The Semantics of Semantics

In our digital world, we have so much information at our fingertips. But how do you sort through all of the buzzwords to find the right solution? Whether you’re looking to retain an agency for your ‘digital marketing’ or you’re looking for a freelancer to develop ‘content’, understanding what these words really mean vs. what the resource is prepared to deliver can make the vetting process more efficient and ensure you get the deliverable you need.

Let’s take a look at these two specific examples – digital marketing and content.

Digital marketing, as defined by the American Marketing Association (AMA), is “the use of digital or social channels to promote a brand or reach consumers. This kind of marketing can be executed within social media, search engine, internet, mobile devices and other channels.” Sometimes you’ll see social media marketing used interchangeably with digital marketing, when in fact it is a small subset of digital marketing. In other instances, you’ll see email or SMS (text message) marketing as a separate channel from digital marketing, but is a tactic executed within mobile devices. If you know you need ‘digital marketing,’ but you are unsure of what specific channels your business needs, look for someone with a breadth of experience in ALL digital channels; they can provide the guidance on what you should include in your marketing plan. If you already know that you specifically need to focus on social media, then go for it – look for an expert that has deep knowledge on all things social media.

Content is another example of a commonly misunderstood term. Accodring to the AMA, content marketing is “creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” So what do people mean when they say they’re a content strategist, content creator, or content consultant? It could mean they help you define the types of stories you should be telling. It could mean they help you find the right medium – text, still images, videos, etc. It could mean they know what channels to post and promote the content on. It could mean they are a filmmaker, photographer, or writer. It could mean all of the above. Be specific on your content needs because a strong copy writer might be the only resource you need if you already have a strong digital marketing resource.

The key is to ask questions – ask for clarification on exactly what the resource means when they use a common term. Anyone who truly wants to help your business will take the time to explain what they will be delivering.

One Final Note on Content

Remember more content is not always better; it needs to be valuable and relevant. And hopefully this post was both of those. 😉

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