Copy vs Content: Is This The Droid You’re Looking For?

David C Justin, CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Content Creator, Star Wars Geek

Do you know the difference between copy and content? If you don’t, it’s okay. You’re not alone. I’ve been doing this for years and no one in my family can tell me the difference. That’s okay. You can always look it up on Google. Or you can just keep reading, which is much easier.

In the world of advertising and marketing, there are two types of written message: copy and content. To explain it a little better, let’s compare it to my favorite movie franchise, Star Wars!

Copy is like R2-D2.

Just like the little astromech droid at the beginning of Episode IV: A New Hope, it exists with a singular objective: to persuade you to commit some form of action. In Artoo’s case, his objective was to convince Luke Skywalker to find Obi-Wan Kenobi so they could rescue Princess Leia.

Real-world copy can be as simple as asking you to follow this blog (ahem) or convince you to buy ice cream or something. Not that it takes a Jedi mind trick to talk me into getting a hot fudge sundae. Examples of copy include:

  • Advertising
  • Sales Emails
  • Direct mail
  • Landing Pages
  • Brochures
  • Facebook Ads
  • Taglines
  • Call-to-Action (CTA)

Content is like R5-D4.

His sole purpose in A New Hope was to blow a motivator, giving the audience a chuckle as Luke whines and Uncle Owen accuses the Jawas of trying to pull a fast one while also showing you that R2-D2 is the much better choice of droid.

In business, content is written to entertain, inform or generate curiosity by sharing relevant or interesting information that is free. This has a two-fold effect. One, it shows your target audience just how much of a geek you are for your subject matter. And two, it attracts and converts prospective leads into customers, while converting customers into loyal clients. Examples of content include:

David C Justin, CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Content Creator, Star Wars Geek

Which type of droid (copy or content) is best suited for you?

To be honest, the answer is both. The best writers can gracefully and seamlessly merge copy into content and vice versa. This is where the Jedi mind trick comes into play. Again, I’m going to use Star Wars to demonstrate what I’m talking about. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan explains the concept of the Force to Luke.

“The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”

This is a great example of how content can have the same effect of copy. While there’s no obvious call-to-action (CTA) in this explanation of the Force, the information itself is enough to spark an interest and entice you to learn more. It’s an unspoken CTA. This is the same concept as writing blog posts or e-books about your business and industry. Show them your expertise and they’ll want to learn more from you.

A short time later, Obi-Wan says to Luke:

“You must learn the ways of the Force if you’re to come with me to Alderaan.”

This shows how copy can have nuances of content. The CTA for Luke is that he must learn how to use the Force, while going to Alderaan implies the promise of a grand adventure and being part of something bigger than himself. That’s the hidden content. It’s like any car commercial you see. The background scenery is always so inviting and intriguing, giving you an unwritten story that puts you at the heart of it.

Today’s copywriters and content creators are really one in the same. Blending copy and content together, they grab your audience’s attention, emotionally connect with them, show off your level of expertise and encourage them to buy your product/service. In other words, even though they’re different, those droids still have the same goal: to help you accomplish your goal of bringing prospects in the door (whether that’s physically or digitally) and converting them to customers.

If you need help with copywriting or content creation, or if you just want to talk about Star Wars, drop me a line. I’m ready to geek out with you.

Until the next time… May the Force be with you…

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