Written word is one of the most important things for your business, whether that’s online or in print. Around 69% of B2B marketers deliberately strategize their content to boost business. Out of these marketers, 42% agree that great content increases the effectiveness of their business. So, what exactly is content? Is it different than copywriting?
Content vs. copywriting
Some people confuse some copy with content. While both copy and content are important for your business, copy is what sells.
Content is usually more educational or entertaining in nature, and copy is more promotional. Copy drives action. Copy typically includes what’s called a “call to action” to get the reader to do something (e.g. click link, buy something, visit a store).
Let’s use LinkedIn as an example. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can consider yourself your business. Your content is your LinkedIn profile. Say you have a project in mind, and you’re looking for a collaborator. Your copy is the message you send to your potential collaborator. You want the person to act (e.g. schedule a call with you), so you use promotional language in your message. (Read more about influencing people here).
It’s important to have both content AND copy to engage with your audience. It would be weird to have all copy and no content. Likewise, you wouldn’t make many sales with all content and no copy. Content can be a great way to build your brand and draw attention to your business. But copy is arguably much more important when it comes to making the sale.
Good copy gets people’s attention. Great copy sells. Excellent copy coverts window shoppers to long-term customers.
If copywriting is so important, why doesn’t every business hire a copywriter for all their advertising?
Probably the #1 reason people don’t hire professionals to write their copy is the cost. Businesses spend a LOT of money on advertising. Great copy costs a lot because it truly is that valuable. A good copywriter can easily double or triple the initial investment through a successful marketing campaign.
But if you’re a new business owner and you don’t quite have the funds for a fancy ad campaign, you can always write the copy yourself, right? Absolutely! Read below to decide whether DIY copy is right for you.
Hiring a copywriter vs. DIY copy
I want to preface this by saying I am a huge DIY-girl. I make my own cleaning products at home, and I always try to teach myself how to do something before hiring someone to do it for me. That being said…
Pros of DIY copy:
- Saves money (initially)
You can save a big chunk of money in your advertising budget if you choose to use DIY copy.
Cons of DIY copy:
A lot of business owners don’t know this, but copywriting is not like the writing you learned in school. Copywriting is more like writing how you would talk or text. Grammar isn’t quite as important in copywriting. The writing style that would earn you an A in English class might make zero sales and could even turn some people off your brand. A piece of copy could be riddled with incomplete and run on sentences and made-up words— which would seriously disappoint your 7th grade English teacher—but it could make thousands of sales.
It takes a LONG time to get good at copywriting. People dedicate their careers to studying it. Professionals must continue practicing and learning to stay sharp. Not only is it a highly specialized skill, but the field changes with new technology and trends. Some copywriting strategies have stood the test of time, and they’ll likely continue to work for businesses like yours. But one tactic that made a business owner wildly successful 5 years ago won’t necessarily work today. It depends on the niche, your business, the time period, and other factors— many of which are impossible to know if you don’t have experience as a copywriter.
If you have the many hours to spend studying the craft, then, go for it!
But most business owners have a million other things to do besides writing their own copy. If they truly put in the time it takes to learn a craft, it will take much longer to launch their campaign to sell their product. And if you take too long to launch your DIY copy, you could miss out on sales.
Losing money in the long run
Although initial costs will be very low or even zero, DIY copy will be likely be more expensive in the long run. Ineffective advertising could not only fail to bring in sales, but it could reflect negatively on your business and actively repel customers. Yikes.
If you choose to use DIY copy anyways, ask someone to review your copy for errors and for impact (bonus points if that person has marketing experience). Some beginner copywriters might be happy to look over your piece for you.
Cons of hiring a copywriter:
- Not an expert in every niche:
You can’t expect every copywriter to know everything about every niche. There may be trends they don’t know about or terms they’ve never heard, which make it difficult for them to write for an unknown audience.
A very easy solution to this is to hire a copywriter who has demonstrated experience in researching different industries. If you set up a call with them, they can ask you questions about your niche. If they’re a good copywriter, you can watch them seamlessly apply their businesses marketing expertise to your project— and make you money.
If you’re really worried about it, just find a copywriter who specializes in your niche. There are copywriters who specialize in all kinds of industries, including wellness, e-commerce, beauty, pet products, SaaS products, airplanes, cars, and so much more.
I mentioned this before, but the big reason people don’t hire professionals is because copywriters aren’t cheap. To make the most of your investment:
- Make sure the service or product you’re offering is truly excellent.
- Find a high-quality, experienced copywriter to really make your offer shine.
- Ask for discounts. Sometimes, copywriters will give you a discount if you bundle projects with them.
- Don’t just jump into a huge project with a copywriter you’ve never worked with. Unfortunately, not all copywriters can do what you’re looking for. If you’re working with a brand new copywriter, ask them to do a smaller test project for a lower price, just to make sure you have a good fit before you spend the big bucks.
Pros of hiring a copywriter:
- Time saver
Writing a piece of great copy can take a long time, and if you DIY, that’s time you could have spent doing other things. Hiring a copywriter allows you to focus on other important aspects of the business. This is especially important if you are in the online space. People want to see frequent content online. Writing, editing, and publishing copy can take a big chunk of your time away from other business needs.
- 100% original and free of grammar errors
If you’re putting out DIY copy, it can be easy to accidently take someone else’s work (i.e. plagiarize) or make spelling errors. Copywriters (and editors) are trained to notice the little things, and good copywriters never steal others’ work. That’s just bad form.
- More effective advertising
Unless you’re in the marketing field, you probably just don’t know how to advertise yourself. If you own a clothing line, for example, your expertise is in the fashion industry, not the advertising industry. Although certain aspects of fashion may also apply to advertising, you probably don’t know the ins and outs of headlines, subheadings, where readers’ eyes are drawn, and what to say in your “call to action.”
If you’re in the online space, it’s also super important that you use SEO (search engine optimization) keywords strategically in your copy. Whether you like it or not, Google analyzes your site for relevant keywords to rank in the results section after someone searches for certain keywords. For example, as an online clothing retailer, you need to make it clear to Google that you have clothes for sale at your site to ensure your site appears close to the top of the results page for “online clothing retailer.” Good copywriters know how to use SEO keywords tactfully to rank your site higher on Google.
DIY copy comes with its own unique benefits. But professionals generally yield MUCH better results in terms of sales and conversions. To survive in a competitive industry, ineffective advertising ends up being more expensive in the long run compared to hiring a professional copywriter.
Thanks for reading! Comments and suggests welcome below.