The golden age of copywriting may very well have occurred in the 1960′s, when scotch-fueled, skinny-tied mad men labored for hours over a typewriter in order to craft the perfect five-word slogan. At the dawn of the online era, copywriting's persuasive and artful virtues were cast aside in favor of keyword stuffing and web scraping, which did more to win over the mechanical hearts of search engines rather than the true hearts of consumers.
"Just Put More Content On Your Website, You'll Be Fine"
While there's little doubt today that black-hat techniques do more harm than good, true copywriting has yet to make a full-fledged comeback. In fact, website content is still viewed as a commodity - something that can simply be outsourced at a large quantity and slapped onto a website, netting vast and positive search results. Why else are content marketplaces and article spinning software still so pervasive?
Truth Bomb: True Marketers Don't Produce Content
While it may seem like mere semantics, there is a stark difference between website content and website copy.
- Press Releases
- Video Transcripts
- Product Descriptions (manufacturer)
- Executive Summary
Contrast that with website copy, which should tell a story, explain a concept and persuade readers to action. Whereas content (while necessary) is boilerplate and mechanical, copy is built for conversion.
- On-Page Text
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Updates
- Product Descriptions (original)
- Advanced Content (white papers, eBooks, guides)
As such, marketers should espouse copy over content. Effective copywriting requires thorough research and thoughtful editing, conducted by a subject-matter expert and a professional writer. It won't be fast or cheap, but will pay dividends.
It's The Sales Funnel, Sillyhead
When you draw a distinction between copy and content in this manner, you can see that they correlate directly to the structure of the inbound marketing funnel. Web copy is inherently top-of-the-funnel; built to generate leads, while web content builds trust after a prospect familiarizes themselves with your brand, and should be employed near the end of the sales cycle (bottom-of-the-funnel).
Don't flip your funnel! Boilerplate web content is ineffective at converting website visitors, period. They should instead be greeted with thoughtful, original and creative copy that speaks to them at a personal level.
Copywriting should be laborious and painstaking (typewriter and scotch optional) but when your finished product comes to life and wows your reader, you'll be thankful for the effort. Long live copy!