The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing

Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing

If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a menacingly blank screen, you know that writing is tough. It’s not about whipping up a good email to a coworker or posting to social media. Writing for business, especially marketing, requires a few special skills.  First, we need to describe the difference between copywriting and content writing.

Over the last ten years, I’ve seen many people confuse the two terms, especially in the freelance world of small business. Knowing the difference between the two will save you hours of frustration and hundreds of dollars. The goal is to help you avoid paying for writing services that aren’t fit for your goals.  Before you hire a writer of any type, it would be a good idea to make sure they can do the kind of writing you need. 

It’s All About Your Intent

What needs to be written? Websites can be informational, sales-driven, or meant to generate leads.  Further, each page can have its purpose and KPIs.  Blog posts are generally informative, but there should always be a point to them. All your posts should be connected to a campaign built around a goal, such as getting more email signups or free sample requests. 

If you intend to sell, you will want to use copywriting formulas designed, tested, and proven to bring results. 

If you intend to inform, educate, entertain, or delight, you’re looking for content writing.  This skill does not require any unique formulas, except the one your writer uses to stir up those creative juices. 

What Skills Are Required for Copywriting?

When looking to hire a writer, first determine intent. It’s always a good idea to look for a versatile writer – someone who knows the difference between content creation and copywriting (Ah-hem – hello there, friend; that would be someone like me). Most businesses do best with a great copywriter, who is generally well-rounded in all kinds of writing.  These are the talented folks who write your:

  • Advertisements
  • Landing pages
  • Campaign emails and texts
  • Sales materials

Skills needed to do this job well are distinctive, and they include:

  • Empathy to write for people you’ve never met to get them to act
  • An understanding of the formulas that work, and an ability to determine which are best for each project
  • Attention to detail because the wrong phrase can tank your reputation
  • Organization because there are a lot of marketing pieces in any given campaign
  • Excellent research skills
  • An ability to think outside the box

What Skills Are Required for Content Writing?

Content writing is a bit different. There’s a lot of pressure involved with writing sales copy, whereas the strains are less pronounced in materials that aren’t directly related to a return on investment.  For example, we won’t convert anyone from the About page, but we can keep them there for a while and guide them to the funnel’s next page, such as a product landing page.  Content writers usually write materials like:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Informational web pages
  • Social posts (not ads!)
  • General newsletters
  • Documents, policies, and articles

In essence, the difference between copywriting and content writing can be summed up in one word: Intent.  If you intend to sell or provoke an action, you need copywriting. If you’re looking to inform or delight, you’ll want content writing. 

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5 Visual Ideas to Draw Extra Attention to Your Curated Article Shares

5 Visual Ideas to Draw Extra Attention to Your Curated Article Shares

Finding great content published by others to share with your audience might involve less work than actually writing and publishing a steady flow of fresh, original articles, but that doesn’t mean content curation is a mindless activity. At least when it’s done well, it requires a good amount of attention and effort.

Once you’ve found content that’s worth sharing, you also need to present it in a way that both highlights the value of the material, and which emphasizes the connection with your brand, your audience’s interests, or (ideally) both.

Don’t be put off, because curated content is worth the effort, and strategically using curated content definitely deserves a place in your wider content marketing strategy. Curated content helps add to your aura of expertise on a wider range of subjects and delivers value to social media audience members who struggle to find meaningful material alone.  

If you’re seeing a lot of engagement on your curated posts, it means that you’re succeeding in attracting an audience that appreciates your role as a conduit of great content, which means it’s time to experiment further. See if you can make your very favorite curated material stand out even more, with the power of custom visuals.

Only 27% of marketers say they both have the right technology to manage content and are using it to its fullest potential, so it’s time to learn some tactics for using new tech to give your curated content more visual oomph.

Add motion to the emotion

One of the classic ways to make curated content stand out is to add a custom image. Academic research has long since proven that we absorb visual information faster. In fact, information presented visually is 43% more persuasive than text-only formats.

But images are everywhere today. You need to go a step beyond to keep grabbing eyeballs, so try using Pixaloop to create a cinemagraph-style motion-enhanced version of your chosen image.

Source Credit

When you make your stills move, they’re all the more likely to prompt people to stop mid-scroll for a second look. And once you’ve got their attention, you know what to do with it.

Quote the best bits

A good quote can resonate within your memory and keep prodding at you for days. Highlighting a particularly compelling passage from the article you’ve curated can often encapsulate the content more powerfully than its title.

That’s why one of the best ways of sharing curated content is to find your favorite pull quote from the longer article, and use a tool like QuotesCover to showcase it as a quote card.

Choose a background image or subtle design that attracts the eye, pick a font that matches the mood of the piece, but most of all, select a quote that is meaningful to you and your target audience.

Say it with a gif

The right gif compresses about a 10,000 words of detailed commentary and reaction into a single eye roll. The best gifs have even reached a kind of celebrity status in our collective memory. You know, the ones that we all know and love so much that we can refer to them with a word or two.

Credit Source

So harness the power of a gif to add a little extra magic to your curated content share. Search and browse through repositories like Giphy to choose a gif that’s related to the topic of the article or summarizes the mood of the piece – or take a different approach and share a gif that reveals your reaction to the article topic. You’ll be amazed at how expressive you can be with a gif.

Let the text speak for itself

Sometimes, you read an article, and a paragraph just jumps out at you and whacks you over the head. You love the entire piece, but that one section is gold.

When this kind of thing happens, don’t try to summarize the passage or find a short quote that represents it. Just share the mind-blowing words themselves in all their glory, as seen in this example.

Screenshot the lines that affect you the most, and share them as an image together with a link to the full article. You can highlight the specific lines in the middle of a paragraph, if it’s part of a longer section, or just post the words unadorned.

Turn text into video

Video is still the most effective format in marketing, and that’s not going away. Video has overtaken blogs and infographics to become the most popular form of media used in content strategy, and 22% of marketers say that it’s the most successful way of boosting social media engagement.

Which makes it a clever move to turn a blog post or other piece of curated content into an original video. 

There are two ways you can tackle this. One is to use a tool like Lumen5 to automatically pull the article’s various section headers and superimpose them over a series of relevant stock images. The other is to use Facebook Stories to shoot a short video introduction to your favorite curated article, talking about why you love it and what makes it so valuable.

You could turn this into a regular slot, making the “article of the week” a fixture in your Facebook content schedule.

Put curated content to work for your brand

Curated content should have a firm place in your content management strategy, but with the right tactics you can boost the impact of curated content even further. Clever tricks, like adding motion to images, using gifs or quote cards, screenshotting the best sections of text and producing a bitesize video review, makes your curated content work harder and generate even more engagement for your brand.

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Your “virtual” pocket guide to Email Accessibility

Your "virtual" pocket guide to Email Accessibility

Email accessibility, in simple words, refers to creating emails with inclusive designs that can be accessed by everyone, regardless of any impairment. If you want to make sure that your email reaches each and every customer, you must make your emails ‘accessible’. Think of the 253 million visually impaired and 300 million colorblind people before you design any email. They might be using adaptive technologies or tools like screen readers, screen magnifiers, eye tracking systems, and advanced sip n puff devices.  

Read on to understand all the best practices to make an email accessible to everyone.

  1. Always set the email title

Use the <title> tag correctly. Doing so will serve two purposes, namely:

  1. If the subscriber is viewing the email in a web browser, it will set a title on the webpage tab.
  2. Secondly, for subscribers using screen readers, it will work as a title and provide some context to them.

Take a look at the screenshot below to see how Title tag is used.

Source: Really Good Emails

  1. Encode your characters in the HTML

You must encode the characters in the HTML without fail.

Use this code to do so.

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″>

Content-Type influences how the email gets displayed. It will inform the browser or email client about the characters that will be included in the code that follows. This will help to make sure that the recipient’s reading pattern does not break even if they are reading the email through a screen reader. You can take the help of character converter tools for this.

  1. Avoid setting titles on links

If you set titles on links, it will mislead the screen readers and the reading continuity will be hampered, thereby making the content tough to comprehend. Just use the information you want to provide as the link or part of text.

  1. Write a suitable alt-text for all the visual elements used

For every visual element that you add in your email, do not forget to add a suitable alt-text for screen readers. This will make the email readable and accessible even if the images are blocked. They can be used to describe images and let the screen readers know what the image is all about.

Take a look at this email by TOPMAN that has included the relevant Alt-text for every visual they have used.

Source: Email Uplers

Note that if you have included an image just for visual appeal, you must add an empty alt=”” on the image. Screen readers will skip such images.

  1. Take help of semantic code

Semantic code enables screen readers to understand your emails better by differentiating between paragraphs and headings. The subscriber will get a clear idea about what the email wants to convey. <H1> and <P> tags must be used in emails to ensure a smooth reading experience.

  1. Use HTML Language Attribute

Often, marketers send out emails in different languages to different subscribers. For example: People in France would receive emails in French while people in the USA would receive them in English (US). To let the screen readers know how to pronounce certain words, you must set the language attribute with the help of lang=””. It will let the devices and systems know how they must display certain words.

Take a look at the different language codes HERE.

The code would look something like this:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIbqsXXGwys

  1. Fix the tables

Fixing tables informs the screen readers that it is not a data table, but a presentation table. Just use the code role=”Presentation” and it will make reading email content intuitive for the screen readers. Before sending out any email, you must always test it for such trivial, but important things.

  1. Set the right contrast ratio

Have you ever read purple text on a blue background? Difficult to read, right? That’s exactly why contrast ratio is of utmost importance. 4.5:1 is the minimum contrast ratio needed, according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. If you are using a font size of 23px or bold fonts larger than 18px, you can keep the contrast ratio 3:1. A great idea is to have a white font over a black background. No wonder, dark mode is getting so popular, these days.

Take a look at the screenshot below to understand how a higher color contrast makes things easier to read.

Source:https://medium.com/envoy-design/how-to-design-an-accessible-color-scheme-4a13ca12c92b

  1. Adjust the font size to a minimum of 14px

Make your emails easy to read by using a font size of 14px at the minimum. This size must be adjusted to 16px if you are using a light font like Montserrat.

  1. Keep a logical reading order in the emails

Subscribers with dyslexia might find it difficult to read your email if you do not follow a logical reading order. Screen readers read left to right before moving on to the next line. Therefore, you must maintain a logical reading flow that makes sense for subscribers and screen readers alike.

  1. Do not have a center-aligned copy

People having dyslexia can find it particularly difficult to read center-aligned copy. Despite its aesthetic appeal, it lacks accessibility and therefore, it is the safest bet to have left-aligned text in an easy-to-read font face.

Take a look at the center-aligned email below.

Rather than sending an email like this, it is better to send a left-aligned email.

Source: https://community.dynamics.com/365/marketing/f/dynamics-365-for-marketing-forum/372994/marketing-emails-are-always-aligned-at-center

  1. Place your links such that they are easily accessible

If you plan to use a red CTA in your email, think of the colorblind individuals in your email list. They might not be able to view those links, as a result of which you might miss out on a conversion opportunity. You must always display your links with bold font or by using the symbol >> or with an underline.

  1. Refrain from using too flashy images or GIFs

Photoepileptic seizures might get worse if you use too flashy GIFs. Use a GIF that ends within five seconds or after three cycles. Content flashing rates at 2 Hz to 55 Hz is likely to aggravate the condition in photosensitive epilepsy. Include GIFs that do not have a high rate of animation and work with smooth transitions.

Do not use such an image that would worsen the symptoms of a photosensitive epileptic patient.

Source: https://www.goodfon.com/wallpaper/explosion-colors-flashy.html

  1. Test your emails always

As mentioned earlier, never miss out on testing your emails. Email on Acid comes with a Campaign Precheck tool that helps to test the email against all the major accessibility guidelines and easily resolve the issues. The best part of the tool is that it automatically makes revisions to the code without the need to send the email code to the developer.

Bonus tip #15

Many brands use tools like Scoop.it for content curation. They must bear advanced accessibility guidelines in their mind that make the emails inclusive for every subscriber, irrespective of their location, caste, and all those demographic variables. For example: Suppose you are curating content related to Christmas celebrations for your email subscribers in the US and UK. Before doing so, you must keep in mind that people in the UK are keener to celebrate Hanukkah. Such cultural differences should not be overlooked while sending out emails. As a workaround, you can ask the subscribers about their nationality or religious beliefs in the sign up form.

Wrapping Up

Designing accessible emails will mean reaching out to a larger audience and reaching out to a larger audience means increasing the likelihood of conversions.

To sign off, I would like to share a beautiful accessible email by Salesforce to inspire you.

Source: Email Uplers

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