Copywriting, content writing, it’s all writing, right?

Wrong, you’d be surprised at the differences between copywriting and content writing.  Knowing these differences can have an impact on your website and search engine optimisation efforts.

In this post, we will be exploring the differences between content writing and copywriting.  There is a lot to cover in this article, so let’s start with…

What is Content Writing?

Content writing is the process of creating content which is of value.  The content that you create needs to be relevant to attract, engage and acquire your audience.

Content marketing is all of the words, videos, audio and photos. It’s everything you create and place online to tell your story.

Copywriting

All businesses today need to create valuable content, as its a critical aspect of being visible in today’s busy, noisy digital world.

On a daily basis, your customers will be sifting through thousands of messages online, whether it’s their own online research, messages that come through from marketers, advertisements on websites or emails coming to their inbox.  As a marketer or business, it’s really hard for you to get heard through this noise.

Within this minefield of information you need to connect with your customers in a way that everything you write is crystal clear, makes sense to the reader and builds trust with you and your brand.

Multi-channel Marketing Craziness

We now live in a multi-channel world and so do your customers.  Not only do they access information from multiple devices but also access information across multi-channels. But what do I mean by this?

Essentially, your customers are on search engines, social media, video websites, forums, directories, review websites, yell and yelp.  There are a ton of different channels that your customers use and you need to be present on some, if not all of these.

As a marketer or business owner, it is your goal to be found on the web and found through these different channels.

Attention Spans Are Getting Worse!

With all the devices and information, being a searcher can be hard. Trying to find the right products or services can be quite a task and keeping your attention on your search can be a chore.

It’s a very complex digital world out there and all of that equals attention scarcity.  Your customers’ attention is really divided amongst all of these different areas, therefore, the attention that they actually have for you and your messages is limited.

But good content writing and content marketing can help you actually break through that noise because you’re differentiating your brand from all the other brands out there.  Which leads me on to….

Content Creation

Creating content that is valuable, educational and relevant is a good start.  Then, if the content is seen over and over by your prospective customers on the different social media channels the result will be earned trust.  By being a thought leader and offering valuable content, people will start to know, like and trust you, thus making it easier to sell to them later on.

Content marketing has 6 key points you should address before you start your content writing and these are:

1, Engaging individuals on their own terms

– This means being available and relevant where your audience lives.

2, Content marketing efforts are based on interactions with buyers

– Creating content that your customer is searching for is key here.

3, Keep telling a continuous story

– Not just of your business but your customers too. Keeping the story interesting and engaging, this will help win more customers.

4, Making sure that your content marketing is the right fit for your channels.

– Creating different content types for the different channels.  Content that works for one social media outlet may not necessarily work for another. Think a 5-minute video on YouTube versus a short tweet on Twitter.

5, Your content writing and content marketing should have a clear purpose

– All of the content you produce should have a goal that needs to be achieved. Most of the time, content is created to win customers trust.

6, Make sure your content is evergreen.

–    Keep in mind your contents’ life cycle.  Your content should last months if not years.  Think about creating content that can be read now or in two years time.

In summary, you want to teach your customers how to use your products and services better.  Educating your customer rather than selling with content marketing is how you win customers’ trust and loyalty.

So now you know about content writing and content marketing, its time to focus on copywriting and how it differs to content writing.

So what is Copywriting?

This is my one of favourite quotes:

“It’s writing with a specific call-to-action that makes people open their wallets and chequebooks and BUY”

Paul Hollingshead

In a nutshell, it’s persuasive writing with the intent of driving an action.  I’ve underlined the two main words which are:

  • Persuasive
  • Action

On the web, there’s a lot of content writing but copywriting is specifically created to drive a response.  It seeks to persuade your prospects, that your services or products are the best on the market, no other company can compete and that they should buy it now.

So it’s your mission as a business owner or marketer to give your readers compelling reasons to respond and take action.

Getting to know your customer

Before you can start writing copy for your website you need to create a buyer persona this will help you write in a way that is targeted to your audience.

Ask yourself these questions before writing:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is their 7 biggest pain points?
  • What type of company does the buyer work for?
  • What is their education level?
  • What is their current relationship status?
  • What motivates them to buy?

These are just some examples of the types of questions you should be asking when creating a buyer persona.  Once you have completed your buyer persona it’s time to craft some persuasive copy for your website, sales letter or video sales letter.

Copywriting

6 Steps for amazing copywriting on your website:

Step 1 – What are the features of your business or services?

Think of features as something that is inside of your product or what it consists of.  For example, if you are selling a car, the features would be the wheels, doors, colour, mirrors etc.

Step 2 – What are the benefits of your business or services?

Benefits can be thought of what makes your product or services exciting and useful to your prospect.  When you think of benefits, the best way to is to think about it is the ‘So What’ method.

The car colour is purple. So what?

You could write: “This is an exclusive limited edition purple and only 500 will be painted with this colour around the world.  The rest of the cars will be painted with standard paint.”

What we have done is changed a feature into a benefit, this excites the prospect.  This way you are adding exclusivity and scarcity. As you can see there is a clear distinction between features and benefits.

Step 3 – Time to become a storyteller

A story will help a stuck prospect read your copy and make it impossible to stop reading.

You can use your story or use one of your customers. There is a simple formula which is:

  • What is the problem?
  • How couldn’t the problem be solved?
  •  Your magic solution (product or service)
  •  The results of your solution to the problem

Step 4 – Summary of offer

  • Remind the users of testimonials
  • Show the reader proof that products/services work
  • Stack up all the benefits so your offer becomes irresistible

Step 5 – Headline

  • Get across that you are an expert in your headline
  • The headline should hook the reader and be enticing to them
  • Remember the headline can be written last so that you can tweak it to suit the copy

Step 6 – The big call to action

  • Make sure you ask for the order
  • Ask the user to hit a button
  • In a long sales letter, add more than 3 CTA buttons

Using this six-step formula when writing your next copywriting piece will help you to create something amazing.

Summary

By now you should be able to see the differences between content writing and copywriting but also see that they can have blurred lines.

The simplest way to separate the two are:

Content writing should educate your audience whilst building your brand
Copywriting should persuade these educated readers to take action on your website.

I hope that this helps to clear up the differences and I hope you have enjoyed reading this post.  If you do write something as a result of this post please feel free to drop a link in the below and I will take a look.