Content Marketing and Copywriting: You Need Both
Ham and eggs. Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly.
Some things just naturally go together. Here’s one more combo that belongs in this category: content marketing and copywriting.
Even if marketing content should never directly sell a product, your content marketing campaign can benefit in a big way from the smart use of tried and true copywriting techniques. You can use copywriting to
- Make your content easier and more pleasant to read (i.e. more appealing to your readers)
- Help you “market” your content
Copywriting “Spice” Can Make Your Content Dish “Tastier”
Not all content is good content. If content is good, it provides valuable information that benefits readers. But in addition to educating and solving problems, it should be enjoyable and easy to read.
Your readers are besieged by the overwhelming amount of information readily available to them. And they are busy and easily distracted. If your content is a chore to read, it won’t take long before they give up.
So do what world-class copywriters do with their messaging: make your content easy to read.
How? For one thing, write at a fairly basic (roughly 8th grade) level. Use simple words, brief sentences, and short paragraphs. Be mindful of white space.
Look at one of your finished articles and put yourself in your reader’s shoes for a moment; do you see a vast ocean of text or do you see lots of white space? (Hint: you want to see lots of white space because your reader does, too).
Letters From Grandma
Think of the things you love to read: a letter from Grandma or an old friend, perhaps. And think of something you hate to read: the typical corporate marketing message comes to mind. So what’s the primary difference between these two?
It’s the degree of familiarity and personalization. Notice how often the personal letters you love to read use the word “you”. We all love this word. It may be our favorite word in the English language.
Notice how the personal letter is written to you and no one else. Great copywriters build familiarity and trust in the reader’s heart and mind and draw them in by using the word “you”. They talk about the reader, their pains, their goals, and dreams.
They also write to an audience of one, not to a large, amorphous, faceless group. Their copy is crafted with a very conversational tone, like two old friends having an enjoyable conversation over lunch, not like a college research paper.
If you borrow these tricks of the trade from the world’s great copywriters, your content will be much more likely to resonate with your readers.
The Forgotten Headline
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.
Here’s one more technique great copywriters use that you should too: They write headlines with the goal of arousing curiosity in the reader’s mind and making them want to read the copy.
This is critical to content marketing success. If you have a stellar content piece but a lame title, most readers will never get past the terrible headline to consume the remaining content – however fantastic it may be.
Select a title that arouses curiosity and hints at one or more benefits. This draws the reader in to the point where they can’t not take a closer look at the content.
How Copywriting Can Help You Market Content
You’re doing content marketing, but are you marketing your content? If all you are doing is writing content and burying it on your website’s “resources” page, you are costing yourself a lot of readership.
Content can be a fantastic tool for drawing prospects into your funnel but, in many cases, you have to persuade them to take that first step. When they are making a decision to opt-in to your email list and are on the fence about it, great copywriting skills can come to the rescue and seal the deal. Copywriting has been referred to as “selling through print,” but in a broader sense, it means to persuade someone to take a particular action.
That particular action could very well be to accept your exciting content offer. So whether it’s in an email, a landing page, or some other online marketing tool, use your best copywriting skill to “sell” potential readers on subscribing to your content funnel. Entice them to accept your content offer. Tell them what’s in it for them – how they will benefit when they do opt in.
Content marketing is a powerful tool. But you have to do it right to enjoy the kind of success you want. Tried and true copywriting techniques that worked long before we had smartphones and the Internet can help you enjoy stellar content marketing results.