What's the difference between copywriting and content?
Copywriting vs content. They’re the same thing, right? “Just writing”
Nope! They’re actually two distinct disciplines, skill sets and professions. Creating engaging copy is one side of the coin, while crafting effective content that converts is the other.
Many clients ask their internal teams to churn out ‘content’ for their website and social channels. This may, or may not, be based on an overall marketing strategy. Unfortunately, the ‘content’ that is published often doesn’t increase website traffic or convert. In reality, their teams have just been ‘copywriting’ for them.
So what exactly is the difference between copywriting and content production? (And why should you care?)
Let's start by defining copywriting
Copywriting means using words with the intention of influencing readers to either take an action or reach an outcome based on an assumed audience need.
So if you want…
- your prospects to engage with your services, or
- consumers to buy your products, or
- high-performing talent to join your brand…
… copywriting is the answer.
Or is it?
Just creating words on a web page, blog or social media post based on what you think the audience needs isn’t enough now. You need a research-backed reason for creating that content, and a clear way to measure the results.
Otherwise, you’ll just be writing words for words’ sake.
The difference between copywriting and content
Copywriting focuses on putting the right words in the right order to achieve an immediate outcome. It can either be done badly, or well.
For example, there’s bad, flat, ‘just the facts, ma’am’ copywriting:
We are Dream Den and we sell products for kids that include fairies, dolls and accessories. Buy our products today!
And then there’s good, persuasive, engaging copywriting:
Ignite your child’s imagination. See how Dream Den can bring your child’s fairy fantasies to life.
The first option focuses on the basic facts from your viewpoint as a seller. The second creates a vivid, reader-focused story that entices them to engage with your brand and pay money for your products or services.
Content, on the other hand, is the practice of creating content items (many of which have words in them) that have a strategic backbone. They’re not just words on a webpage; they’re strategic, researched content.
Those pieces of content might be blog posts, videos, social media or web pages. And yes, content production involves copywriting to create a strong narrative for each content piece. But the copywriting only comes after we’ve determined which content is worth creating.
And the way we determine WHICH blogs, videos, social media and/or website content to create is to use the strategic science of data analysis and content strategy.
For example, I look at each client’s existing online data – their Google Analytics, paid campaigns and Google Search Console, among others. Then I look at the broader organic playing field of their industry. Once I have all that data, I analyse it to produce a clear calendar for content production that will increase that client’s website traffic and conversion.
See the difference? Copywriting = words. Content = strategic creation, publishing and ongoing analysis of content (words, video, visual).
Why you need to care about strategic content production
It’s not enough to just produce a blog post or two per month on a topic that’s vaguely relevant to your business. Nor is it enough to create a set number of social posts or new website pages either.
If this is all you do, you’re wasting your budget, you’re wasting your time and you aren’t adding value. You’ll be spending money for effectively words on a screen that don’t bring in extra traffic to your site or convert that traffic into customers. You’ll be spending your time briefing, reviewing and publishing that content too. Consider your current content and marketing budget – how much of it is going on activities that don’t generate any ROI?
If you don’t have a strategic, research-backed reason for creating a piece of content – STOP! Just STOP!
You need someone who gives you strategic content production support instead.
Know anyone?! 😉 Let’s chat.