Copy Versus Content

Copy is content, but content is not copy. Once you decide to generate your own copy and content, you may be overwhelmed by all the different terms professional writers use. You don’t need to know them all to write compelling, effective copy, but it is a good idea. 

copy and content

Copy is short-form writing; content is long-form. Copy seeks action while content drives the reader toward comprehension. To remember the difference, just count the letters in each word. Copy is four; content is seven. 


Advertising and marketing writers generally prefer copy over content. Copy is short, sweet and to the point. If a CTA needs to be used, chances are copy is being generated. Copy harnesses the power of persuasion and brand awareness in digital and print mediums with the least number of words possible.

With attention spans being shorter these days for a multitude of reasons, copy is the most useful for warm leads and those who are in the advanced stages of your sales funnel. 

Effective copy is whittled down and focuses on actions. In general, copy is between three and ten words per section. Think headlines, kickers and CTAs. Emails might be a bit longer but are generally shorter than five or six lines. 

This type of marketing writing focuses on persuasion. Most of the time, copy is standalone. There is no context because the focus is on getting the reader to act within the next few seconds. Actions could be to buy something, like a post, follow an account, or subscribe. 

Optimized copy is need for:

  • social media posts
  • YouTube video descriptions
  • sales funnels 
  • UX/CX

Content writing

Copy uses words to get your niche to act; content uses words to inform and engage your audience. The reader goes on a longer journey when they read your content. This type of writing informs and does not necessarily include a pronounced CTA. Content needs to be valuable and shareable to be effective. 

copy versus content

You want clients and colleagues to take time out of their day to read something you have generated and to perceive it as valuable. Review which of your blog posts or social media have gained the most traction and expand upon them. 

With content, captivate and build trust through data, anecdotes and reasoning. Start where your readers are and take them on your journey. Because content is so long, break up text with visuals. Aim for no more than four sentences per paragraph. 

Optimized content is needed for: 

  • video scripts
  • email newsletters
  • keynote speeches
  • white papers
  • web page copy
  • landing pages

When to use copy and content

When writing, focus on the intent of each word and how it serves your overall purpose. A landing page sells products and promotes conversion. There is distinct action desired, and each word drives toward a CTA. An optimized blog post may educate readers via content on the difference between a Tudor and a Cape Cod home and then encourage them to subscribe for more. Content can perform well in shades of gray. Explore both sides of an argument and go into great detail when needed. 

copy versus content

Copy can be on the black and white side. You do not need SAT words or flowery language when getting a lead to act. Don’t focus on having a certain style in your copy; focus on building relationships and trust in the least number of words possible. Some companies even prefer only a hard sell that demands urgency.

How to write effective copy

Copy should never draw attention to the words being used to promote a product or service. 

Everything in copy needs to be clear and each word must serve a purpose. Cut all helping words such as may, help or should to whittle down your copy. Grammar and usage must be on point since any mistake will be obvious when attention is tight. Use common spellings and words/terms to prevent leads from tripping over your language.  

copy versus content

Copy headlines must be memorable, urgent and specific. Ensure that everything is about the reader’s need. You can use the word ‘you’ effectively in most copy as long as it is sparing. 

Once your words are shortened and focused on action, read your copy out loud to a friend or into a recording app. The trend now is to make every piece of copy and content conversational. This helps the web crawlers perceive your work as valuable. 

How to write effective content 

Content is easier to optimize than copy. You never want to stuff keywords into copy, and content allows web crawlers to perceive your work as being worthy of a higher ranking, increasing traffic and brand trust. 

copy versus content

Engage with your headline. Google rewards writers/companies that use search intent in their headlines. Think ‘How to Write Effective Content’. Hook readers with an interesting fact or anecdote. Include statistics, data and metrics to build trust. 

Focus on your main point and bolster it with supporting points. Use as much evidence as possible within short paragraphs. Break up points with pleasing visuals. 

copy versus content

Just as with copy, content needs to be well-edited. Pick one style and use it throughout. AP style is a favorite for many writers. 

Copy and content can be a challenge if you are focused on building connections with your buyers and sellers. Allow me to take care of all your copy and content needs. Call 786-208-0451 to get started today.

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