Difference Between a Copywriter and a Content Marketer

Good content requires excellent writing. But the elements of strategy and structure need to be in place to get it to work as marketing. So, here are five elements that separate high-quality content marketing from material that’s well-written but might not deliver the same business value.

Content marketing is the strategic creation of text, imagery, audio, or video that delivers a relevant, interesting message to a customer or prospect, while at the same time paving the way for a sale.

1. It has to move the audience

The audience is made of people at many stages, including those who aren’t in the market for what you do or what your company does, but can spread the word about your content.

And audiences don’t stick around for weak commercials or carbon-copy content. They need to be moved. If your content doesn’t do it, they’ll go elsewhere. It’s a big web out there, full of delicious distraction to tempt them away.

This is where your art comes into play. If you want to take your marketing writing to another level, consider working on plays, screenplays, fiction, or poetry. Anything creative designed to create an emotional response will improve your professional work.

And yes, you can move your audience even if your topic is “boring.” Use humour, stories, or frustration. Everything we do as people creates mini stories — you can use those for content, even for technical topics like law, medicine, manufacturing, or accounting.

2. It has to earn attention

This is one of the core beliefs of a professional content marketer:

You are never entitled to the attention of your audience. You have to earn that attention every day.

Among your clients and employers, you may find that founders and CEOs can have a tough time with this. They often assume their businesses are riveting. It’s your job to help them see that the audience doesn’t have the same passion for the business that they do.

If your content isn’t successful, if it isn’t gaining attention — it might not be good enough. You may need to put in more work — find better angles, craft better headlines, and find the right tone and voice for that particular audience.

How can we tell if our content is worth consuming? If people consume and feel driven to share it. If it works for your audience, it works.

3. It has to have spark

If you’re writing for a company, somewhere in your organisation is someone with a passion. It might be the founder or a salesperson or a support person. Someone cares desperately and can show you where the spark is.

And if you can’t find anyone … you need to look for another company! I don’t say that flippantly. Companies without Business Attraction don’t tend to last long. And even if they do, they’re no fun to work with.

As a professional writer, you are the scribe of the business you serve. It’s your role to take their beliefs and passions and give them a voice. I take this very seriously, and I think you should, too.

Be part of everything. Be curious about everything. Become a lifelong student of everything. It’s all material.

4. It usually relies on proven structures

Getting spark into your content doesn’t mean “winging it.”

There are structures that have been shown to work better, because they make your ideas easier to perceive and understand.

Here’s a structure for effective content.

Effective content is marked by:

  • A headline that instantly commands attention
  • A few sharp, focused introductory sentences that pull the audience in
  • Useful information that solves a problem the audience cares about (think about magazine content)
  • A single, focused point or “moral of the story” that the content is trying to teach. This could address a specific objection to purchase or a belief the prospect needs in order to buy, or it could lead to a call to action
  • Stories, metaphors, case studies, examples, and other techniques to engage the audience and illustrate that point
  • A well-crafted call to action that tells the audience how to take the next step

5. People have to know how to think of you

You may be more than able to handle everything above — but you also need to convey that to your clients or employers.

A successful content marketer knows how to market her own business, as well as her clients’ or employers’ businesses.

You need to position yourself for today and for tomorrow. You need to market yourself as the smartest, best solution. You need to take all of the authority and technique that you use for your clients and treat yourself as your most important client.

That doesn’t always come naturally to us, but it can be taught — and when you learn it, you will appreciate the benefits. You run the show. The web revolves around words — and you are the creator of those words.