Web Copy vs. Web Content

People often use the terms ‘web copy’ and ‘web content’ interchangeably, but they aren’t the same! 

Your web copy and web content are the face of your business online. In many cases, it’s the first impression (and perhaps the last, if done incorrectly) your customers will have of you.

In order to survive and thrive in this digital economy, it’s essential to understand the intentions of and differences between the two.

So, what is the difference?

Well, it’s a simple Google search, isn’t it?

The web content definition according to our good friend Wikipedia is “Web content is the textual, visual, or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites.” 

Wikipedia’s web copy definition is “Copy, or sales copy is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.” 

Okay great, article over, right?

Not quite, in the real world, this is less clear cut. There are a lot of differing opinions on how to approach copy and content.

Here’s the most popular take on web copy vs web content.

What is website copy?

Web copy is written information designed to convince readers to take a desired action. Whether that be buying your product, signing up to an emailing list or requesting a quote. Whatever your call to action is, it’s your copy’s job to make it happen.

Copy is specific to your business. Examples of web copy are

“Copy” is typically shorter than regular content, you don’t want to give the customer any time to get bored or change their mind. You need to establish your product or service as the solution to their problems. It’s all about persuasion, your copy needs to be written in such a way that viewers feel enticed to take action. 

What is website content?

Web content is any text or media that can be found on your site. It’s centred less around selling your brand and more around the industry and your audience’s interests. It is designed to inform, educate, and engage viewers.

Web content plays an important role in establishing customer loyalty – we all know how important this is in today’s marketplace! If you publish high-quality content that appeals to your target audience and answers their burning questions, you’ll quickly earn their trust and confidence.

Some examples of web content are:

Content that is done right will include some reference to your business–but it isn’t based entirely on it, otherwise it would be copy! This practice of targeting your audience’s interests and injecting your business is fantastic for establishing brand awareness in a non-invasive way.

Content can also increase your SEO. It provides an outlet to sneak in those industry relevant but not quite brand-specific keywords that wouldn’t otherwise make it to your website.

For example, on a landing page for a sport shoe website you might include copy explaining the benefits of your shoes, these are brand-specific keywords. While this is great for people who know they want your shoes, you need a way to tap into the wider fitness community. With the addition of a blog, you can write a blog post about ways to improve your running. Now, you’re ranking for running-related keywords too.

What’s the difference?

A copywriter is somebody who writes content with the intention to sell.

A content writer writes content with the intention to market or tell.

Content writing hooks customers in at the beginning of their buying journey when they have just realised their problem and are looking for a solution. Your content educates the buyer on their options and when done right should steer them towards your product or service.

Content is an invaluable tool throughout the buyer’s full journey to establish and maintain loyalty.  

Copywriting is at the other end of the funnel, when a purchasing decision is to be made. Its purpose is to make your product or service the one they choose.

Both the copywriter and the content writer create web content.

The difference is: all copy is content, but not all content is copy. It’s simply a matter of asking yourself “am I selling, or telling?”

Knowing the difference between web copy and web content will help you not only in hiring the right writer, but also in developing your content marketing strategy. If you understand the role content and copy play in your sales funnel you can use it to your advantage to craft an online experience for your customers that effortlessly guides them from awareness to conversion.

Which is more important?

Neither.

Content to copy is what fishing bait is to a hook. Both are needed to reel in the catch.

Once your viewers trust you as their go-to source of information, they’ll keep coming back for more, then you just need to wait for your copy to do its magic.

For example, a SEO blog post about the industry or the target audience’s pain points could attract more visitors to the business’s website. From there, copy on the landing page will persuade a visitor to make a purchase.

You need content to grow your business audience and copy to drive that audience to convert. 

The bottom line

At the end of the day, content writing and copywriting are both integral to growing your business online.

If you write your landing page like a blog post, you’ll struggle to get business. Likewise, if you write your blog posts like sales copy, you won’t increase blog traffic.

You need to understand the difference between copy and content in order to come up with a content marketing strategy that works!

Depending on your needs, consider hiring a content writing agency or a copywriting agency to help achieve your goals.

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