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Digital marketing is comprised of so many different segments, that it’s not so strange that many of them are still misunderstood or even under-appreciated by certain businesses. One aspect of digital marketing that remains steadfast in its leading role, however, is content in all of its diverse, ever-changing, audience-driven formats. In terms of your standard written content, marketers know and understand the value of good, strong copy. And also the relevance of general content creation to educate and entertain their audience, not just search engines.
Both of these categories have various overlapping qualities that make them so pivotal for marketers. but they also have certain distinctions that keep them unique from the perspective of those who create them. Whether you’re looking to infuse your digital strategy with the right kind of written word or you simply want to understand these categories better, let’s tackle a few of their commonalities and differences, as well as various formats in which they occur.
The key purpose of content writers
While copywriting can be a kind of content creation, not all content can be considered copy. Why? Because their key difference lies in their purpose and the road to achieving their goal. Even though one could say that content writers aim to attract more readers and increase engagement, they do so differently from copywriters. The tone of voice in content creation tends to be educational, entertaining, value-driven, and not promotional. At least not directly.
The very act of creating brilliant content pieces such as how-to articles, blog posts, infographics that summarize important data, serves to elevate your standing in your industry and strengthen your brand’s position. Content writers, however, don’t sell. They use your brand’s expertise and knowledge to provide information, opinions, and advice in a brand-specific tone of voice that will grant your business the recognition it craves, and preferably spark engagement.
As you’ve likely deduced by now, copywriting has a more direct aim to promote and sell a certain product or a service. It still doesn’t have to be salesy by nature, though, to achieve that. Copywriting is typically reserved for product catalogs, landing pages to your products and services, product or service descriptions, ad wording, sales emails, and the like. Yes, it can be catchy, educational, infused with your brand’s values, but it serves a specific goal to talk directly about your business. For instance, a fashion designer can create an entire blog post about the fashion of the previous century without offering their services once – hence creating a delightful, informative piece of content.
If that blog post contains an internal link leading the reader to a landing page on tailor-made suits the fashion designer creates, then this new page is a clear example of effective copywriting done right. Copy often needs to be shorter, catchier, and more concise than regular content. The writer also needs knowledge of the target audience and the industry at hand. Both, however, will use keywords and other SEO-relevant parameters to make their pieces more valuable for better ranking.
Infusing both with culture
When brands aim to expand their reach to new markets, the use of both content and copywriting can become a little trickier. The keywords relevant for one market don’t necessarily translate directly into the new one. While certain cultural norms and traditions prohibit specific forms of address and need to be adapted for the new market. This is where content and copy creation come in a new dimension also known as professional transcreation, which retains the key messages of the source text while imbuing it with the target culture’s finesse and nuances.
In order to use your copy to advertise your brand to new audiences, mere translation cannot serve that purpose. Hence the need to transcreate your copy and your content based on the standards of your new demographic. Otherwise, both your content and your copy will be rendered useless.
Striking the right balance for your brand
Copywriters try to inspire your readers to take action, as soon as possible. Their writing needs to be brief, but powerful, crafted consistently with the brand at hand. Content writers, on the other hand, have a more long-term goal in mind: to build trust, credibility, inspire engagement that doesn’t necessarily translate into an immediate purchase, and establish a clear presence. Both of these marketing strategies have their place in your own arsenal. But, you need to remember that they overlap to a great extent, and that not all writers can fulfill both roles.
With that in mind, you should refine your content strategy to reflect your business goals as well as your target audience preferences. This will help you connect with people no matter where they reside and how different their cultures may be.
Creating written content is becoming more nuanced every day. Especially since we now have major overlaps between content formats such as writing effective, keyword-infused scripts for videos, captions for social media videos, ad content, and the like. In the midst of all that writing confusion, you need to choose the creative process that fits your purpose. And always do your best to represent your brand truthfully no matter the outlet you select.