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Content Writing Vs Copywriting: Is There A Difference?

Content Writing Vs Copywriting: Is There A Difference?

In digital marketing, the terms “content writing” and “copywriting” are often interchanged.

Though both of them have their fair share of overlaps, they actually have some major differences.

If you’re new to the world of online writing, you might wonder what exactly is the difference between content writing vs copywriting.

Back then, copywriting was clearly the best choice for online businesses to make more sales.

However, with content specialists entering the market, the game has entirely changed.

Before we begin with the comparison, let’s first start by getting an overview of the two.

What is Content Writing?

Content writing is all about creating valuable content and forming a productive engagement with your readers.

It’s focused on making content that has a specific purpose such as marketing, business, etc.

Most of the time, content writing is used by businesses to attract prospects and educate them about their products and/or services via blogs, press releases, ebooks, articles, etc.

If done right, content writing has the power to attract and convert prospects even without the need to mention a specific brand.

In fact, Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2018 Report stated that B2B marketers found blogging to be one of the most time and cost-effective methods for generating leads than other traditional methods.

Apart from that, content writing has the potential to position a brand as an authority on a particular topic and provide a business with credibility on the subject it specializes in.

What It’s Meant For?

Content writing is basically intended for content marketing.

Therefore, you’ll have to make sure you can create content that markets well.

In essence, this means that content writing will help with a brand’s content marketing strategy.

With well-written content, it will be possible for a brand to reach its target audience and achieve its goals at the same time.

What is Copywriting?

In the same vein, copywriting is also about creating content aimed at attracting prospects.

However, the content is purely aimed at pitching a specific brand. Its ultimate goal is to sell a product and/or service as opposed to helping the audience understand what a business is about, as is the case with content writing.

Copywriting also aims to attract the target audience’s attention.

However, it requires a business to be one step ahead.

This means that the copy should be able to grab its audience’s attention and prompt them to take action.

It will be more about using wit and persuasive language to achieve that goal.

What It’s Meant For?

Copywriting is mainly used for branding.

It’s focused on direct, short-term goals that come with massive returns and sales.

It’s for this reason why copywriting is often the focus of landing pages, ads, sales emails, sales letters, etc.

It will be about the effective use of compelling headlines, persuasive writing, and enticing calls-to-action that will prompt the audience to either buy a product, subscribe to a service, or submit personal information such as an email address.

Content Writing Vs Copywriting: 5 Key Differences

Nowadays, most marketing efforts lean on using both copywriting and content writing for the purpose of generating leads, engaging the target audience, and making sales.

However, since both involve content, it can be hard to tell which is which, let alone understand their impact on a business.

To help you easily distinguish between the two, we have compiled their major differences in an effort to give you a more solid idea of how both of them can affect any business.

1. Purpose

The greatest difference between content writing and copywriting lies in its purpose.

In essence, content writing is about subtly telling the audience about a certain brand while offering valuable content at the same time; copywriting is about selling that said brand.

Copywriting involves the art of selling a brand, idea, or service to people. It’s advertorial by nature since its aim is to pitch customers to subscribe to a service or purchase a product.

A good example of an effective copy is the jingle you hear on local radio which you just can’t seem to get out of your head.

On the other hand, content writing involves the art of creating content.

Compared to copywriting which is advertorial by nature, content writing is either informative, educational, or entertaining.

Since it has to represent a brand’s voice, it should be something that’s worth reading.

2. Writing Style

Another major distinction that sets apart content writing vs copywriting is the style of writing.

Content writing will be about the use of appropriate keywords for search engine visibility as well as a firm grasp of how SEO works.

It’s more about the proper content structure to make it quite easy for readers to read and scan.

Additionally, it focuses more on lengthy yet valuable content that involves statistics and facts.

Meanwhile, copywriting is about the use of emotionally evoking and carefully chosen words with the power to attract the attention of the audience, keep them hooked, and persuade them to take action even with just a few words.

It also involves the use of storytelling to stir the readers’ emotions.

3. Formatting

Content writing comes in many forms.

As such, it comes with plenty of opportunities for different writing formats which include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Articles
  • Blog posts
  • E-books
  • Podcasts
  • Social media
  • Videos
  • Magazine features

Copywriting, on the other hand, used to be limited to traditional means of advertising including posters and billboards.

However, advancements in technology made it possible to produce a copy using a variety of formats including:

  • Online and offline ads
  • Email campaigns
  • Brochures
  • Billboards
  • Sales letters
  • Press releases
  • Email campaigns

4. Field of Specialty

As mentioned earlier, content writing is made for content marketing.

It’s used for gaining interest from potential customers and educate them about the business as well as its products and/or services.

Meanwhile, copywriting is designed for branding and can be traced back to traditional forms of advertising such as billboards and ads.

How to Write Highly Effective and Actionable Content

Good content without copywriting is effectively ineffective.

The same can be said to a good copy without content.

Due to this, marketers should make it a point to integrate good copy with good content to make both of them highly effective and actionable.

This can be achieved through the following content writing tips:

  1. Make use of magnetic and catchy headlines that pack a punch
  2. Avoid the use of headlines that are too cute or clever
  3. Leverage social proof
  4. Include a highly actionable call-to-action
  5. Offer valuable content for free
  6. Create enjoyable content that keeps readers interested
  7. Write for people first; search engines second

Bonus Tip: Read more on how to start content writing to get started.

The Key Takeaway

Copywriting and content writing no doubt make the best pair for marketing and branding any business.

Despite the differences, they can actually go hand-in-hand in various aspects.

Your content writing efforts should let your audience know who you are.

Meanwhile, your copywriting efforts should influence your audience to take action.

Regardless of the major differences between the two, what matters is effectively using them for attracting your target audience and building a solid image of your brand at the same time.

April Ann Quiñones


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