Digital Marketing

Content Marketing vs Digital Marketing

A lot of people don’t recognize the differences between content marketing and digital marketing. Making things even more confusing, these two terms are often used interchangeably.

While there are some similarities between them, content and digital marketing refer to two different processes. Better Marketing Hub explains these terms and their relationship by defining content marketing as a vehicle for digital marketing. 

In this article, we discuss content marketing vs digital marketing and how B2C companies can profit from both approaches.

What Is Digital Marketing? 

Most people think that digital marketing refers to promotional activities on the internet. However, this phrase can also be used for processes within traditional advertising. 

In the modern sense, digital marketing techniques refer to the processes we use for web advertising. The term includes varied approaches:

  • SEO or search engine optimization
  • SMM or social media marketing
  • PPC or pay-per-click
  • Other paid promotions
  • Website creation and optimization
  • Creation of various types of content (blog posts, infographics, videos, images)
  • Email marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

Every content marketing specialist will have his own categorization for these examples. Some of them are interchangeable or used as means for pushing other types of marketing. 

For example, creation of online content can be categorized as content marketing but also as an activity utilized for search engine optimization. Influencer marketing is usually regarded as a part of social media marketing. 

How Do You Use Digital Marketing

How Do You Use Digital Marketing? 

Basically, whenever you try to promote a brand on the web, it will be regarded as some type of digital marketing. Given that nowadays all business is done online, the process will be crucial for company growth regardless of its size or industry.

As something you need to do anyway, the only question is how to use digital marketing efficiently. Every marketer will have his own approach, usually based on personal skills or preferences. Depending on industry or product, some methods will yield better results.

During a digital marketing campaign, you can use various tools. But, in order to maximize your digital marketing efforts, the main trick is to stay focused. Creating a good marketing mix can go a long way, but only if you execute it properly.

Newbie marketers tend to overstretch as they try to increase online presence. Once their efforts hit a wall, since they’re not dedicated to a few platforms, they will switch to other channels and try to do everything all over again.

If you wish to achieve continued growth, it’s very important to create a marketing plan that you can execute. In fact, choosing the proper digital marketing strategy is the most important thing for a company’s long-term success. 

Most Common Digital Marketing Services

Nowadays, major companies usually rely on SEO, SMM, and PPC to promote their brands. These processes are best for scaling, and they can allow you to reach a massive global audience.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search engine optimization helps you reach the top position in Google for specific keywords. 

In a nutshell, this process usually comes down to creating blog posts and getting hyperlinks to your website. A digital marketing agency should also optimize your site upon its creation and perform regular audits to remove potential errors.

While the process is called search engine optimization, it usually refers to Google optimization given that this is the most important search engine in the world. There are more than 200 factors that Google uses to assess the power of a website as well as a page, but the main focus is usually on just a few of them.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

Unlike SEO, which provides organic traffic, PPC brings paid traffic. 

This process delivers instant results and it is especially great for companies that have a lot of money to invest. You can efficiently combine it with SEO and SMM. For example, while you wait for SEO results to kick in, you can make money by investing in PPC.

During the process, a PPC expert will bid for a specific keyword. If they win, the company’s ad will be presented at the top of a specific Google page (above organic, SEO results). The business will only pay for the click, not the ad itself. Still, that doesn’t mean that all these leads will convert.

SMM (Social Media Marketing)

This term is used to refer to your organic social media marketing activities. 

The main reason why brands create social media accounts is to increase their visibility and brand awareness, and to create a direct line of communication with a loyal audience.

While your brand is still bound to a third-party provider, like with Google, you have much more control over the process. SMM is amazing for scaling as your subscriber count rarely goes down. You’re also not that dependent on algorithm updates.

However, people usually utilize these platforms for fun. While they might be your potential customers, they’re not as highly converting as the audience that comes from Google. 

What Is Content Marketing? 

One of the main content marketing goals is to create relevant content that will turn leads into customers.

However, high-quality content can also help your brand awareness efforts. A good piece of content can transcend one platform and might be reused throughout several social media channels. By creating viral posts, you can reach not only your target audience, but everyone else who sees this content piece. 

When creating a content marketing strategy, you should first find your ideal digital channels. Creating social media posts on platforms that your potential customers don’t use won’t deliver the desired effect. Using email marketing in a niche that has a low response rate will be a waste of resources.

Here are various types of marketing content that you can use for your content strategy:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Infographics
  • White papers
  • User-generated content 
  • eBooks
  • Social media posts
  • Content on website

In order for a brand to reach its business goals, they need consistent content marketing. Like previously mentioned, switching your formula too often can alienate users and stifle your content marketing efforts. 

How Should You Use Content Marketing? 

Digital marketers can use every form of content to attract potential clients to their brand. A content marketing team will use these pieces of information to provide solutions to burning questions. As they attract more and more visitors through organic search traffic in Google and on social platforms, this will increase the likelihood of conversion.

On the surface, content should help the audience with their issues. However, its main purpose is to actually drive traffic to the website and into your marketing funnel.

Content marketing is the basic tool of online inbound marketing. It can be used for various digital marketing tactics such as SEO, PPC, SMM, email marketing. In fact, content is at the heart of all these processes.

You can use these processes to increase social media presence, boost your search engine marketing, interact with clients in real time, convert the potential customer base, increase brand awareness, turn random visitors into a loyal audience, and fulfil other marketing objectives.

Content Marketing

Most Common Content Marketing Services

Depending on how you use it, content marketing can help you accomplish a lot of different goals. In most cases, these pieces of content are used for your SEO and SMM efforts. Usually, your optimal content type will vary based on the platform.

Blog posts

Blog posts have always been the backbone of internet marketing. They’re the best solution for almost any type of website. Although, nowadays, Google relies more and more on YouTube videos, the majority of results will be in the form of written blog content.

By creating informative articles, you can solve people’s problems but also drive them to your website pages. There, you can convert them into customers. Articles are crucial for search engine optimization. You might use some short written forms for social media, but they’re not ideal.


As mentioned, there are more and more video results in Google’s search engine.

Depending on your industry, videos might be the optimal form of content. They’re especially important for the entertainment industry where there’s something to show in video form. This type of content is also great for creating How-To and DIY posts.

When you start investing in videos, you will have to post them on a platform such as YouTube. Then, you will be able to embed them on your website pages. Video content creation is effective for YouTube and the website, but you can also use it, to some extent, for Instagram and Facebook.


Images are another form of content that works well for both SMM and SEO.

Having great images will do wonders for website user experience and will help other efforts. While these images help you rank in Google for images, they are not ideal for search engine optimization. But they can have a small impact on everything that you do. 

Needless to say, they’re perfect for Instagram, and you can also use them for Twitter and Facebook.

What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing vs Digital Marketing? 

Short answer: if digital marketing refers to processes, content marketing is used for tools. 

Every digital marketing team will need content marketing professionals, but content marketers don’t necessarily need a digital marketing agency behind them. The key difference between the two is complexity. While the first process encompasses so many things, content marketing is simply used to boost these processes. 

For almost all online marketing tactics, you’ll need writers, video producers, graphic designers, and other creators. But a digital team will also employ various SEO experts, PPC gurus, SMM professionals, influencers, email specialists, etc. These marketing roles can be divided into technical (for digital advertising) and creative (for content advertising). 

Given that digital marketing is more inclusive, and that you usually have to pay a content marketing team as well, its costs will also be higher. Sometimes, there will be no point in hiring a content team if you don’t also have digital experts behind them. 

The Pros and Cons of These Marketing Techniques

Here are some benefits and drawbacks of hiring a digital marketing agency compared to hiring content marketers:

Digital advertising pros

  • It can be used for any type of promotion and it involves all the promotional processes your brand will ever need on the internet. 
  • If a company is well-versed in various advertising methods, you will never hire another marketing team.
  • You can modify your digital tactics at any time, adding new processes or cutting old ones.
  • This form of promotion is very versatile and allows you to mitigate risks. If you invest in both PPC and SEO campaigns, you can instantly generate sales with PPC, while SEO serves as a slow, brand building tool. 
  • If you wish to create a marketing mix, you won’t be able to rely on content marketing alone. Instead, you’ll need digital marketing specialists that are able to do a lot of different stuff.
  • Almost all digital agencies also provide content services, so you get both at the price of one.

Digital advertising cons

  • Digital processes can burden your marketing budget. The price of this service can be exponentially higher compared to content marketing, and it might not be worth that price.
  • If a company is offering too many services, this can be a bad sign. Among others, it means they’re not good in some of the methods, or that they outsource services. 
  • Digital advertising efforts are often hard to quantify. This is especially true for things such as search engine optimization, which takes a long time to kick in.
  • It’s better if you manage certain processes in-house. A good example is running social media accounts because this requires constant attention and engagement. 

Content advertising pros

  • When you buy content, you know exactly what you’re getting. Whether it’s measured in word count or video duration, there are specific ways to assess the work that has been done.
  • Content marketing companies usually focus on just one job. Due to this specialization, they will likely get better results compared to digital agencies.
  • Content also has a certain degree of versatility, and it can be used for various business goals.
  • Good content is the most valuable conversion tool. While digital processes such as SEO, SMM, and PPC can drive leads to your website, it’s up to content creators to convert them into customers. 
  • You will always derive some benefit from this service.
  • Great content marketing can make certain digital marketing processes redundant.

Content advertising cons

  • Even if you’re able to create good videos and posts, you will likely need to rely on certain elements of digital advertising. For example, content is used as a basis of search engine optimization, but in order to make it work, you will also need link building, mobile optimization, speed optimization, constant audits, and so on.
  • Some content marketing agencies completely omit conversion. They deliver great content, but they wish to be responsible in the results it provides.
  • If content marketing is a stand-alone service, it might not be aligned with other digital marketing efforts. 

Which One Marketing Strategy Should I Use for My Company? 

The truth is, you probably need both of these processes if you wish to improve your business. As previously mentioned, content marketing is an integral part of digital. At the same time, simply creating blog posts and videos will not be enough if you’re unable to optimize the website or your social media profile.

Nowadays, a lot of companies focus on content. No matter what you do, you need some posts on your social media or website. High-quality content is especially important for PPC campaigns and other paid ads as these are often the most expensive services and you have to convert.

The importance of these services also varies depending on where a person is within a marketing funnel. You can slip through with low quality content during the initial stages if you’re able to properly optimize. Sometimes, tossing your money on paid ads can do the trick. A lot of companies are able to overwhelm their respective niches that way.

However, if your product or service requires more persuasion, you need to have professional content creators. As a potential customer goes deeper into the marketing funnel, you’ll have to resort to more expensive pieces of content such as studies, white papers, and other forms of research-type content. The product should be so good that it instills confidence in potential buyers.

Final Thoughts

You might still have some questions about content marketing vs digital marketing.

Like experts often say, you can never invest enough in your marketing. The same goes with internet advertising. Nevertheless, you need to be very selective when choosing a provider. The success of your campaign is usually correlated with the company that provides the service.

As long as you follow the tips in this article, you’lll be able to make the right decision for your business. 

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