“The customer is not stupid. She is your wife.”
That quote from the grand ol’ daddy of advertising pretty much settles the debate on how you should be communicating with your customers. Whether you do it via your blog or advertising, the rule remains the same. Which means, whether you do it via copywriting for your ads and marketing material or content writing on your blog and website, you need to keep the basic etiquette on creating crisp content that is closely linked with the end result you want to drive.
The difference between copy and content writing
Copywriting, as wiki, describes, it the art of writing marketing content that is persuasive enough to drive your customers to take action.
Content writing is the art of writing content on websites and other marketing avenues to promote specific products. This extends to also all steps that are the means to the end like educating your customers, creating awareness, building your brand, sharing stories, writing on your websites, blogs, building on testimonials and some more.
So, how are these different?
The long and short of it is simply that copy is short and content is long form.
Copy is mostly thought by the industry in the sense of writing for advertising. If this extends to the website, it may involve some additional writing to drive home the point. Usually, the call to action is clear and immediate. It is also likely to be structured around a single campaign or cause. Unless these are long-standing commercials, the brand will want to increase leads and sales through advertising in addition to build recall.
An additional interesting part of copywriting is that though you write it for mass consumption, you address it to make it relevant to the one reader reading it at a time for it to be effective.
Last but not the least, copy in its many formats like brand taglines, jingles, sound cues (sensory branding) and even celebrity speak is intended to make a big impact with fewer words.
Content writing is like a story you read down a meandering path where you are likely to find a solution to a problem you may have. You may ‘stumble upon’ a piece of content after you searched for the topic on Google.
While content to is written with the clear intention of driving CTAs, people are more likely to discover similar stories and consume it before determining their action about a particular topic.
Copywriting is used both online and offline. It is in ATL and BTL communication and is customized as per the language and interests per month. Content writing is mainly restricted to online unless you are counting advertorials as content.
Is either one better than the other?
Not really, you need a good use of both to make your strategy complete. For example, you could read a few blogs, watch a few videos and then some more while planning for your vacation. But when you are ready, you are likely to click on an ad that is offering the package and sharing the price up front.
So how do you create a good mix of both?
Mix copy and content for your blog
Copywriting works as a great pull to draw attention in bursts. For example, while your blog may have great content writing, the title needs to be written with the precision of a copy writer selling an FMCG product.
Clutter breaking titles for blogs and web pages are often the make or break point between consumed and non-consumed content. So you see, a blog is, in fact, a great use case where copy and content writing skills are required in equal measures.
The process of coming up with click-worthy titles are similar to creating the USP for the product. Compelling words, irresistible call to actions that make you want to click right now and read is the exact intent of copywriting. There are plenty of case studies on how sites like BuzzFeed have nailed it and caused us to click and scroll through a lot more content than we intended on cat photos and sports fails.
The other use case of mixing copy and content for your blog is when you want to create a single line in between the content that breaks the clutter and keeps the engagement going. These are often ‘tweetable bites’ of content that even work for other social media.
The third use case of mixing copy and content for your blog comes when you want to share it across channels. Imagine that you are a travel company which has conducted a survey on the travel trends in India and is ready with a report.
You’ll have to pull a good insight from the report and do some copy writing to ensure your Facebook readers check out the report. At the same time, you’ll have to write a different copy for Linkedin which brings you out as key player in the industry. You can create multiple one-line insights for tweet bites which can be shared across time zones to ensure maximum reach.
Does it work vice versa?
Sure does. From real estate to financial products, the attractive headline copy can get your foot in the door but you need content to ensure that when people want to know more, they aren’t left with a call center number to call. You ad copy is most likely redirect users to a website where content does the actual talking to sell.
Last but not the least, you need content to be found
There is no better reason to raise the content marketing flag than the fact that Google recognizes quality content. If done right, it gets you link love and puts you right in front of the people.
Campaigns with good copy can be done with a frequency cap but good content is always on.
You know, they are lying in that job description
When you read about a content writer job these days, they talk about writing quality long form content. But you know that’s only half the truth. Because to be a good content writer, you need to be a good copy writer by default. You need to craft copy masterpieces out of your titles and call to actions for it to be called good content writing.
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Watch: Imagine the possibilities: Content Marketing