What’s the difference between copywriting and content writing?

While the two terms may sound substantially similar, there are a few differences between copywriting and content writing. Each of the two present their unique challenges and require distinctive skills.

To begin, it’s important to emphasize that the primary difference between copywriting and content writing is the purpose.

While copywriting focuses more on conveying a brand’s persona, mission and vision, content writing purports to inform, entertain or educate consumers/audiences about a certain topic. Moreover, a good copywriter should have a basic understanding of SEO, whilst a good content writer must have advanced to expert knowledge of SEO.

While the ultimate goal is to persuade a consumer or user to perform a certain action, there are some slight discrepancies between the two.

Copywriting

The starting point is that copywriters write copy. Ultimately, copywriting helps a brand’s products and/or services appeal to consumers by aligning with their target market’s values, beliefs and ideologies.

Copywriting is all about branding, branding, and more branding. Rather than straight up pushing products and/or services, copywriting sells the consumer on ideas, emotions and the like. Between the two, copywriting is more closely aligned with a brand’s marketing strategy compared to content writing.

The following are examples of what copywriters write:

  • Advertisements
  • Slogans and/or taglines
  • Landing pages
  • Website content
  • SEO-friendly content
  • Email campaigns
  • TV or radio scripts
  • Press releases
  • Catalogs
  • White papers
  • Billboards
  • Sales letters
  • Direct mail letters
  • Social media content

The effectiveness of copy can generally be measured in the short-term. An example of a client seeking to hire a copywriter might have the goal of generating sales with big returns as soon as possible.

However, this can differ depending on the type of copy, client’s goals, client’s business offerings and other circumstances.

Content writing

The starting point is that content writers write content. Alike to copywriting, there needs to be a purpose behind the content. In other words, the goal behind content writing is to inform.

The content should ideally align with the brand’s ideologies, beliefs and values. At the same time, content writing is intertwined with the brand’s strategic business and marketing plans/goals in order to attract awareness and interest of new and potential audiences.

Unlike copywriters whose primary role fits within the company or brand’s marketing strategy, content writers can write about pretty much anything.

Below are a few examples of what content writers write:

  • Blog articles/poses
  • Newspaper articles
  • Magazine articles
  • Whitepapers
  • Email newsletters
  • E-books
  • Magazines
  • Social media content
  • Podcast scripts
  • TV, film and radio scripts

Unlike copywriting, content writing typically contributes to a longer-term strategy pertaining to the brand’s long-term business and/or marketing strategy. Ultimately, a good content writer will have a knack at storytelling. Most importantly, the story is so immersive that the reader forgets that the purpose of the content is to persuade you to purchase a product or service.

While it generally takes longer to see results and measure effectiveness, it is possible that some clients will see results almost immediately. This isn’t always a case of the best content writers being able to achieve goals faster; it’s dependent upon a variety of variables.

So what?

As mentioned in a previous post, entrepreneurs, brands and businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the value of hiring a professional copywriter or content writer. While there is some degree of competition in all writing fields, it’s important for content writers and copywriters to continuously research and keep up with trends.

There are endless opportunities for writers of all kinds. What’s more, don’t feel compelled to categorize yourself as one type of writer or another. If you’re confident in your skills and the results you’ll bring to your clients, there’s no need to be so pedantic about what you need to label yourself as.

Published by Steff

Professional copywriter.

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