hen it comes to marketing a business, there’s no question that you need copy – and lots of it. Copy for your website, your ads, your social media, blog posts, emails, and more. But did you know there are actually two different kinds of marketing copy that do two totally different jobs?
Copywriting vs. content writing is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, because the majority of my daily tasks involve strategizing, writing, editing, or coaching others on digital marketing copy.
I want everyone to understand the difference, why it matters, and to help spread the word!
Is copywriting dead?
Also Read: How to become a Content Writer
Let’s blast any doubts right now: NO. Writing is still a big freaking deal for your business because copy is a vital part of digital marketing.
It might seem like professional copywriting doesn’t matter so much anymore because of the massive rise in AI writing tools and viral content sites earning tons of traffic despite having crappy copy. And what about the statistics that show that the majority of people scan pages and don’t even fully read them?
For starters, AI can’t replace human storytelling rooted in experience and actual emotion. AI tools have also learned some terrible biases and even tell outright lies and aggressively defend them. We are nowhere near a world where AI tools can be trusted to write content without human participation. Understanding when and how to use analogies or tell personal stories to illustrate a point, or how to craft scannable content that still engages and drives conversions – that takes some special sorcery!
The words you put out into the world on behalf of your business directly impact your conversion rate, customer retention, and your overall brand reputation. Great copy can increase leads and sales. Bad copy, on the other hand, can lead to digital marketing fails.
I’m obviously biased, because I’m a writer. It’s what I do for work and for fun. So let’s look at a bunch of sexy copy statistics:
- Copy has twice the impact on landing page conversions vs. design
- Pages with poor grammar have up to 85% higher bounce rates
- People are 70% less likely to click a Google Ad with a grammatical mistake or typo
- 80% of people only read headlines to get the gist of a page or post
- Longer, researched blog posts tend to rank higher and earn more organic traffic
- Personalized CTAs increase the likelihood of conversion by 202%
- Articles over 3,000 words typically get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks
- Websites with great writers at the helm can get up to 7.8x more traffic…
- …Which is probably why 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy
As you can see, copywriting is far from dead.
What is the difference between content and copy?
Now that’s a great question. Gold star for recognizing that they aren’t the same, even if you only got that just now from the heading. Knowing is half the battle!
When it comes to digital marketing, there are two key umbrellas relating to copy:
- Content writing is used in marketing, while copywriting is most often used in advertising – but advertising falls under the marketing umbrella, so both are technically marketing skills
- You can create marketing content without copy, but all marketing copy is content
Is your mind blown? We’re only getting started.
What is copy?
Copy is text. Yup, it’s that simple.
In content marketing, copy is written information used by a business to either hook a person’s interest, or to convince them to take an action.
And that is the difference in copywriting vs. content writing: the purpose of the words.
What is content?
Whether it contains copy or not, content is information that’s being delivered to an audience for a specific purpose. That purpose could be art, entertainment, education, awareness, advertising – there are countless types of content.
Content can just be copy, but it can also be illustrations, photos, videos, sounds, animations, or even all of the above. The Medieval Latin contentum means ‘to contain’, which is a great way to think about content – whatever it is you’re creating, it should always contain a purpose.
Otherwise you’re just adding more content noise to clog up the internet, but don’t get me started on that pet peeve.
There are lots of mediums through which to serve up your content. Content marketing usually refers to the information a business puts out into the world to attract potential customers. For example:
- Articles or case studies on a website
- Videos on YouTube
- Podcasts on iTunes
- Posts on social media platforms
- Emails sent through a marketing tool