Content Strategy Vs. Digital Strategy; The Differences

Every organization benefits by having a comprehensive content strategy and a digital strategy. The two strategies focus on different efforts and implementations, yet they work together. The measurement of success comes from tracking key performance indicators (KPIs). Let’s examine the differences between the strategies and how to use KPIs to evaluate their effectiveness.

Content Strategy

An effective content strategy starts by identifying the target audience for an organization’s marketing message. There may be a need to identify subgroups within the target audience, especially if they have different content needs and content usage patterns.

Content Creation for Multiple Purposes

It is more efficient if the content strategy is developed on a macro basis that does not limit any portion of the content to a specific type of media. For example, the strategy may include increasing brand awareness with a themed message. The macro (also called “big picture”) theme might be excitement.

Content created in support of a theme could be in many media formats, such as text messaging, videos, infographics, social media ads, white papers, brochures, billboards, and so on. All the content will have a similar look and feel that creates excitement in relation to the brand and the organization being promoted.

Content design should be flexible and be able to be re-purposed for multiple media formats to tell a similar message.

Digital Strategy

The digital strategy for an organization works together with the content strategy to make use of the content in ways that support the organization’s overall mission and to advance its success in achieving its goals through digital initiatives. Having a robust content strategy is useful as part of a more comprehensive digital strategy because much of the content will be used and disseminated by digital means.

The digital strategy is bigger and covers more areas; however, it both includes and interfaces with the content strategy. Organizations need to have both of these strategies in order to do well.

Reaching the Target Audience

One commonality that is important for both the content strategy and the digital strategy is the ability to identify, reach, and motivate the target audience.

One effective method that helps to identify a target audience is to create fictional personas that are representative of an organization’s biggest supporters. These could be based on average customer profiles or, in the case of non-profits, profiles of those making donations.

These personas are conceptually helpful because they give the marketing staff a way to imagine what these people are like. Then, they can research how they respond to different forms of content and what are their regular usage patterns of digital media.

Every organization must have at least one persona that can be identified and created about their strongest supporters. Typically, there are more than one. Each persona represents a portion of the target audience that is part of the market segmentation.

For example, a company may benefit from marketing products or services to non-native English speakers by using content produced in foreign languages. The foreign language personas probably will differ significantly from the characteristics of an American English native speaker. They may access digital content differently and the target audience segment of these people will be found in different places online.

Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are used to track the success of marketing efforts that come from both the content strategy and the digital strategy

Some examples of important KPIs to track include:

  • Financial Metrics: These include sales, revenues, and profits.
  • Customer Metrics: These include customer acquisition costs, lifetime value, and retention.
  • Digital Metrics: These include search engine results for SEO keywords, website traffic, social media likes, video views, ad click-through rates, conversion rates, and more.

There are many other potential KPIs that may be beneficial to track for a particular organization according to their marketing efforts and needs.


Developing a content strategy that nicely flows into support for an overall digital strategy is the goal. Measuring the effectiveness of achieving this goal is done by using appropriate KPIs to track results against benchmarks.

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