You’ve no doubt heard the words copywriter and content writer banded about all over the internet marketing world, and they’re essentially the same thing, right?
Copy and content may just sound like different words for the same thing, but they’re in fact very different. It’s not just words on a page; there are some very significant differences, and each has their very distinct roles to play. Think of them as the Lennon and McCartney, the Batman and Robin, the Daziel and Pascoe of the wonderful world of internet marketing.
It’s not always easy to distinguish between the two, and some people have differing opinions on what classes as copy and what classes as content. However, here’s what we think are the main differences between copy and content and why you should be using both of them…
What is Web Copy?
Copy is the backbone of your online business’s marketing. Even though content marketing is the new and fashionable thing, never underestimate the power of well-written copy. When we talk about copy we’re essentially referring to one-way communication from the company to customers providing information about the company and its services/products. It’s the writing used to sell.
It should be informative and persuasive, selling your company to those who have found themselves on your website.
Here are some examples of web copy:
- About Us pages
- Product descriptions
- Sales brochures
- White papers
Why is Copy Important?
Picture the scene: you sell door handles and someone finds your website who just so happens to be in the market for a new handle for his bedroom door. However, they’re not 100% sure if your website is right for them.
Your copy can help persuade them that your website is absolutely right for them.
A well-written section of copy on your homepage can let them know that you have exactly what they’re looking, how you have a great industry reputation, how you’re the cheapest around, or whatever else will convince them to part with their money.
Web copy can also have SEO benefits, so try and include a few important keywords into your copy to help it get picked up by the Google gods, which will hopefully get some extra traffic flowing to your site.
What is Web Content?
Content is very much the new kid on the block and is currently strutting around with its collar turned up as it knows it’s what Google loves right now. It’s James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.
Whereas copy’s primary purpose is to sell, content is largely there to inform and entertain, and if that ends in a sale then all the better. Elizabeth Campbell puts it perfectly in this post: “Content tells and copy sells.”
Whilst copy is written for those who have already found your website, a lot of content is written to get people to your website in the first place. It should make people want to read it, share it and find more content like it. Content doesn’t even have to be words on a page; it can be videos, graphics, etc, as well.
Examples of website content include:
- Blog posts (we’ll discuss these shortly)
- News articles
- Quizzes & Polls
Why is Content Important?
You want to get people talking about your company and raise its brand awareness, don’t you? Well content is an excellent way of doing this. If you make a fantastic piece of content and share it in the right way (through social media, for example) then more and more people will become aware of your company and website who perhaps might not have previously.
If you make content that actually solves a user’s problem then they’re also much more likely to consider you an authority in the industry whose services they’re more likely to use in the future.
Finally, Google loves content. It bangs on about it all the time. It wants you to have useful, interesting content that people want to share and link to, and if you produce it on a regular basis then you’re more likely to be in Google’s good books in regards to rankings.
The Grey Areas
Not everything falls nice and neatly into the categories of content or copy. Blog posts, for example, may be an opinion piece on the latest industry trends and this would be an example of content. However, if your blog post is advertising a new product that you’re launching then this is likely to fall much closer to copy.
Social media posts are also a tricky one to pin down, and it very much depends on what you post about rather than the medium on which you’re posting. Again, if you write a post about what happened in the football over the weekend then this is closer to content, whereas a tweet about your product or business is more akin to copy.
You can also have copy within content. For example, if you produce a video about your business then this would technically class as content, but the words used within the video could well be classed as copy. It can be tough to distinguish between the two, but it’s not worth losing sleep over these intricacies.
Your best plan of action is to combine great content with persuasive and informative copy. If you do that then you should be able to get people coming to your website and then hopefully give them what they want once they’re there.