August 1, 2007

Content vs. Copy

Amber Simmons at A List Apart:

The distinction I make between “content” and “copy” is my own: I don’t pretend this is an industry standard. But we all know copy when we read it: it’s the marketing fluff that serves no purpose but to take up space. It doublespeaks and obfuscates. It’s the inflated speech of the politician using many words to say nothing, the sales pitch of the greasy used-car cretin whose crafty euphemisms try to disguise the fact that his product sucks. Copy is recognized by its pervasive use of agonizing words such as “leverage,” “optimize,” and “facilitate” [...]

Content, on the other hand, fills a real need: it establishes emotional connections between people. The writing has heart and spirit; it has something to say and the wherewithal to stand up and say it. Content is the stuff readers want to read, even if they have to print it to do so. (And readers will print a long piece; just because something is published online doesn’t mean it must be read online). Content is thoughtful, personable, and faithfully written. It hooks the reader and draws him in, encouraging him to click this link or that, to venture further into a website. It delivers what it promises and delights the attentive reader.

It took me a while to parse the title, which I first thought was calling for a revival of anorexic writing—but no, her point is that web writing has become anorexic; her desire is to revive it from anorexia.

Anyway, good article, and I like her content-vs.-copy distinction.

Write on, you all out there.

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