comment on one of your posts, tagging other users in photos if they’re relevant to what you’re posting about, joining groups related to your industry if they exist…

Email Marketing


Email marketing is the act of sending content to a list of email addresses to increase brand awareness, generating website traffic, and encouraging people to purchase products or services. The content can be anything from text-based emails, videos, or images. Email marketing has grown in popularity over the last few years as an alternative to traditional forms of advertising such as TV commercials and radio ads.


Email marketers often use personalization techniques like segmentation and targeting to know which content will appeal most to each recipient based on their demographic profile (e.g., age, gender) and interests (e.g., sports). Moreover, email content can be adjusted depending on how recipients interact (i.e., if they click on content or do not respond).

PPC and Paid Advertising


PPC is the acronym for “pay per click” advertising. It’s one of the most effective forms of direct response online advertising and one of the most expensive. The idea behind PPC is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. If people click on your ads, you’re getting a good return on investment because it means they’re interested in what you have to offer.


Paid ads can be in the context of in-stream ads or banner/display ads. These ads are content-rich and can be used to drive people back to your website.


All forms offer you control over who sees what content.

Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate marketing is also sometimes called “performance marketing” because affiliates are typically paid a commission for each sale they generate. In essence, affiliate marketers act as salespeople who work on behalf of another company or individual instead of working for themselves. Affiliate marketers use their methodology to sell the product, content, or service.


Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of performance-based advertising that people are familiar with. It dates back to the 1800s when Charles Atlas began running ads for his bodybuilding courses in various publications whose readership was primarily of men who wanted a more attractive physique. Today, this form of marketing is still prevalent in niche categories.


Affiliate marketing can sometimes include influencer marketing, depending on whether the influencer is paid a commission or an agreed-upon fee to promote the product or service.

Marketing Automation


Marketing automation is a game-changer for content marketing and digital marketing.


Marketing Automation uses software that helps you manage your content, automate tasks, and measure results. It’s great for content marketers because it allows you to publish posts automatically according to the schedule and track digital marketing data like engagement with each post to tell whether or not your audience likes what they see (or if they’re not paying attention). It means you how content is performing overall.


Digital marketing also makes use of marketing automation. Online marketers can automate content promotion, content distribution, and social media marketing. Digital marketers can even automate the content creation process by using tools like Canva.


Marketing automation is a content marketer’s best friend if they’re looking to get ahead in their business and keep up with the competition.

SMS Marketing


SMS or text messages can be a powerful content marketing tool for your business. SMS content can be used to provide all types of content such as:


  • news and updates (i.e., promotions, new products)
  • reminders (i.e., appointments, payments due dates)
  • loyalty rewards/reminders or coupons/offers


SMS is a great way to build customer relations, and you can use content marketing to increase response rates.

Digital marketing campaigns


A digital marketing campaign is just an overall approach that includes content production, promotion (including paid), and analysis/measurement to reach your audience through content to generate brand awareness, thought leadership, or sales.


These campaigns use the content you’ve already created as a starting point for planning specific tactics like search engine optimization (SEO), content promotion, social media content creation, and paid content promotion.


For example, if your content strategy is to produce a monthly blog post (content), you might include other content types like an infographic or video series that complement the topic. Then promoting this additional content through search engine optimization (SEO), sharing on social media, content promotion websites like the or Reddit (paid), etc., will help drive traffic back to your blog post and generate sales leads.


A marketing campaign considers content as part of an overall business strategy rather than just individual content pieces. Digital marketers encourage you to look at the big picture when it comes to content marketing.

Digital marketing agency


A digital marketing agency or digital agency is a business that employs people who are knowledgeable about online marketing and digital market efforts to provide those services to general or niche-specific businesses. The agency will use online marketing tactics and do digital marketing work on your behalf.

What is content marketing?


Content marketing focuses on creating content that attracts people through search engines like Google or social networks while building a relationship with them over time by providing consistent value. It helps companies increase their brand awareness online while establishing trust, authority, and expertise in their industry.


The traditional definition of content marketing was “inbound marketing,” which focuses on creating content to attract people through search engines like Google and social networks.

Content marketing strategies

Content marketing strategies include content planning, content creation, and content promotion. Understanding these content marketing strategies is essential to plan a successful content marketing strategy for your organization or brand.


Content planning

Content planning includes identifying the target audience, key messages, and content themes relevant to your industry/niche market.


Content creation

Content creation includes content writing, photography/video production, infographics & other visual content.


Content promotion

Content marketing strategies also encompass content promotion, including social media sharing and blogging.

The best content marketers can identify gaps in the content marketplace for their target audience or niche market because it is vital that you create content specifically for your target audience and not content for everyone. Content marketing strategies may also include content curation to identify relevant content in your industry/niche market online, which you can share to benefit both the content creator and yourself.

Content marketing formats


Content marketing comes in three formats: written, video, and audio.


Written content formats include:


– blog posts (e.g., this post)

– eBooks, white papers, and other long-form content (4000+ words)

– webinars/teleseminars/video seminars; live events streamed online or offline to allow for Q&A sessions with speakers or experts in the field.


Video content formats include:


– social videos (e.g., Facebook live, Instagram stories)

– webinars/teleseminars/video seminars; live events streamed online or offline to allow for Q&A sessions with speakers or experts in the field.


Audio content formats include:


-Podcasts (e.g., This American Life, any of the content hosted by NPR)

– AM/FM radio shows (the content that is recorded and broadcast on-air at a particular time

Does content marketing come under digital marketing?


Content marketing is a form of digital marketing that can be included in digital marketing. Digital marketing promotes and advertising activities through online mediums like a search engines, social media platforms, etc. At the same time, content marketing focuses on creating valuable content for users/customers to build their trust over time and thus create a relationship with them.


Content marketing mainly focuses on content creation and content distribution, while digital marketing primarily focuses on content promotion.

What is better digital marketing or content writing?

This is the question that every content writer has asked at some point. Many believe content marketing to be a lot better than digital marketing. In contrast, others think the opposite and consider content writing as inferior to digital marketing. The answer to this will vary based on the intent of the marketing campaigns, the created collateral, and the use cases for the content.   Content marketing can, in some cases, be better than digital marketing because content writing generally has a longer shelf life. Some content can be published and used for years to come without any negative impact on its value or effectiveness. Digital content, however, loses its luster quickly due to changing trends and preferences among users, i.e., internet users get bored of content quickly and move on to the following content.   With that being said, digital marketing can have the benefit of providing more immediate results. Digital content is quickly consumed, and ads can lead users directly to actionable forms/purchase funnels. Digital content can be better than content writing for direct response campaigns with fixed time frames to achieve results, i.e., sale of a product or service, subscription sign-ups, etc.   However, even with direct response campaigns, quality content writing has the benefit of providing more in-depth information and conversion potential. The caveat is that content marketing also requires a lot more thought to create content that will add value for readers rather than just selling them something or convincing them to take action, i.e., call us now!   In general, content writing is much better when the content is used for branding and awareness purposes. Writing content that educates leads about a product, service, or industry, in general, will bring a higher value than content written with the intent to sell something. The answer becomes clear; content writing can be better than digital marketing, depending on the campaign’s objective. Digital marketing should not be wholly rejected out of hand, and content writing is not inherently superior to digital marketing. Digital content has its place in the world. Still, content marketing can be better when it is used for specific campaigns or when long-term value generation is desired rather than immediate results.

What is the difference between marketing and content marketing?

Marketing is a broad term that describes anything from content marketing to product development and even financial management. Content Marketing deals with your company’s website content created specifically for search engines and to educate customers. Digital Marketing goes one step further by including social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter to promote content sharing among users.

Is content marketing always digital?

Content marketing does not have to be in a digital format. Many content marketers might argue that content marketing is in a digital form. Content could be shared through print media, though. Content that has been created for the web and online platforms does explicitly not necessarily lose its value when shared offline. Content marketers should therefore focus on content that can be used across multiple channels. Content does not have to always be in a digital format. Still, it needs to adapt and evolve with the changes in consumers’ behavior which are going increasingly mobile or looking for content specifically tailored for their device of choice. This means content needs to go beyond text, images, and video content. Content needs to be highly engaging and interactive on the mobile platform (apps, widgets) or content that you can read quickly on a mobile device like eBooks, etc. Formating content for online mediums will often result in cross-compatibility when also sharing that content in printed formats. We should stress that it is essential to get your content noticed, as the goal of content is either to drive actionable results or educate consumers.

Content Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: Which one should you choose?

The type of marketing you should choose will vary depending on your goals, particular target audience, and marketing budget. As we mentioned earlier, content marketing is a strategy that focuses on content creation to build your brand. Digital Marketing, however, includes content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), Paid Ads, Email Campaigns, and a more holistic approach to directing consumer behavior.