Internet Marketing Strategy For Small Businesses: The Differences Between Copywriting, Literary, and SEO Writing

rp_writer.jpgSo you can write a book? Great!

…but that’s only half the battle if you plan on making money as an independent author. I had to learn that the hard way, when I was a young writer with eyes shrouded heavily by the thick smog of The Prestige Effect—when I had an ego the size of the Empire State Building, yet didn’t know my ass from my elbow when it came to the actual technics of how the publishing industry worked. When I wrote my first book, I went with a vanity publisher; they got my work in the market but those efforts failed because I didn’t know how to market myself. Then, I went self-published for a while and was lucky enough to be picked up by a small traditional press, but I didn’t become a bestseller because I relied on them for 100% of my marketing. It wasn’t until I broke away from them and dedicated myself to the art and science of Internet marketing that I realized how I could take the responsibility for my own literary future into my own hands.

Writers almost always focus on the discipline of literary writing, but there are actually many. In this article, I’m going to explain what literary writing is (of course), but I’m also going to compare and contrast it with two other vital disciplines of writing that are imperative to learn and become competent in. if you wish to see better results with your Internet marketing efforts.

Literary Writing

FantasyFor the average writer, literary writing usually starts at an early age, while they’re in school. They might be inspired by something they were assigned to read in class, or they might have been inspired by, perhaps, a video-game that they played, a movie or cartoon that they watched. For me, and the other writers I knew, back in school: it was all three. I wanted to put the powerfully imaginative visions that I saw in my mind, that I thought were so cool,  on paper in written form—but they were really just unoriginal kiddie twists of what I had already read or watched: rescuing the girl in school that I had a crush on in scenarios that made her a damsel in distress—being a ninja who would dash into a fray of zombies, cutting them down with a lightsaber, to rescue her (few things are cooler to a boy than a lightsaber-wielding ninja). Getting the unrealistically perfect kiss and saying a super-masculine cheesy one-liner that seemed so badass at the time. That sort of thing.

For you, of course, I’m sure it differs. However, literary writing is the art of writing the book itself. The ability to take what you see in your mind and to put it on paper, conveying the emotions of characters, etc. and leading your reader on a journey from the beginning, to the middle, to the end.

Literary writing is the discipline of developing the product, what you’d like to sell.


BrainIf you stop thinking like a writer, and start thinking like an entrepreneur, you’ll also be able to identify yourself, your brand name, as a sole-proprietorship business. I’ve shed much light on what a copywriter is in the article I’ve  previously written, called: “Everything You Need To Know When Hiring A Copywriter For Your Business, and Why You Need One”, if you were to gain more perspective than what this single article will go over.

While literary writing is the discipline of creating the product, copywriting is the discipline of selling it. This is the writing that you see on the sales pages of websites, like The goal is to illuminate the value of a conceptual product, and then emotionally engage the target audience to act, in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes copywriting leads one to buy something; other times, it leads them to, perhaps, follow a page on Twitter. Literature is the magnificent Van Gogh painting; copywriting is the auctioneer, galvanizing buyers to bid on it.

When you study copywriting, you’ll find yourself slinking into the realm that exists between neuroscience and psychology; the term for it is called neuromarketing. Though neuromarketing isn’t entirely about copywriting, copywriting engages the fundamental principles that deal with the two different cognitive systems of the human brain that pertain to customer decision making.

In a nutshell, consumers make the decision to buy something either logically or emotionally. System 1 pertains to the emotional response; system 2 pertains to the logical response. Most often, on the daily basis, humans make decisions based on system 1, which marketing, as a whole, has shaped to respond to.

The efficacy of copywriting has some objectively measurable facets to it, unlike literature—which is largely (though not entirely) subjectively judged. For instance, you could take two pay-per-click ads that have the same picture, but different copywriting, and observe the metrics of how many more people click on that ad over the other. This concept is called a/b split testing, which is a method of experimentation for marketers feeling around and finding their way in the dark for what works best for their strengths in marketing.

SEO Writing

SEOJust like how you could think of learning copywriting as the kind of writing that would allow you to play with the neural network of synapses in the consumer’s brain—regarding getting them to act in some way, you could think of learning SEO writing as the kind of writing that would allow you to play with the computer network of bots moving between websites—regarding getting them to rank you on search engines in some way.

With copywriting, you have to understand how the human brain works; with SEO writing, you have to understand how search engine bots work. Search engine bots crawl your website, and then scan, and analyze a myriad of facts about it, that they give a numerical value to on a logarithmic scale. That number tells the artificial intelligence (AI) of search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, etc.) how to rank you above or below other websites on the Internet, especially your competitors. This is one of the primary contributing factors that made blogging so important for a company’s presence on the Internet (like this one).

Throughout the years, starting from the genesis of the search engine AI, and throughout the process  of its evolution, marketers have used a series of varying tactics to get their websites to rank higher on the search engines, by fooling the system. In the beginning, this would be done by ways like filling a web page with the words that the marketer would be trying to rank for, even if it meant making the writing seem inhuman, but as programmers and data science engineers behind the technology of the search engines progressively advance it to be ever more efficient, websites are more accurately judged by how truly informative, credible, and well-written they are while keeping in mind what’s called keyword density (how often a keyword that the marketer is trying to rank for is used after every 350 words of any given article) and other factors, such as other words that aren’t necessarily the target keywords, but are relevant to the keywords that tell the bots typically what any given website is about, and how to categorize it.

Writers typically, in general, from an early age, focus on developing their skills in the literary writing discipline, all the while forgetting, or even being completely oblivious to the existence of, the other disciplines of writing that would greatly aid their Internet marketing efforts—their ability to sell a book, not merely to write one.

What A Writer Needs To Know

LearnThere are other categories of writing as well, such as technical writing, but that would be off-topic and not necessarily very relevant to what this article is attempting to achieve for the sake of your learning; if any conceivable writer, regardless of whether their product is in the fictional or nonfictional sector, wants to sell their work (or even just get noticed by others) on the Internet—they’re going to have to learn the other styles of writing, in order to drive web traffic to what they want it to be driven by, and leading them with calls-to-action (CTAs) to follow them on social media, to buy their work, etc.

A CTA is a variant of copywriting that drives readers to do something. For example, this very paragraph is a CTA, because when I say: be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook if you’d like to learn more about Internet marketing strategy and how you can use it to help you sell your books, I am driving you to do just that. It can be combined with SEO writing to build your audience online, which is what I basically do for every article, in order to help me rank on search engines, which is how you found this article if not for some other kind of link or social media. This is helping me to build a following to which I can pitch Internet marketing services to and whatever other products (such as books, and training courses) that I can make money from. You can follow the same principles that I teach here on this blog, in order to build your following and sell your book.

Thanks for reading!


Michael Norton
Michael is the bestselling author of Fighting For Redemption, as well as an award-winning essayist, Internet marketing strategist, and mechanical engineer.

Visit his personal blog at
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2 thoughts on “Internet Marketing Strategy For Small Businesses: The Differences Between Copywriting, Literary, and SEO Writing

    1. I honestly didn’t think anyone was going to like this one, but within mere minutes we’ve received likes and great comments like yours! Thanks! It’s our honor, and we’re here to legitimately help, because there are so many scams out there.

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