Copy vs. Content: What’s the Difference Between Them?
Copy and content: they sound like they should be the same thing, don’t they? Unfortunately, they mean two completely different things, though they are often used (incorrectly) interchangeably. So today, we at Helix House are going to tackle this confusing conundrum: copy vs. content….so, what’s the difference?
Copy vs. Content
What is Copy?
The common misconception is that copy is short-form posts, like social media or emails. The reality is that copy is anything that is built to sell. It can be blogs, emails, landing pages, website copy, ads, social media posts — literally anything with a call to action that says/relates to “BUY NOW,” then it’s copy. Want some examples? We got you.
A landing page is built to be a covert sales mechanism – they’re pages that are usually only seen when someone clicks on your ads. They are a smaller version of your website that is designed to sell a very specific product or service (usually what the ad is trying to sell) so the customer doesn’t get lost in the weeds of your website. Basically, landing pages have one purpose: to sell (whether it’s selling information, gathering sign ups or signatures, raising awareness, or selling an actual product). Therefore, they’re copy.
If it has “ads” in the name, then it’s safe to assume it’s copy. However, banner ads don’t have a lot of room for copy, so they’re often overlooked as such. The copy has to be precise and contains a keyword (sometimes) and a call to action. They can also use videos and animation to attract readers.
Social Media Ads
Just because it’s on social media does not mean that it’s not copy. You’re still writing an ad with an intent to sell, so the platform doesn’t matter! Picture with a description on Facebook? It’s copy. Video or reel on Instagram with some text on it? That text is copy. Hashtags and comments to boost engagement and encourage interaction? Copy, copy, copy!
What is Content?
Content is everything that isn’t built to sell. There is some overlap here: content can be blogs, social media posts, eBooks, graphics, or anything with information in it that isn’t asking the user to either enter their information, to sign up, or to buy something. Need a couple of examples? Here you go!
In general, blog posts are mainly used for SEO – to boost your website’s organic traffic, rankings, and searchability. The key word there is “organic,” meaning it happens naturally, without you paying to boost it via an ad. In fact, this blog is a prime example of content! We could turn it into copy by boasting all about Helix House’s strengths and how awesome our team is, but that's beside the point *hint hint*! Blogs can toe the line between copy and content. It all depends on why the blog is being written. If it’s solely informational, then it’s content. If you’re writing it about the company and the services it offers, then it’s likely a mix of copy and content. It’s informational but has an end goal of selling a customer on their services. If your blog is all about a service and how your company does it better than everyone else, then it’s copy. Just remember this: copy sells, content informs.
There is nothing more content-like than an eBook! They often try to inform the reader about a topic and teach them about something new. Many of them want the reader to take action, but rarely do they say, “take action by buying something!” Most of them encourage advocacy, education, or pursuing your own self-interests. The difference is that you’re buying into an idea, not buying something with your actual money. Disclaimer: Just because you may buy eBooks with actual money does not make them copy. Content like eBooks aren’t the most popular – according to the Pew Research Center, only 25% of people read both print and eBook and eBook sales have decreased 8% in 2021 but are still 8% higher than they were in 2019. Don’t give up hope though – eBooks have a time and a place. Know when and where to use them and you’ll be fine!
Which is Better?
The debate of Copy vs. Content has no clear winner. If you want to sell something, then focus on copy. If you want to inform the masses, then write content. It all depends on your goal. Regardless of your goal though, you’ll always be a winner if you incorporate some SEO into both your copy and content. Without SEO, all of that great content will go unnoticed in the dusty depths of the internet, and without SEO, copy will be shoved aside by your larger competitors and people who have an infinitely deep wallet to blast bad ads over search engines. At the end of the day, though, you’ll likely have a healthy mix of both copy and content, all optimized to their fullest. If you don’t or if you need a little help, you know who to call!