The art of standing out from the crowd
Copy and content – what’s the difference?
Marketing is no longer a business limited solely to glossy direct mail, printed adverts and TV spots. One of the blessings of the internet age is that we have a vast array of powerful tools to grow and market our business with only an internet connection. Good news right? Well, yes, but that’s not without a caveat. The internet is a big place and the amount of competition for your audience’s attention is gargantuan. It’s all too easy to get lost in the crowd.
That’s why it’s so important to have a couple of aces up your sleeve when vying for your clients’ hearts. And those two aces are razor–sharp copy and turbo-charged, value-adding content.
What’s the difference between copy and content I hear you ask? Fear not dear reader, enlightenment awaits you.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll cover each in detail, giving you a crash course in how to craft crisp, action-driving copy and content that will help you build a relationship with your target market.
For today, we’re simply going to clear away some of the confusion between the two terms, explaining exactly what they are and what they’re not.
Content– the art of adding value
If you’ve spent any time at all researching how to market your business online, you’ll have heard a lot of talk about the importance of good quality content marketing. That’s all well and good, but what exactly is content and what purpose does it serve?
There are many different kinds of content, each with its own benefits and specific purpose. Without getting stuck in the weeds on each, it’s enough to say that the purpose of every piece of content is typically the same: to engage your audience in your brand by adding value. The term ‘value’ refers to high–quality information that’s helpful or interesting. Good examples include things like blogs, articles, e-books, whitepapers, emails campaigns, and social media posts.
With content, you’re not trying to directly sell your customer anything. You’re simply putting your brand under their nose while adding value to their life. For example, this article isn’t trying to sell you anything, but it is introducing you to me as a marketer. In this sense, a relationship is being built.
There is no hard sell in content marketing, it’s a slow burn effect where you attract an audience, build a relationship with them through your content, before indirectly converting them into customers.
In this sense, content marketing is much slower than other, more traditional modes of marketing. However, the old proverb about being ‘slow and steady’ has some relevance here. When it comes to b2b marketing, building trust with your potential clients is paramount. That’s exactly where content marketing is king. By sharing value adding information, you both provide a service to your potential clients and position yourself as an authority worthy of trust.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal when trying to grow your business.
Direct response copy – the art of persuasion
When it comes to copywriting, there are typically two schools: branding and direct response.
Ultimately, the purpose of both is the same: to generate more revenue. The big difference between the two is the mode of transport they use to get their target market reaching for their wallets.
Direct response copy is all about persuasion. Ever seen those late–night adverts for vegetable slicers? The scripts for them are classic examples of direct response copy.
- They extol the benefits of the product in a way that tells the audience how it will improve their lives.
- They evoke notions of scarcity with mentions of “While stocks last”.
- They get social proof by getting current users of the product to tell you how it helps them.
- They throw in freebies to sweeten the deal.
From start to finish, those adverts tell you how the product will improve your life, they seek to calm your objections to buying it and they give you lots of little pushes to pick up the phone and enter your card details.
This level of cheesiness is not going to butter many cakes when it comes to a more upmarket B2B business. But the principles of good quality direct response copy are vitally important when you want your customer to act, whether its sales–based or not.
- Want to get your customers to sign up to your email list? That’s a job for direct response copy.
- Want your customer to book a free consultation? Direct response copy to the rescue.
- Trying to get more clicks on your Facebook ads? Direct response is your weapon of choice.
Branding – the art of distilling the perfect message
Who doesn’t love a perfectly phrased brand message? Think, ‘Just Do It’ (the Nike version, not Shia LaBeouf). Branding is the indirect cousin of direct response copy in that, instead of directing a response, it leaves an impression. It seeks to burrow into the audience‘s brain with clever messages, stylish typography and a good understanding of their target market.
The ‘brand’ of a company includes everything from your reception area and professional reports to your colour scheme and typeset. But where copywriting is concerned, it’s about the messages and the tone of voice. The messages you use to connect with your audience are a window to your company values and they should reflect what is good and unique about you. And this isn’t just about brand tag lines or slogans, it exists in everything from your ‘about us’ web page to your instruction manuals.
In every aspect of your copy, brand matters.
If you’re looking to get serious with your approach to online marketing, you’ll need a solid grasp of each of these tools if you’re going to get ahead of your competitors. In the coming weeks, we’re going to look at each in more detail to deconstruct how you can get your strategy bang on.
If you want a professional to take a look at your content or copy, why not give Luma a call and we can arrange a consultation.
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