For a traditional marketer, the answer to the above question is simple.
Content marketing is the creation of valuable content that has a marketing purpose. For example, my company creates an awesome special report, and we exchange it for your email address and your permission to educate you further about our stuff.
Copywriting is designed to get the reader to take a specific action. Sometimes that’s making a purchase, but it can also be confirming an email opt-in, calling for more information, or going into a store to check out the merchandise.
Content marketing is blogs, white papers, and viral video.
Copywriting is sales pages, infomercials, and direct mail.
Two different critters, right?
Well, not if you’re doing it right.
Content without copywriting is a waste of good content
There are some blogs out there with seriously good content, and few readers. (Maybe yours is one of them.)
If you’re writing great stuff that people would love to read, but you’re not finding the traffic you want, the problem probably lies in ineffective copywriting.
- Your headlines are boring and they don’t give people any reason to click through.
- Or your headlines might be too cute and clever, showing how smart you are without communicating any reader benefit. Either way, if you’re not putting much thought into your content headlines today, hop over to the Copyblogger tutorials on writing great headlines and fix that before you try anything else.
- You haven’t explicitly thought about how your content benefits readers. Just like a product has to have a benefit to the buyer, your content has to be inherently rewarding to readers, or they won’t come back. Here’s an article that talks about how to do that.
- Your content isn’t building any rapport or trust. You can always get social media attention by being a brat, a pest, or a train wreck, but attention doesn’t translate into subscribers or customers.
- You haven’t leveraged any social proof to show readers that your blog is a cool place to hang out. This is tricky when you don’t have lots of readers yet, but we have a few tips for you.
- You don’t have a clear, specific call to action that lets people know what you want them to do next. (That might be to subscribe to your blog, sign up for your email newsletter, or share your content on social sites like twitter and Facebook.)
Remember, copywriting is the art of convincing your reader to take a specific action. (And yes, it’s still copywriting if it takes place in a podcast or video … if you’re doing it well).
The thoughtful use of copywriting techniques on your blog will get readers to subscribe to your content, opt in for more from your email newsletter, and share your great stuff with other readers. That’s how you build a large, loyal audience.
Copywriting without content is a waste of good copy
So is copywriting everything? Will effective use of copywriting technique propel you automatically into the ranks of the world’s most popular blogs?
If you do a brilliant job packaging and marketing crap, all you do is efficiently get the word out about how bad your crap is. Not the result you’re looking for.
Smart marketers still need to keep these cornerstones of great content marketing in mind:
- Generosity is sexy. When your free content is so valuable that it makes you a little uncomfortable, you know you’ve got the mix right.
- Only ad men like advertising. If your content looks like an ad, it will be overlooked or thrown away. Make your “advertising” too valuable to throw away by wrapping it in wonderfully beneficial, readable content.
- Content marketing makes for great SEO, but don’t make the mistake of writing for the search engines. Always write for people first, then go back and make your content search-engine friendly so new readers can find you.
- And of course, always remember the first rule of Copyblogger.
Really good content is unsurpassed at building rapport, delivering a sales message without feeling “salesy,” and getting the potential customer to stick around.
That’s why the sharpest copywriting minds are trending more toward a “content net” approach. They combine strategic copywriting with great content to get the best of both worlds. Which is exactly what Copyblogger’s been teaching readers for the past five years.
How about you? How are you using content and copywriting on your site to build more traffic, and to convert that traffic into fans and customers?
Let us know in the comments.