Copywriting Vs. Content Marketing: What’s the Real Difference? (And Why You Need Both!)

According to a 2016 Content Marketing Institute report, 88 percent of B2B brands are using content marketing. Traditionally, brands used plain old copywriting to get their messages across. Today, there are new ways of engaging your target audience and getting more web traffic (without keyword stuffing).

How?

Two words: content marketing.

Content marketing use has exploded over the last decade because companies are realizing the value of incorporating it into their marketing strategies. However, many entrepreneurs don’t realize there’s a difference between copywriting and content writing/marketing and often use the terms interchangeably.

In reality, copywriting and content marketing are actually two different things, that when used together, can create an abundance of opportunities to improve the customer experience, among other benefits. Let’s take a look at exactly what content marketing and copywriting entail and discuss why you need both to be effective and remain competitive these days.

What Is Copywriting?

Copywriting is “copy” designed to get people to take a certain action, whether it’s making a purchase, downloading an ebook, or subscribing to an email newsletter.

Copywriting projects often include:

  • Sales Pages
  • Advertisements
  • Direct Mail
  • Email Newsletters
  • TV Commercials
  • Catalogs
  • Leaflets
  • Press Releases
  • Radio Commercials
  • Brochures
  • Billboards
  • Ad Campaigns
  • Product Descriptions

Copywriting is a form of salesmanship and involves writing and re-arranging words so that they help sell something. Good copywriting is about getting your prospects to want to engage with you, providing something of value to them, and getting them to want to buy from you instead of someone else – and not because they’re being pressured into it. Typically, it’ll be because they either like what you said (and they think you can help them) or they simply like you and want to see what more you can offer.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is creating and sharing valuable free content to attract your target audience and convert prospects into customers – as well as gain client loyalty by getting repeat purchases. It’s a strategic marketing approach that focuses on delivering content consistently to drive some sort of profitable action from the customer or prospect.

Content writing entertains the audience and, if done right, can help increase brand engagement. Increased engagement means your customers are going to be more likely to purchase something. People buy from people they like. If your brand does a good job of getting people to like it, you’re already on the right track to successful content marketing.

Content marketing also involves putting out quality content that helps improve your website’s Google search engine rankings and makes people want to like, share, or comment on your content. The more content you make available to your target audience, the more likely they are to engage with your brand online. So creating a content library filled with useful information and finding the right ways to get your target audience engaged with that content is essential to your success with content marketing. Implemented correctly, it could help increase leads by 67 percent.

Content marketing projects could include:

  • Blog Posts
  • Web Content
  • SEO Content
  • Case Studies
  • Podcasts
  • Email Autoresponders
  • Social Media Posts
  • White Papers
  • Keyword Research
  • Editorial Calendars
  • Infographics
  • eBooks

A content strategy can help you better plan and manage any content you put out. The content strategy outlines how often your content will be created, who’s going to create it, and what type of content you’ll create, as well as how you’ll promote it once it’s published.

You might’ve heard the mantra that “content is king,” and while that’s true, no content is effective without a solid strategy. If you simply fill your site with content and expect to be successful with content marketing, you’re missing the whole point. Creating good content is only half the battle. You’re gonna have to promote that content and decide the best ways to use your content to meet your business goals. While it may be a process, it’s completely doable. Neil Patel has an amazing article on crafting a content strategy. You can read it here.

Why You Need Copywriting AND Content Marketing

Copywriting that incorporates content marketing is ten times more effective than traditional copywriting on its own. Finding a copywriter that knows a little something about content marketing can help you concentrate your efforts on both sides.

Because copywriting is what convinces customers to buy, but content marketing is how they find you in the first place. So even if you’re using the most compelling copy ever written, it won’t matter because no one will be able to find you.

So how do you create good content that incorporates copywriting?

Copywriting and Content Marketing Best Practices

As Copyblogger so eloquently put it, content without copywriting is a waste of good content. And I couldn’t agree more.

When creating content, it helps to:

  • Attract the Right Audience. Keep your target audience in mind as you craft content and avoid writing for search engines (meaning no keyword stuffing). Not only does it make your content sound awful, but it sends readers running for the virtual door.
  • Produce Entertaining Content. If you produce enough entertaining content, people will stick around and engage with your content via likes, shares, or comments. Make sure it doesn’t look like an ad because no one wants to be sold to. Instead, make it feel more like a conversation between close friends. You’re much more likely to get repeat customers when you speak their language.
  • Be Generous with Freebies. When you give someone something, they tend to feel the need to reciprocate by giving something back or doing something in return. The same applies to content marketing. If you keep giving stuff away for free, eventually, your customers are going to want to reciprocate because they’ll remember how much you’ve helped them without asking for anything in return.

Incorporating content marketing into your copywriting allows you to build trust by providing a point of contact with customers that doesn’t involve a sales pitch. Remember, you shouldn’t always be aiming to sell. And when people see that you’re there to provide useful, relevant information that can actually help improve their lives in some way, they’ll not only like you more, but they’ll feel more inclined to buy from you in the future because they like and trust you now. Reciprocity is a powerful motivator.

If you’re not using content and copywriting in conjunction to boost results on both ends, what are you using and is it effective?

It’s 2019 and it might be time to step up your content game to get more site traffic, build a loyal audience, and increase user engagement and customer loyalty.

Remember to focus on helping your target audience solve a problem instead of trying to sell to them right away.

Does your organization use content marketing and copywriting to improve your business?

Let me know in the comments.

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