Where does your content spend go? According to The State of Content Marketing survey results, 41% of marketing budgets are spent on content, and 77% of marketers said written content would be their top content marketing focus in 2019.
So, obviously content — more specifically, written content — is pretty important to today’s marketing strategies. With marketers placing so much weight on written content, its creation shouldn’t be randomly assigned.
Effective content marketing copy needs to be written with the audience in mind. Not only does it need to match the voice and tone of the company it’s coming from, but it also needs to resonate with audiences, provide value to readers and fit into a larger marketing strategy.
Because of all the nuances involved, marketing content should be created by someone who specializes in targeted, written communications: a content marketing copywriter.
Copy Vs. Content
Copy is words — web copy is simply words on your website. Marketing copy is words that are strung together for marketing purposes.
Content is a little broader than that. Content is information, or a thing that can be communicated or expressed. Content isn’t limited to just written language; it can encompass videos and images and interactive experiences. But behind all of that is great copywriting.
“Video content obviously involves elements other than writing; however, copywriting is involved in all of those pieces of content as well,” says Karin Krisher, who led New Breed’s Content Team before switching into a customer experience role. “There’s a piece of all marketing content that’s the ideation and thought formation, and that involves copywriting in most cases.”
The HubSpot Academy’s content marketing course defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing and business process focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Some people differentiate copywriters and content writers by the actionability of their creations, arguing copywriters compel readers to take an action and content writers have broader goals like informing or entertaining. However, within the realm of inbound marketing, both roles have the same end goal, and the only differentiator is how far away from that goal the copy is.
“People think copywriting is specifically intended for somebody to take an action and content marketing writing is not necessarily that,” Karin says. “I would disagree. All copy is sales-focused copy, ultimately. We’re at a place in marketing where it needs to be so aligned with sales that you’re essentially one team, and all effort is driving to the same goal.”
Writing’s Role in Inbound
Inbound marketing starts with buyer personas, hypothetical descriptions of the types of people you market and sell to based on market research and your current customers. Every inbound marketing effort, from your website itself to the channels you conduct sales outreach through, should be targeted to your buyer personas.
“All your inbound campaigns focus around how you’re going to draw the right people in,” Karin says. “If you’re writing top-of-the-funnel pieces — let’s say you’re writing a pillar page — that’s being used to generate visits. The actions required are that somebody finds you and that they click on the link from their search engine.”
Without content, inbound marketing doesn’t work. Content is an essential part of delighting customers and keeping your flywheel spinning. Your SEO and paid strategies draw visitors to your website, but your content is what keeps them there and keeps them coming back.
What Do Content Marketing Copywriters Do?
What don’t they do? Content marketing copywriters create landing page copy, e-books, video scripts, blog posts, social media calendars and more.
“We write content with a purpose,” Karin says. “The purpose isn’t necessarily the same as the action, although that’s also part of it. The purpose is not ‘to sell’ or ‘to get somebody to click.’ It might be, instead, to inform a group of people that there’s a better way for them to run their demand generation program and assist them in doing that.”
The “goal” of a blog post might be to collect an email address so you can keep marketing to a person, but content and copy can have dual roles. The inbound methodology dictates that you should provide value before you extract value, hence the need for purpose.
That’s where the writing and the strategy can get jumbled up. Each piece of writing should have a purpose independent of everything else surrounding it. That purpose is the reason why that particular piece was written.
But in addition to its purpose in and of itself, marketing content also has a role in the larger content strategy.
A blog post’s purpose could be to inform readers, but on top of that, it aims to convince readers to click the link in the CTA (its goal), convert on a content offer and progress through the buyer’s journey to become a customer (its role in the overall content strategy).
How Do Marketing Content Copywriters Craft Content?
At New Breed, we have a refrain we like to use when describing our copywriting services: “You’re the experts in what to say, and we’re the experts in how to say it.”
Copywriters translate information and expertise into a final product that can be easily consumed and understood.
“Marketing writers are writers because of the way they synthesize information and then share it with someone else,” Karin says.
But marketing content copywriters don’t just pull information out of thin air. To create content that is not only well-written but also contains valuable information about its subject matter and contributes to the greater conversation about that subject, writers interview subject matter experts.
“Understanding what is most important to the people you want to target and being able to speak to it and also speak to the matter at hand requires both subject matter experts and writers,” Karin says.
A writer’s area of expertise is how to communicate. A subject matter expert has a different focus. They know their subject, but might not have the time, background or bandwidth to best communicate the information to a well-defined target.
If a copywriter is writing about laser surgery, they want to talk to someone who’s an expert in that. While they can do research independently, that won’t be as time-effective as interviewing an expert directly, and the piece won’t contain any information that doesn’t also exist elsewhere.
“You’re not just writing because of the feelings inside you,” Karin says. “You’re writing with the purpose of clearly communicating a topic to an audience. When you have facts, like that this person said something, you give the piece more authority.”
What Is A Marketing Content Copywriter?
A marketing content copywriter creates written content targeted to a specific audience that fulfills a purpose. Their craft is to communicate information to an audience, enabling them to write about anything.
“A good content marketing copywriter should be topically versatile and procedurally skilled,” Karin says.
With written content playing a major role in marketing today and needing to accomplish multiple things at the same time, it’s important to have copywriters on your team who can expertly create content that benefits both the readers and your company.
Quinn is a writer and copyeditor whose work ranges from journalism to travel writing to inbound marketing content.