Content and copy. The dictionary doesn’t place these two very far apart, and some marketing agencies tend to throw them around in buzzword-y fashion — so you may be surprised to find that there is a solid difference between the two.
Copy is the more “traditional” term for a copywriter’s contribution to marketing collateral, hailing from the days when print advertising was the biggest game in town. Content, on the other hand, describes web-based material (both written and visual) that a person can feast their eyes upon while surfing the web.
So, which term should you use in your next meeting, and which should you ditch? Let’s break the suspense. If your goal is to be more thoughtful and strategic about how your brand presents itself online, you should be striving for high-quality, creative content.
The more you dig into the differences between quality content and run-of-the-mill copy, the clearer it gets that a content plan is what you should be fixated on as the digital age gets even more digital. Here are three key distinctions that inspire our content-centric campaigns at Mondo.
1. Content Is Way More Than Words
Words alone don’t cut it these days — content creation is about multiple elements working as one. Think about how your visuals and text work together, factoring in both creativity and usability. Your content should do more than just excite and delight; it should be “digestible” for your modern, on-the-go reader (i.e., having sections flow seamlessly in an email campaign or custom landing page).
2. Content Is Consumer-Centric, Not Product-Centric
What sort of value can this thing provide? It’s the first question we content creators ask ourselves before plunging into a new project. Believe it or not, when we build blogs, email newsletters, and social media posts, we’re not trying to close sales left and right — content should provide an answer first, and a sales pitch last.
The primary goal of a good content marketing strategy should be to instill enough trust in your brand to become an industry authority. Give them something useful to show that you know your stuff — a hotel can provide travel guides, whereas a brewery may share educational brewing information or tips for food and beer pairings. If your content can answer the questions of your readers, brand loyalty will follow.
3. Content Is Engaging (That’s The Goal, Anyway)
While copy is a straightforward transmission of information, think of quality content as the gateway to kicking off (or continuing) a conversation. It should be creative, unconventional, and entertaining to the point where it resonates with with your audience and becomes “shareable.” That’s the ticket to getting your high-quality content in front of fresh eyes. Think about it: would you share posts from a business’s Facebook account if all it did was push a product like George Foreman at a county fair? Chances are you probably wouldn’t (unless it’s your own business, of course).
Next time you’re writing for your website or your next email blast, stop and think about whether your marketing materials consist of copy or content. And if you’re truly stuck on ways to offer value or inspire dialogue, you can always reach out to a crew that does this kind of thing on the daily. Seriously, we know a few guys and gals.