Listen, I get it. We want things to be clear. And simple. And well-defined. But in the loosey-goosey world of writing, some things overlap. Take blogging and copywriting. What’s the difference? Are they different?
Note: If you’d prefer watching a video about this topic, I’m embedding one below from my Ask the Copy Bitch YouTube channel.
As for blogging vs. copywriting, it all depends on the purpose. Someone who starts a blog as a hobby, just to share their navel-gazing thoughts? Yes, that’s blogging at its purest, the true epitome of a web log, which is where the word “blog” comes from. I’d never in a million years call that example copywriting.
But blogging can be a subset of copywriting. Refresher time! Copywriting is any writing that sells a product, service, or cause. Your grandma isn’t going to hire a copywriter to blog about her garden, but the garden store down the street might very well hire a copywriter to blog for them.
The goal of the garden store’s blog is to capture people who are already searching on relevant phrases linked to what the garden store is selling. The idea being that if you bring in someone who is already searching for, say, “best mulch for flower beds” (1900 searches a month) thanks to a kick-ass blog post on that subject, well . . . you likely see where this is heading.
The person reading the blog post might take further action—ordering something from the site, visiting the store in person if they’re local, following the store on social media, and/or subscribing to the blog (the latter actions allow the business to stay in front of the prospect).
You get the idea. The blog post was written to answer a prospective customer’s specific question—and to possibly make a sale.
And that’s precisely why I consider blogging a subset of copywriting. While a prospect might need more than one well-written blog post to convince them to buy, the blog post still provided an important first step in their journey.
Jargon alert: We call this the “top” of the sales funnel where we provide high-quality content to attract people who are just getting started on their buying quest and doing searches in Google. Once we lure them to the site via the blog—and they hopefully take another action, like subscribe to the blog or sign up for email alerts—the goal is to stay in front of them and help nudge them down the sales funnel until they are ready to come out the other end as a customer.
Hey, I warned you about the jargon, right?
Bottom line: I consider blogging an essential service that I offer as a freelance copywriter. In fact, I’d say blogging probably makes up 70 percent of my copywriting business. Today alone, I blogged about vaginal atrophy, social media screening services, how to market a senior living community, and tips for being successful in beauty school.
How do blogging and copywriting work in real life with my clients?
When I blog for clients, I will . . .
- Do keyword research using SEMRush (I highly recommend this tool. And I recommend following the SEMrush blog.)
- Create a blog editorial calendar, one that works in harmony with all the other marketing initiatives the company has for the quarter
- Talk to subject matter experts, as needed
- Research, research, research
- Draft the blog post—and social media posts to promote it (and sometimes newsletter content to promote the blog posts as well)
- Monitor traffic/engagement
- Revise/refresh past blog posts, as needed, based on analytics
So kids, to recap: blogging can be an important sub-set of copywriting. And if you decide to enter the wonderful world of freelance copywriting, I can (just about) guarantee that you’ll do your fair share of blogging.