Copywriting and content marketing go hand-in-hand, right? Well, no—not if you’re doing it right. Effective content marketing requires good copywriting skills. But, being a good copywriter doesn’t mean a thing in regards to content marketing if you don’t know how to how to write in a way that’s engaging, entertaining and compelling.
Consumers don’t want to read another sales pitch; that’s why spam emails and bad sidebars on websites exist. Instead, they’re more interested in how a company and its products or services can add value to their lives.
Copywriting vs. Content Marketing
Copywriting, according to a post by Sonia Simone for the site Copyblogger, is act of writing content that persuades a reader to take a desired action. You read this type of copy on direct mailers, infomercials or sales pages. They try to make readers call a phone number for more information, check out a website, submit an email address or make a purchase.
Content marketing, according to Simone, is the act of creating content for marketing purposes. For example, a company blog that offers valuable information. Content marketing doesn’t have generally direct sales pitches, but it demonstrates to a consumer that an entity is an expert in its respective field or industry. The efforts build brand awareness, generate leads and entice loyalty. Copywriter Steve Tannuzzo shares on his blog that content marketing isn’t necessarily persuasive writing as much as it is an “informative conversation.” In addition to blogs, written forms of content marketing can include e-books and white papers.
Content Marketing Copywriting Zen
To master effective content marketing copywriting, a piece must have equal parts information, creativity and education. Furthermore, the reader needs to perceive it as helpful, entertaining and worthwhile. To achieve this balance:
Know Your Audience
A mistake that copywriters make is neglecting to learn who the consumer is. Remember, content marketing is supposed to be engaging, like a conversation, and the best way to communicate is to learn more about target audience.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post for teens, you should to use a writing style tailored to the way that young people speak, using terms that are simple for them to understand. As you write, consider the following: gender, occupation, geographical specifics, relationship status, average income and ethnicity.
Address Needs and Highlight Benefits
Readers don’t care about how a company or product is rated number one, won awards or was voted the “best” anything. They already know that companies have big egos and will say almost anything to make a buck. What attracts readers is learning about how a company can help solve a problem.
Ineffective content marketing with good copywriting may read, “Voted as the best hairclips by third graders across the nation, ABC Hairclip Company guarantees customer satisfaction. You’ll love our products because...” Better content marketing reads, “Tired of your little one’s hairclips always falling out of her hair? In addition to being an annoyance, this problem is also a waste of money. Keep reading to learn some hairstyles that will secure every lock perfectly in place and keep your cash in your wallet.”
Nurture the Reader
Chances that readers are going to spend money on your product or service the first time that they read some type of marketing copy are low. Through your copywriting, you have to let the reader know that this is OK. After all, content marketing isn’t a sales pitch, so there’s no need to “Act now!”
Instead of making demands, be generous. For example, offer an invitation to contact the company for more information, to click a link to get more free information or invite the reader to revisit the blog for more tips. Lead nurturing builds trust and eventual loyalty.
Write Eye-Catching Headlines
Headlines are the first things that consumers see, and content lives or dies by them. In this day of RSS feed readers, email and social media updates, if your headlines don’t grab attention, you’ve lost, even if your copy is stellar. Use the headlines of your marketing content to communicate something useful or of value to your reader in a way that’s specific and entertaining or fascinating.
A boring headline may read, “Learn to Grow Vegetables.” A better, attention-grabbing headline reads, “How to Grow Tomatoes so Juicy that They’ll Make Martha Stewart Weep.”
Copywriting isn’t the same as content marketing, but you can’t have one without the other. Effective content marketing ditches the sales pitches and promotions, minds rules of good writing and lures readers into wanting more.