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content writing vs copywriting

Content Writing vs Copywriting: What’s the Difference?

Author: Team WH
Published On: 03-05-23
Last Updated on: 10-10-23
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Content drives successful digital marketing strategies, including social media marketing, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertising.

Every piece of content sparks a new opportunity for your business to enhance brand presence, improve engagement, and connect with potential prospects. 

Even so, not all forms of content creation are the same.

Content writing and copywriting are quite different from each other. It’s important to understand how for creating content that supports business growth.

In this article, we will walk you through the key differences between content writing vs copywriting.

Content Writing: What It Means?

Content writing is all about creating meaningful content that educates or entertains readers in some way. It is also intended to encourage digital growth in the long run.

The emphasis is on high-quality and valuable content that genuinely serves a purpose and helps the audience in a certain manner. Whether it solves their problems, informs them on how to use a specific product or service, or interests them – making your prospects keep coming back.

Here are some common examples of content writing:

  • Articles
  • Blogs
  • Case Studies
  • Whitepaper
  • E-books
  • FAQs
  • Newsletters
  • Press Releases
  • Podcasts

So, What is Copywriting?

Copywriting, on the other side, is the art of weaving concise yet powerfully convincing text to persuade readers to take some sort of profitable action.

For instance, if you’re trying to sell your product, it helps showcase your offering in the best light to convince readers their life is better with it. Perhaps if you’re thinking about generating more email sign-ups, it highlights why your business is worth signing up for.

Copywriting goals vary from enhancing brand awareness to positioning an organization as an authority to driving sales.

Here are some common examples of copywriting:

What are the Key Differences Between Content Writing vs Copywriting?

The difference between copywriting and content writing is easily understandable based on their writing intent, length, impact, and SEO.

Let’s breakdown these down to understand how content and copywriting vary.

1. Purpose: A content writer informs, while a copywriter persuades 

Before creating any content for your marketing, you must understand its purpose.

Content writing is designed to inform, entertain, or instruct readers. Copywriting is all about persuading readers and compelling them to take desired actions. Content writers work to develop content that helps the audience better understand a specific topic, make a decision, or solve a problem. Copywriters, on the other hand, are wordsmiths who get people to take a sales-related action – whether it’s to purchase a product, sign up for an email newsletter, or download an E-book.

This advertisement from Moosejaw is an example of good copywriting. It’s short, funny, and makes you curious to click on it.

Since copywriters are trying to convince readers, their copies end with call to actions.

2. Length: A copywriter crafts short text while content writers deal with long-form content

Content writing focuses on informing or entertaining people, so it involves a long form of content.

You might be able to talk in one or two lines to convince readers but educating them on something will likely require an extended length. Depending on the topic, you must write a minimum of 500 words, with a maximum length ranging from 2,100 to 2,400 words. Plus, it has a longer life, often permanently residing on your website as a blog or case study.

Copywriting focuses on short form copy, making more impact with a few words. Additionally, copywriting has a shorter life, typically used for a marketing campaign or advertisement.

3. Impact: A copywriter creates a sense of urgency while content writers build trust

Another copywriter and content writer difference is that the latter establishes trust and positions the organization as a credible and reliable informational source. On the other hand, the former creates a sense of urgency to drive readers to act immediately.

For instance, copywriters create copy that promotes an instant download of free software or sign up for a webinar.

Copywriters further elicit a range of emotional responses. For instance, FOMO or fear of missing out compels consumers to purchase a product so they don’t miss out on its amazing features. Other emotions include comfort, fear, pride, and belonging to elicit fast action.

4. SEO: A content writer is more focused on SEO optimization as compared to a copywriter

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is another way content writing vs copywriting can be differentiated.

Formats typically created under content writing follow SEO practices to enhance visibility and rank on SERPs. Long-form blogs and articles published on your website use targeted keywords or phrases, titles, and meta descriptions that attract more traffic – all while building trust and relationships with the ideal audience.

Copywriters, on the other side, develop short-form content that doesn’t always focus on keywords or other SEO key practices. Since copywriting includes ad copies, taglines, or slogans, there is little focus on SEO. 

5. Conversions: Content Writing Boosts Web Traffic, Copywriting Transforms It into Leads

Content writing vs copywriting – their impact on web traffic
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Content writing aims to attract visitors to your official website or product pages. Prospects might head to your website to read informative blog posts, infographics, or case studies. Product descriptions or related content will educate them about your brand, impacting their decision-making.  

However, copywriting helps convert these visitors into buyers. Compelling website or landing page copy will encourage visitors to purchase your services. Attractive CTAs like “Start Free Trial” or “Buy Now for Special Discount” will enable them to complete the purchase.

6. Buyer’s Journey: Content Writing focuses on the Initial Stages, While Copywriting Targets the Later Stages

Different copywriting and content writing pieces offered during a buyer’s journey
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Content writing spreads awareness and educates prospects about your products at the beginning of their buyer’s journey. The content in long-form articles, case studies, or how-to posts provides valuable information without selling anything.

It helps establish a stronger connection with the target audience and build credibility. Moreover, the storytelling and informative aspects of a long content piece can improve brand loyalty.   

Meanwhile, copywriting guides prospects to complete the purchase at the later stages of the buyer’s journey. The content can be advertisement copy or promotional email newsletters, influencing a buyer’s decision.

As a result, prospects might become motivated to contact a representative from your team or create a free account.          

7. Tone of Voice: Content Writing Can Be Formal, But Copywriting Is Catchy 

Significance of tonality in content writing vs copywriting
Source

The tone of voice is a crucial factor differentiating any copywriting and content writing piece.

The content in blog posts or e-books is well-structured and grammatically correct. Although these content pieces can be conversational, they will never be too casual while talking to the reader. Content writing will provide actionable insights while being readable and understandable.

On the other hand, copywriting can be very conversational and match the reader’s tonality. There might be incomplete sentences that seem grammatically incorrect but can potentially hook readers.

So, PPC ads, billboards, or social media posts may have informal and catchy language that can influence a purchase. 

Copywriting Vs Content Writing: An Example

Let’s understand content writing vs copywriting with the help of simple content examples.

Consider an article on “How to find full-time jobs online?” with detailed steps to search and land your dream job. It can be a long-form article with a variety of subheadings, including –

  • Basic online job search
  • Understanding job profiles
  • Things to keep in mind while applying
  • Resume and interview preparation

The tonality will be simple yet a bit formal – suitable for all types of readers. If it’s a company website blog, the brand can add internal links to service pages on relevant keywords.  

Then, if the reader finds the content valuable and decides to opt for the brand’s services, they’ll find engaging copyrighting on the service page. It can briefly describe the service, such as a job-searching platform, along with the benefits.

Moreover, multiple CTA buttons like “Get Started Now” or “Try it for Free” can influence a customer’s decision.

What to Choose: Content Writing or Copywriting?

It all depends on your business and content marketing strategy. If you want to increase sales or generate quality leads, choose copywriting. If your interest is to engage your audience and build relationships while establishing your brand as a thought leader in your niche, then content writing is, of course, the better choice.

Even so, a good marketing strategy uses content and copywriting both.

It’s because copywriting is salesy, and if used consistently can hamper your business reputation. Content writing will ensure balance by delivering informative content that makes your brand come across as trustworthy and authoritative.

When you understand the differences between content writing vs copywriting, you’re in a better position to use both in your marketing strategies to drive growth.

In the end, keep your content of value and quality! 

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