Content marketing and digital marketing are among the most widely used terms in online businesses. These are often used together, and in fact, most people think these terms can be used interchangeably. Yes, one can argue that content marketing and digital marketing are similar in some sense. But it’s wrong to assume that one term can replace another in its application and implementation.
For successful implementation, it’s essential for you to understand the difference between content marketing and digital marketing. While these terms share some common base, you can decide to include only one of these techniques in the interest of budget and time.
In this guided approach, you’ll learn the crucial differences between content and digital marketing. In turn, this understanding will help you make informed decisions and realize better returns on your investment.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing technique that uses relevant, valuable, and consistent content to attract and acquire customers for the organization. Like other marketing techniques, the objective of content marketing is to influence consumers’ purchase behavior and win their loyalty in the long term.
It proposes to do so by effectively using the valuable information that facilitates the consumers by clearing their doubts, dilemmas, and inhibitions. Some examples of content marketing include blogs, case studies, whitepapers, infographics, etc. (Figure 1 given below encapsulates the entire idea of Content Marketing).
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing is an umbrella term used for promotional activities carried out by an organization online. In other words, the company’s online initiatives that are directed to make people aware of its products and services are categorized under the broad strategy of its digital marketing.
Digital marketing can take several forms and some of the well-known initiatives under this umbrella term include search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay per click advertisement, email marketing, and video marketing, among others (refer to figure 2 for details)
It is important to note that content marketing is a part of digital marketing initiatives. The persuasive push created by the former adds to the overall effectiveness of the latter. Also, please remember that it’s not mandatory to include content marketing as part of the company’s digital marketing initiatives.
It’s possible that some digital marketing initiative that is conceptualized with short- to mid-term perspectives do away with the content marketing technique. As content marketing requires a strong commitment and long-term perspective, it would be rather suitable for companies to include it only if they want to stick for long periods. Also, the final decision to include specific techniques under digital marketing initiatives depends on the objectives of the company and how many resources it has at disposal.
Difference between Content Marketing and Digital Marketing
The primary difference between content marketing and digital marketing lies in how these techniques are applied in real-world situations. While content marketing specifically uses the content to persuade the target market, digital marketing initiatives encompass a range of activities used for online promotion.
Table 1 given below summarises the differences between content marketing and digital marketing on critical dimensions including nature of activities, commitment, and scope and applications, among others:
|Scope and Application
|Nature of Activity
|Short- to Medium-Term
|Blogs, Case Studies, Infographics
|SEO, Social Media Marketing, Video Marketing
- In terms of applicability, digital marketing has a wider scope as it encompasses a range of activities that help a particular brand to apprise, aware, and inform a larger section of society about its product and services. It is not specifically targeted to achieve one particular objective but rather contributes by enhancing the visibility and awareness of the organization.
- Content marketing, on the other hand, follows a very discrete approach of persuading consumers by offering them valuable information. The primary objective that an organisation aspires to achieve through content marketing is to persuade customers to buy their products and services. Unlike digital marketing where the primary objective is to promote the product among the target audiences, content marketing cajoles buyers in the purchase direction by offering them accurate, relevant, and valuable information.
- It takes months and even sometimes years for companies to build trust and loyalty with prospective buyers through content marketing. This signifies that you should carry out the process of content marketing with the long-term perspective in mind.
- Unlike digital marketing which can help organisations to have some immediate spurt in sales, content marketing will take its sweet time to convince the target audiences and help the brand develop trust and reputation among them. This implies that content marketing warrants long term commitment on the part of the management. The same might not be the case with digital marketing as it requires constant change and modifications in the wake of rapidly evolving tastes and preferences of buyers.
After understanding the difference between digital marketing and content marketing, it is also vital for us to acknowledge that both these techniques work exceptionally well when used together holistically. Most of the times, content marketing is counted under the umbrella term of digital marketing, but given its importance in establishing trust and loyalty among consumers, special attention must be given to the field of content marketing.
In sum, it’s only when both content marketing and digital marketing are used in tandem one can reap the rich dividends in the form of increased sales, better profitability, and enhanced customer experience.
Also, check the best content marketing books.