Content as a collective term forms the foundation on which all digital marketing activities are based – I think everyone from avid entrepreneurs in the process of building start-ups to small business owners and corporate titans understands the gravitas of this marketing principle.
The reality is that content may sound simple enough to apply. Still, numerous factors need to be considered and analysed before appropriate, traffic driving, customer converting content can be uploaded to clients’ websites. Essentially, its purpose needs to be determined; this will dictate whether a copywriter and/or content developer is best suited to assist you in achieving your goals.
Aren’t copywriters and content developers the same? No. Not all forms of content are the same; each type has a specific role in the marketing process of a brand’s products and/or services. But before we go any further, we need to dispel this idea that copywriting and content development are synonyms; they are content creation specialities used to satisfy particular metrics. Let’s take a closer look.
What is copywriting?
It may sound too simplistic, but ‘copywriting’ means ‘writing copy’. The word ‘copy’ applies to any sentences or phrases that are written with the intent of moving a targeted audience to act (the industry term is known as a call-to-action), e.g. purchase a product/service or subscribe to a newsletter.
Certain pieces of copy, such as listing the benefits and/or features of a product and/or service, also fall under the copywriting spectrum; they enhance the chances of completing a call-to-action.
Examples of copywriting
- PPC ads
- Social media ads
- eCommerce product pages
- Website sales copy
- Sales emails
What is content development?
Content development, on the other hand, involves any text written for the purpose to inform, educate, guide or entertain its reader about a particular topic. Therefore, the type of content needs to be well crafted, relevant and valuable for the intended audience.
Examples of content writing
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Case studies
- Evergreen articles
So, we’ve established that the purpose of the content is essentially the determining factor of the copywriting/content development misunderstanding, but now the question is, which one do you choose?
It’s a tough question to answer because while copywriting and content development have different purposes, they aren’t mutually exclusive. A content developer can use copywriting techniques to bolster his/her content if it’s being written with the intent to inform and drive sales.
In the same light, copywriters can use content development methods to add valuable information and education for readers about a product/service before hitting their copy’s primary touchpoint: the convincing pitch.
Best case scenario: Use a copywriter and a content developer
You’re likely going to need a ‘bit of both’ if you want to have significant web visibility, well-written content that also entices readers and heightens sales potential. So, the best-case scenario is finding a marketing agency that offers copywriting and content development services. This way, your brand can inform, educate, and entertain and enjoy a favourable return on investment (ROI) from sales.
It’s fair to argue that copywriters and content developers require, mostly, a similar skillset; both disciplines need to be able to
Whether the topic is in their comfort zone or not, both types of writers need to conduct effective research, gathering as much information as possible from trustworthy sources to substantiate any claims that are made. This is critical for acquiring prospects as well as retaining and increasing your target audience. It also speaks to your brand’s work ethos and credibility, which, due to social media’s power, can be tarnished quickly – think of your reputation as your digital business card.
Think logically and creatively
There will be times when writing/listing benefits of a product and/or service is required – this is factual content and needs to be presented in a logical fashion that satisfies the customers’ interest enough to convince them to make a purchase.
There’s no doubt that a storytelling technique that garners attentiveness and entertains but still aims to make a sale is the best course of action. In this case, integrating creative storytelling content with your sales copy will prove fruitful.
Understand and write according to the ideal customer experience (CX)
Today, a customer journey and overall experience from awareness to conversion need to be streamlined to satiate audience behavioural dynamics. This requires marketing CX specialists who can build a strategy that will implement and execute the conversion-driving touchpoints.
Show empathy and emotion
Readers want to know that a human being, not a bot, is writing the article. An excellent copywriter and content developer can construct content in a way for emotion and empathy to flow through the screen. If your customer can relate to the content, lead generation, subscription and sales potential will be optimised.
A slight change in the focus of your product or service offering can attract a different audience; your current content strategy may need to be transformed quickly. Copywriters and content developers should have the skill to adapt their approach accordingly to fortify their clients’ customer base.
Social media know-how
There’s a timeless marketing axiom, “go where your customers are.” – and where are they? – on a plethora of social media platforms. If you don’t have a dedicated social media guru at your fingertips, copy, and content writers need to be able to step in to post, promote and sell via custom-crafted, audience applicable social media content.
A grasp of basic search engine optimisation (SEO)
Ever heard the phrase, ‘out of mind, out of sight.’ If you’re not visible on the web, how do you expect to find your audience, or more importantly, how are they going to see you? An understanding of how to optimise content to stimulate organic growth is critical.
In a nutshell, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of acquiring quality website traffic organically (unpaid) by improving each aspect of your online presence to better engage with your customers.
Whether the content is created to inform, entertain, or drive sales through effective CTAs, any piece of high-quality content needs to be optimised for Google’s search engine results pages (SERP) and rank for the desired search query. So, in whichever form, content creation needs to be ignited by SEO fuel to ensure it is visible to the right audience.
In conclusion, copywriters and content developers may technically have the same job role ‘on paper’. However, the beauty of content is that it’s malleable; it can be written, combined and tweaked to produce a custom lead generating hub of entertainment and relevant information that helps your business turn a profit.