First off, when it comes to content marketing and copywriting, a traditional “this vs that” argument is pretty misleading. It's not a battle and you don't have to choose a side. In fact, content marketing and copywriting have more similarities than differences, and each has a place in your marketing campaign. The difference is one of style.
If Marketing were a Hamburger, Copywriting would be the Bread.
Copywriting is straightforward, traditional advertising. Copy tells potential customers why they want to buy or subscribe. It's persuasive and familiar. If the page says, “Buy from us because we are awesome and here's why,” it's copy.
Sure, it can be colorful and enticing and have a warm, toasty smell...but it's still bread. It's on the outside of your marketing. You'll find copy on top-level web pages, product pages, and advertising.
There's an art to copywriting. It's where you set your shamelessly mixed-metaphor hook. If you were a restaurant, copy would be the words that accompany your food photos. You want people to visit your restaurant, so you show food that makes people drool and seal the deal by telling them your food is unique in some way: cheap, fast, fresh—or the latest hot concept, farm-to-table, which leaves the impression you're growing the veggies out back and washing off the dirt in the kitchen.
Copywriters for major ad agencies make the big bucks, largely because it's hard to be both enticing and succinct. The success of an ad campaign might hang on just a few words. Remember these?
- “Got Milk?” – California Milk Processor Board
- “Quality is Job 1.” – Ford
- “Have a Coke and a smile.” – Coca Cola
- “I can't believe I ate the whole thing!” – Alka Seltzer
- “The Greatest Show on Earth” – Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey
- “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.” – Calvin Klein Jeans
- “Does she, or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.” – Clairol
Of course you do. Everybody does. Successful ad copy has one thing in common: it paints a picture we can relate to and makes us feel something. And with an integrated campaign, it makes tons and tons of money. Of course, not all of us have pockets as deep as Coca Cola. Most of us have to rely on more economical means of delivery than Super Bowl commercials. Fortunately, we have the Internet.
And Now for the MEAT.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is the meat in your burger. It's hot, juicy, thick and fresh. The opposite of succinct, content delivers the informative and entertaining content your visitors are looking for. Copy brings them in and content brings them back.
Great content satisfies the endless hunger for information while delivering a more subtle message.
We know what you want. We have the knowledge and information you're looking for. We care about what you need. And that's why you should buy from us.
When your website is packed with content, visitors don't have to search elsewhere to satisfy their cravings. The longer they stay on your site, the more likely they are to return, to recommend, and to convert.
Content includes articles, blog posts, white papers, eBooks, infographics, videos, fact sheets, and anything else designed primarily to deliver information. How does content influence your website? Used as part of your Growth Cycle Marketing process, content marketing keeps your website fresh and relevant. Customers are pretty demanding. Last week's turkey burger was pretty tasty, but what's on the menu this week? We want new and different. And also spicy. We want it spicy. Give us something we've never had before. If you try to give us a plain ol’ burger again, we'll find what we crave somewhere else. That's how we roll.
Of course, no matter how many delicious entrees are on your menu, you can't overlook distribution. “If you build it, they will come” doesn't work online. You have to put it out there. Promotion is a critical step in the marketing cycle. The good news is this: If your content is hot and juicy, your following will grow, your brand reach will expand, and you’ll see new customers and repeat customers alike back for another bite.