The Copy vs. Content Debate: Why Both Matter in Marketing

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Website Strategy

Words can have great power and understanding how those words are used in your digital marketing can make or break your ability to engage your audience. Similar to the distinctions between vintage and antique, or a crocodile and an alligator, knowing the difference between copy and content is important for effective communication with your target audience.

Whether you’re using copy to convert readers into customers or creating content to drive people to your money pages through engaging, valuable insights, tips, and advice, understanding the differences between the two is not just a matter of semantics but an important factor in achieving your digital marketing goals.

Copy Converts Readers Into Customers

Copy is the strategic, concise, and persuasive text used to drive a specific action — the words that urge you to buy, subscribe, sign up, or click.

On your money pages — pages in your sales funnel like your landing pages, product descriptions, and services — and in your calls-to-action, copy is critical as it needs to attract attention and prompt immediate action. It’s the voice of your brand that conveys what makes your product or service unique, and why people should choose you over your competitors.

Effective copywriting taps into consumers’ emotions, needs, and desires to create a sense of urgency that compels them to take action. It uses powerful language, compelling calls-to-action, and persuasive techniques such as social proof and scarcity to drive conversions.

The primary goal of copy is to convert readers into customers.

Content Educates and Builds Trust

Content is more informative and educational in nature. Its purpose is not to sell but to engage, inspire, entertain, provide helpful information, demonstrate your expertise, and build credibility. Content can take various forms, but is typically seen in blog posts, articles, infographics, podcast episodes, and videos.

The primary goal of content is to drive people to your money pages — the most important pages on your website, those dedicated to putting money in your pocket.

Key Differences Between Copy and Content

Both copy and content are crucial in a marketing strategy. It’s important to know their differences to create compelling messaging that connects with audiences and delivers tangible results.

  • Tone and Style:
    • Copy is polished, like when you dress nice and show up as your best self out in public.
    • Content is relaxed. It’s you in your casual comfy clothes talking with your friend about what you do.
  • Goal and Objective:
    • You invest in copywriting is to drive people to take a specific action — buy, sign up, click, etc.
    • You invest in content to build authority and get people to see you as the undeniable expert so when they’re ready, you’re top of mind.
  • Buyer’s Journey:
    • Content spans the whole length of the buyer’s journey though typically focuses more on the earlier stages as users are searching for information.
    • Copy picks up more of the heavy lifting in the later stages of Consideration to Decision as people get closer to a buying decision.
  • Call to Action:
    • Content calls to action are more subtle — ‘learn more‘, ‘join our list‘ — because they’re not ready to buy yet but want to stay in touch or learn more.
    • Copy calls to action are direct — ‘buy‘, ‘hire‘, ‘fill out this form‘ — they’re ready to take action.

The Complementary Relationship of Copy and Content

While there are differences in the roles of copy and content, they’re not opposing forces but complementary elements of your marketing strategy.

Here’s how they work together:

  • Attract with Content: Quality content draws your audience in, educates them, and builds trust. It establishes your brand as a credible source of information and addresses their needs and pain points.
  • Convert with Copy: Once engaged, strategically crafted copy takes the reader from interest to action. It encourages them to make a purchase, subscribe, or take the desired step.

Well-integrated copy and content contribute to a seamless customer journey, from awareness to conversion. Businesses can optimize their money pages with persuasive copy, translating engaged leads into customers. This alignment enhances the likelihood of achieving higher conversion rates and increased revenue.

When looking for a writer, keep in mind that a content writer is not necessarily a copywriter, and a copywriter is not necessarily a content writer. Depending on your goals, what you need is different.

Whether you need compelling copy to drive immediate action or valuable content to engage and educate your audience, I’ve got you covered with my website copywriting services or my 90-day content marketing packages.

About Leanne Mitton

Leanne helps small businesses get more people to their websites, then turn those people into new email subscribers, clients, and customers through copywriting and content marketing. If you need help writing your website content or publishing new blog posts that drive results, we should talk.

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