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Ad Copywriting and Content Writing: The Twin Pillars of Digital Marketing

December 17, 2021 | Northwoods Team, Your Trusted Digital Trail Guides

5 Minute Read

Well-written web content – ad copy included – sets your business apart. It makes you look more professional, competent and committed to both your product and your customer. It tells your story, builds your reputation, and serves your industry. Search engines reward it. Most importantly: Your audiences engage with it.

At Northwoods, we’ve emphasized the informational, industry-service side of web content – blogs, product descriptions, how-to videos, case studies, and so on. Such website content builds your brand and establishes thought leadership, as well as driving sales.

But what about content your customers see before they even come to your website? Advertising copy is equally as important in driving customers to come to your website. Both ad copywriting and website content writing complement each other as essential elements of digital marketing.

Ad Copywriting Matters

Ad copywriting is writing designed to sell or to persuade users to take a certain action before they ever visit your website. Most often ad copywriting is aimed at driving customers to your website to learn more. Good ad copywriting does not trick customers into actions that aren’t in their best interests. Good copywriting connects buyers who seek a solution to a problem (B2B) or satisfaction of a need or want (B2C) to sellers who can solve that problem or satisfy that need or want.

Ad copywriting is the short game in that process – aimed at driving interest in your product or services; informational content is the long game. Even so, ad copy isn’t about search ads or banner ads in isolation as one-offs. Like content writing, ad copy – whether written in-house or through an agency – should be about creating connections that grow your business.

The Different Types of Copywriting

Ad copywriting encompasses any piece of content that promotes your brand, your products and services, and persuades users to act. It can reach audiences via legacy media platforms (TV, radio, billboards, print, direct mail, point-of-sale, sales brochures) or on digital media (pop-ups, YouTube videos, website calls-to-action, and online display ads ). Our main concern is digital, as in this social media display ad:  


The goal of this Kate Spade New York’s paid ad is to prompt the user to buy a purse. It’s brazenly sales-driven content. The simple introductory sentence opens with subtle intimacy before an abrupt pivot to a loud call to action: “Shop our surprise sale and you’ll save BIG!”

The writing looks easy. It’s not. The challenges of ad copywriting and content writing include:

  1. Thinking outside the box – Without creativity, there can’t be great copywriting.
  2. Not enough inspiration – When the right words just don’t come to you, stop staring at the blank screen. Step away from your desk and engage in another form of creativity. Refresh. Then get back to it.
  3. The competition – Stand apart from the competition. Present a unique perspective that will resonate with your audience. Make your brand shine through your writing.
  4. Not seeing the results – Failure is frustrating, but it can be instructive. If your ad copy isn’t converting, take action. Run A/B tests to see what works and what doesn’t. Where marketing creativity fails, science can prevail.
  5. Varied delivery platforms – Copywriting appears anywhere from the web to billboards, from radio to emails, from print to television. Know how to write for all of them and be ready to tweak copy to play well on various platforms.
  6. Keeping up – Lingo and design tastes evolve, very rapidly in some industries. Stay current with trends. You don’t necessarily have to adopt them, but you must be aware.

How Is Ad Copywriting Different Than Website Content Writing?

Ad copywriting should persuade a user to take action. Content writing – a blog, for example -- should engage users with high-quality content and build trust with your brand. Great content writing can improve SEO and generate leads, clicks, and traffic.

Digital ad copywriting focuses on easily digestible content for online audiences; paragraphs are short and headlines are crafted to grab attention. Content writing is about boosting domain authority, engaging your audience, and building trust with your audience and search engines.

Why Is Ad Copywriting Important for The Web?

Ad copywriting differs from writing for magazine ads, brochures and TV because web writing is interactive and linked. Think about searching for a product or service on Google. Would you click on a poorly written ad riddled with grammar and spelling errors and thin on useful information? Or would you click on an ad that is enticing, useful, and informative?  

Why Is Website Content Writing Important?

Web content is the backbone of the internet; you need great content to rank and build trust by telling the stories of your products, services, and people. Case studies tell the stories of customers whose problems you solved. You can distribute such content through blog posts, articles, and social media. It brings together SEO, technical writing, and creative writing.

Google search recognizes and rewards great content that searchers find useful. When Google sees your website as trustworthy, your rankings will improve and so will your position on search engine results pages.

Content Writing and SEO

Every business wants to rank well on Google. Every business wants to be seen as authoritative in its industry; such authority attracts leads and helps retain current customers. Investment in good content helps you achieve that. Google analyzes the content on your site in order to understand your offerings, the hierarchy of your site, and what your business is about.

Google caters to its users. The search giant challenges you to prove that your content is useful and informational. Strategic – but not deceptive -- keywords and search terms can win Google’s favor and raise your position on SERPs. As you create content, make sure to:

  • Know your audience – Conduct research to understand who you’re targeting and what problems your audience(s) seek to solve.
  • Conduct keyword research – Know how your audience is searching. Use keyword research tools such as SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner to find keywords.
  • Have a content strategy – Optimize your content regularly and add new content based on analytics.


None of this is easy. Content writing, especially, can take time to show results. Don’t be discouraged;  you’re not alone. Northwoods can help!

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