Driven by competitive market necessities, effective copywriting has become a pivotal skill in digital marketing. Although sometimes perceived as separate disciplines, content writing and copywriting are actually two parts of a larger process, warranting careful consideration for their role in a business’s communications strategy.
Both activities rely on the principles of copywriting to inform the creation of compelling content, even though their purposes differ. Copywriting, although not completely purged of content, is focused almost entirely on the message.
The key is using language that motivates potential customers to read the article and share it with their colleagues. Content writing is much less focused on the actual message. Instead, it is the creation of text-based content that aims to serve a particular purpose, generally, which is to inform or help.
Content is such a broad term that it’s difficult to define, but here I’m referring to business-to-business marketing (or B2B for short) content, so it means the discovery of useful information or resources, which is then delivered to your reader.
Content includes all visual, audible, or communicative forms like blogs, product updates, etc. It’s a way of providing a service to others. On the other hand, Copywriting is written words that contain a persuasive message and are intended to influence the reader. It can also be used to attract interest to products.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main differences and similarities between content writing and copywriting and the unique value each provides a business.
What Does Content Writing Mean?
Content writing is a form of art and an area in which marketers and writing experts toil to bring out the best in their content by refining it every step of the way. Well-written content that is rich, original, and informative results in giving value to your readers. Such content increases the visibility of the brand and hence helps you achieve your marketing goals.
Writing for the web tends to be less structured and more navigable. Attention spans are shorter, with audience members looking for a few pertinent facts to take away. Independent research shows that the average attention span had dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8 seconds in 2015. It’s a very challenging task to write compelling content that gives value and makes your audience sit up and read it at one go. One of the best ways to create attention this millennium is to use visuals like charts, surveys, images, etc., to convey the message to the reader.
In a nutshell, your content is what builds interest in your business and a valuable online presence beyond SEO. When you put out valuable content, prospects can see that you are a serious, competent, and trustworthy business worth investing in. Good content lets your customers know that you’re professional and have something of value to offer.
At the same time, strong content builds trust between you and your customers. You can choose to highlight your brand, culture, products, or services. Your content is the backbone of your business’ digital presence, which is why it is crucial that your online content is supported by a solid digital marketing strategy.
What Copywriting Means?
Copywriting, or writing the actual text for marketing or advertising purposes, has been around since the dawn of business marketing. The internet has made it easier to connect and engage with other businesses and customers, and the copywriter is now an integral part of most marketing departments.
While content writing is vital for developing a strong, useful online presence, copywriting is the real backbone of those efforts. This is because copywriting has the power to immediately engage your reader and connect with the right person.
Copywriting involves writing words using artistry that leads your prospects to want to click on your links and explore more about your offers and services. Through such artful writing, you create interest and more requests for information. The focus is on message. To retain their attention, the writer needs to constantly ask questions that the reader is dying to know the answers to. Copywriting is primarily used for e-content and in direct mail advertising, but it can be nearly impossible to separate the two.
Copywriting is primarily concerned with writing and is mostly about the message. With the copywriter, you are most likely to see words like seduce, motivate, and compel. It is a form of communication that promotes a product or service with a specific aim is to influence readers. Copywriting is usually considered to be a persuasive form of communication, and it normally relies on logic and emotion though the objective of copywriting is to convey a clear and persuasive message to the reader.
Now that you have a basic understanding let’s look at how copywriting and content writing are distinct.
Content Writing vs. Copywriting; 7 Differences That Matter
Content writing and copywriting are interlinked and interdependent. So, let’s talk about ten differences that will finally make you take the decision about which type of writing you have to choose. Whenever you have a choice between content and copywriting, it’s wise to decide based on how you will use the content in a marketing campaign.
1. Copywriters Sell, While Content Writers Inform
Copywriters are messaging experts. They take a brand’s unique message to the marketplace with the aim to influence potential customers. They bring their unique talents of persuasion to copywriting, which includes hooking the reader in to read the whole sales message. Content writers aim to create or integrate valuable resources that inform the reader.
It’s important to understand that while both types of writing aim to draw attention and influence, each has a distinct purpose. Content writing helps the reader find valuable resources or understands the key takeaways in the articles or content. Once the content is out in the market, don’t be surprised if your content gets picked up and quoted by other sites or used for other purposes – it’s normal.
Copywriting, on the other hand, is usually intended to sell the business’s product or service, online or off. A good copywriter will create an emotional connection by incorporating persuasive scripts, compelling headlines, and well-organized content that is designed to both inform and convince.
2. Copywriting Inspires Urgency and Emotional Responses
The goal of copywriting is to prompt action. It speaks to us – consumers – at an emotional level by using emotional words that appeal to our hearts and make us want to buy something. Copywriters use language to evoke senses in a way that stimulates positive emotions and pleasant experiences. They use language that appeals to the emotions and senses.
Thus, copywriting is a vital component of constructing an effective marketing message that motivates the consumer to purchase. The reason why traditional copywriting is necessary when crafting marketing messages is that consumers are more experiential. They want to feel what the brand is promising. Words are used to elicit an emotional response, and in turn, persuade prospects to take action.
Content writing, on the other hand, is a way to share information with your readers by providing them quality content and valuable resources anywhere you are or at any time. They have a far less assertive tone, with the primary aim to persuade.
3. Content Writers Craft Long-Form Content
Content writers usually craft long-form content, which is generally in the form of blogs or articles. It has a good balance of both critical thinking and practical hands-on advice. Content-writing is usually sourced from third parties rather than directly from your company. It may venture into the realms of editorial writing – writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and critique.
However, commonly, in long-form content, facts, and lessons are processed to give the reader valuable insights. It is imperative that when creating content with a long-form that you ensure you deliver on what you promise to the reader. As a writer, it is your job to make it look easy and simple to understand. Get your reader’s attention at the beginning and sustain it all the way through. Always keep them in mind. Highlight what their pain points are and illustrate how exactly your solution helps them. Doing this will help you build credibility.
Copywriting, on the other hand, is usually limited to advertisements and marketing copy that is shorter in length and focused on the sales message. Though it has lots of differences, copywriting has one thing in common with content writing, which is to pack a message in a creative manner. It’s critical to wrap a powerful message in appealing language to compel the prospect to take a certain action. Copywriting is, in fact, short-form content and thus utilizes keywords to get the message across while ensuring the brand’s voice is still strong to create a sense of authority and trust.
4. Content Writers Justify Their Work, While Copywriters Evoke Emotion
In content writing, the responsibility to connect with the reader and persuade them to take action often falls to the writer. This means that writers must be able to express their unique voice and differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. Copywriters, on the other hand, use an assertive, authoritative voice to capture the audience’s attention. Their job is to make sure the consumer takes action, so they have a lot of persuasive power in their hands.
Content writers encounter criticism on a regular basis. However, this merely motivates them to write better. On the other hand, copywriters are focused on creating a positive response and emotion from their prospects. If they can’t evoke their readers’ emotions, they don’t have a successful sales copy.
5. Content Writing Is Usable by Anyone, While Copywriting Is Subjective
Copywriting is a subjective art form, with different copywriters choosing to approach it in their own unique way. This is why a single concept or product can have many different marketing messages. The tone of voice can vary depending on the writer’s intentions and the desired end result.
Content creation, on the other hand, is less subjective, and the same quality content (or something very similar) can be posted across multiple platforms. Due to the nature of content writing, it can be used by anyone, and it doesn’t have to be copied or repurposed just to fit in with the business’s overall marketing strategy.
Understanding this is crucial for marketers to realize that content creation is part of the digital marketing mix. Content creation is important to establish a strong digital presence and remain relevant online. Long-form content has become a new norm online.
6. Content Writing Prioritizes SEO While Copywriting Prioritizes Marketing
Because of their varied purposes, content and copywriting have different priorities and can benefit your business in different ways. Content writing is all about good SEO. It’s a trend to write well-researched articles that are highly informative and are for the readers. The reader is king because the content needs to be aimed at meeting their needs. After all, that’s the only way the content will be found on search engines.
However, copywriting is all about marketing. The goal is to influence your reader into taking action. Good copywriting has to be persuasive and grab the attention of the reader and convince them to act now. All these aspects deliver a relevant and effective piece of copy that can cause your reader to buy your offering.
7. Content Writing is all About the ROI, While Copywriting is all About Sales
Content writing is a strategy used to increase a brand’s visibility and increase leads and traffic. The goal is to ultimately drive revenue for the business. Copywriting, on the other hand, is often used as a sales tactic to finalize sales whilst influencing the prospect of making a buying decision. This may sound like the same thing, but the techniques and purpose are quite different.
The tactic is actually the opposite of strategy. The tactic is the idea that you employ to achieve specific short-term goals in order to achieve your long-term business goals. Sales copy specifically is created on an ad-hoc basis with the goal of coercing the reader to take action as soon as possible.
On the other hand, content writing is relevant all year-round. It aims to improve brand awareness and drive traffic to a website with the intention to build long-term relationships with customers. It’s geared towards long-term results, not short-term goals. The sooner you are aware of the critical difference between the two, the better you will understand how to use each writing style to reach your goals.
Every marketing effort needs content support, and content writing is one of the best ways to achieve this goal. Content writing establishes a solid online presence wherever potential customers are. It helps to establish credibility and trust, providing a platform for customers to discover you and connect with you.
The differences between content writing and copywriting have been highlighted so you can see the importance and impact of both these skills in your marketing plan. When you understand the difference, one can see how important creating high-quality, captivating content is for your business.
While you may not choose to write the text for your next company sales pitch, you certainly can incorporate the principles of copywriting into your content writing strategy.