Content, or copy? Which one will explode your sales?

Knowing how and when to use copy or content can massively grow your business.

What’s the difference between copy and content, and how can it help your business? Knowing the answer can dramatically improve the results from your marketing, increase your advertising return on investment and generally help you sell more stuff! 

When we’re talking about marketing, we really need to break our communications into 2 distinct categories. Content, and Copy. Therefore we have 2 different types of writers. Content writers who write content and copywriters who write, wait for it… copy. 

OK, so lets stop dancing around the issue. What’s the difference, and does it even matter?

As marketing, and consumers, become more sophisticated the difference becomes more pronounced and more important.

Let’s start with content. The job of content is to educate, entertain and engage. We use content to help position ourselves as authorities in our field. As we post in our private Facebook groups, write blogs, ebooks and processes for people to follow we need content writers who are storytellers and can make the benign absolutely captivating. As consumers become more savvy, and more judicious with their time, they expect to receive genuine value in return for their time so the content you publish in your groups and blogs needs to genuinely inform and educate. 

So, then, what is copy? Copy is typically associated with advertising. It’s job is to persuade, seduce and entice readers to take a specific action such as making a purchase, completing a form, downloading a file or clicking a link. Typical applications are ads, sales letters, promotional emails and sales pages. Great copy builds affinity with the reader, shows them you understand their pain and persuades them that you, your product, service or brand have the ability to solve whatever problem has got them reading your copy in the first place.

All of that’s very interesting, but so what, right? Why do you need to know the difference? Well, content marketing has the potential, when done well, to significantly grow your following. Content has its foundations in journalism, literature and research and once people know your content adds value to their work, business or life they will keep coming back to your website or social media profile. Using sales copy in these applications will feel pushy, won’t add value and will drive people away rather than bringing them back. 

Copywriting is what can get people to your blog in the first place, and what ultimately converts those people into paying clients. It’s what moves people through the various stages of awareness and the customer value journey and turns strangers into raving fans and advocates of your brand.  If you use value based content in your ads and sales letters, you’ll have a well informed group of people who love you, value your opinion and buy from someone else. Great copy has its foundations in psychology, consumer behaviour and was really brought to prominence by master craftsmen like David Ogilvy and Eugene Schwartz. In fact a book Eugene Schwartz published in 1966, Breakthrough Advertising, now sells on Amazon for around $500 for a used copy, such is the demand to learn how to write good copy. 

So then how do we know which is better? The fact is you need them both at various stages of your sales funnel. A solid process is to use copy in an ad to drive traffic to your website or landing page. Once there you might have a content based blog post, or more copy enticing someone to download a useful piece of content in return for their email address. You’d then use email to send more great content, followed up by a sales letter (copy) to convert prospects to customers. This is the nature of modern sales funnels and when done well they’re hugely effective at building just about any sort of business. 

There is more to it than this, copy is a form of content, and content extends beyond the written word to images, video, audio etc but for the purposes of this discussion, that’s the difference between copy and content, and why you need to know.

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