Whether pursuing new career goals or simply diversifying their skill sets, every media professional today has increasing exposure to the digital marketing landscape. That’s due in large part to how much of our lives now interact with marketing on some level, from branded content and educational webinars to social media and podcasts. Then there’s the ever more pervasive face of digital advertising with the ability to target potential customers based on everything from demographics and pinpoint geographic location to what products they briefly viewed on a completely different website weeks ago. It’s a quickly evolving space that demands every media professional develop some degree of competency to both navigate and also integrate these digital marketing tools into their broader communication strategy.


The advent of the Information Age introduced a new wave of opportunities for the marketing professionals that still continues to ripple through society. So how do we define digital marketing today? At its most basic, the field covers the marketing tools, strategies and applications primarily implemented over the Internet or other digital communication channels. In reality, the field of digital marketing increasingly defies traditional definitions as it becomes ever more present in daily life as we consume free content, newsletters and other material that offer independent value to consumers while also filling corporate lead funnels. While the core marketing principles remain the same, the applications for digital marketing continue to grow and now media professionals, entrepreneurs or others at any level have tools at their fingertips they could have only dreamed of a generation prior.


Company branded content existed prior to widespread adoption of the Internet, but it was expensive and its reach and application were limited in scope. No longer is that the case. Today some company blogs gain as much or more traffic that popular traditional magazines and marketing executives have taken notice. Now small, independent companies or individuals have the opportunity to develop a successful content marketing strategy that leverages organic search, keyword optimization and value to reach potential customers.

A successful content marketing strategy cannot be built on good writing alone, though. It needs to offer value to readers independent of what product you hope to market. Whether through blog posts, newsletters or other multimedia content, if you’re not offering value, you will not keep a reader’s attention for long, let alone hope to convert them to a customer down the road. The core principles of marketing still apply as well, so content must be built around the concept of including a clear CTA or call to action and related elements to ensure the content your team is publishing goes beyond simple entertainment to engage your reader, build trust and eventually convert.


While the blog and email newsletter are the ubiquitous elements of a good content marketing strategy, they are not the only tools in the media professional’s tool box. In fact, some companies openly admit that their online videos or podcasts do more to engage audiences and cultivate customers than their blogs ever could. Sometimes it’s a matter of implementation, but in other cases, it’s a matter of reaching your audience where they are. If your ideal customer never has time to read blogs, but listens to podcasts during their commute or while they exercise, that’s how you can reach them. In the same manner, some potential customers require more direct engagement than a blog or podcast can offer, so a live webinar strategy could be just the thing to help them make a decision about your product or company.

The important thing to realize is that today’s media professional needs to develop a wide range of competencies across these channels. Then they can weigh each in terms of what they wish to accomplish and how many resources they have at their disposal. An ideal content marketing strategy would include them all on some level, but a thoughtful and targeted strategy can certainly be successful with just one or two if well implemented.


Social media is in many ways the 800-pound gorilla in the world of digital marketing. While not initially designed with that application in mind, the rapid adoption of social media platforms worldwide has been one of the biggest disruptors in the marketing and advertising space. In addition to companies now being able to engage or communicate directly with their fans, they can target their advertisements on these channels in increasingly innovative ways that continue to change and reshape the industry.

There are also the risks, though. Bad news travels fast on social media (even if it is not true) so companies need to be prepared to manage those risks as well and coordinate closely across marketing, public relations and other key teams. Today’s savvy media professional knows how to navigate the risks and opportunities, debate the value of paid vs. organic social media strategies and leverage their broader understanding of the digital communication space to develop innovative ideas that help their company lead tomorrow’s conversations.