The Fruit Basket
In the marketing world, we often hear people use the terms ‘content’ and ‘copy’ interchangeably. In their perspective, these words mean the same — anything written with the purpose of representing a brand and its products. And while this is partially true, there is a world of difference between the purpose of writing content or copy, and the objectives they achieve. To paraphrase the idiom, they are as different as apples and oranges — both fruits, but very different fruits.
To simplify it to its core, content is a lot like an apple. It is packed with nutrient-like information about the brand, its offerings, and any latest news from the company — information aimed at educating us. In order to achieve this purpose and to be successfully engaging, long-form content depends heavily on structure, personality, authenticity, and credibility. These requirements are a throwback to content’s earliest forms — product brochures, newspaper editorials, and magazine articles. Today, you find content in lengthy write-ups such as blogs, press releases, about-us pages on websites, and DIY articles. Features such as these can be a tad bland and boring, just like the apple.
Citric, juicy, and sure to elicit a reaction — the zesty copy is anything but bland and unexciting. Unlike content, copy is written with a sole purpose in mind — to sell! This objective includes engaging online and offline customers, pitching brand perception, and most importantly, impacting sales on-the-ground. In order to achieve this, copy goes all out. Jazzy headlines, witty turns-of-phrase, bold one-liners, and persuasive calls-to-action are molded by some very clever editing to make us open our hearts and wallets to the brand and their products. While it hasn’t necessarily evolved since its conception, today, copy can be found across article headlines, Tweets and Facebook posts, corporate taglines, and more than the occasional slogans. The refreshing tang of these items attract attention to a brand and its products, making it hard to forget — not different from the taste of a ripe, succulent orange.
Which Fruit is Right for Your Business?
To know if your business would benefit more from publishing content or copy, we will have to consider what your appetite is in the mood for. After all, apart from them representing very different ends of the fruit basket of writing, content and copy also achieve very different purposes. For instance, informative, well-worded content fulfills the goals associated with the bottom of the sales funnel — those which build trust in the brand and engage with prospective customers at a personal level. On the other hand, sharp, crisp copy piques readers’ interest and entices customers to buy products, fulfilling objectives on the top of the sales funnel. To boil them down to their essence, content educates, while copy sells and it is up to the brand to decide if these fruits need to be served separately or paired together.