Why Does It Matter?
Conflating the two may not seem very problematic at first. However, your business could face some issues if you hire a content writer when you need a copywriter or vice versa.
Both copywriting and content writing are integral to marketing. Yet, the resulting content serves different purposes.
You may be trying to persuade readers to purchase your product on landing pages. In this case, you would need website copywriting services.
Or you may be creating informational blog articles to demonstrate your industry knowledge, in which case you would rely on a content writer.
We’ll lay out the difference between copywriting and content writing so that you have a solid idea of the difference. This will help ensure that you get valuable content specifically tailored towards your marketing goals.
What Do Content Writers Do?
To put it simply, good content writers write to inform a target audience, while great copywriters are focused on conversions. Both write content, but they do so with different goals. This makes the language they use incredibly important.
Content Writers and SEO
The best content writers are well versed in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies. Even before they begin writing, they’re researching keywords that will boost the search engine rankings.
When content writers incorporate keywords when creating content, they’re aiming to increase the content’s online visibility.
Google will scan these keywords when it’s crawling a site. If the writing contains relevant keywords (but isn’t overly stuffed with them), it will be easier for Google to index the page so that your site ranks.
In general, content writers write more long-form content. This is another major difference between copywriting and content writing. Not only is long-form content beneficial for SEO efforts, but it also demonstrates industry knowledge and expertise.
Interesting long-form content establishes your brand as a credible source. In the long-term, this will foster a more positive brand image and increase brand awareness.
Goals of Content Writing
With that being said, what are the overall goals of content writing? We’ve created a simple key to remember the main goals of content writing called The Three E’s:
Notice that selling is not a factor here. That’s because the primary objective isn’t converting potential customers. (This is the goal of copywriting, which we will get to later.) A content writer will write something that piques interest, provides information, and makes someone want to learn more.
Consider how you yourself search on the internet. You’re not always looking to buy something. Oftentimes, you may be looking up information or just browsing product options.
Reading great content online will lead you to attribute more value to that site. You’re likely to remember that brand when it comes time to buy or refer a friend.
Example of Content Writing
Content writing can have many different faces. In fact, you’re reading a blog post right now, which is one of the most popular forms of content writing. Any marketing professional knows the necessity of maintaining an active blog.
Many content writers write dozens of articles a month to expand a company’s blog.
Examples of this type of content are:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Video scripts
- Press releases
This is not a comprehensive list. These are just several of the most popular content writing formats.
One of the best things about informational content like blogs is that it can receive greater impressions when more readers engage with it. A Twitter share, Facebook share, or other sharing method stretches the article’s reach.
Other sites may link to your blog (called a backlink), which will, in turn, boost your site. It’s like having others do your marketing for you!
What Do Copywriters Do?
Copywriters write to sell as opposed to inform the reader. Copywriters create marketing content with the main goal being to increase conversion rates.
Every industry benefits from copywriting. Conversion copywriting for SaaS is a proven effective solution for turning prospective customers into buyers. No matter what your business is selling, copywriting is key.
How Does a Copywriter Encourage Sales?
A great example of how copywriters generate sales is by addressing pain points that may affect the reader. If a reader believes that a problem they have can be fixed by investing in your product or service, they’re likely to buy in.
A copywriter tends to finish off the sales copy with a clear call to action (CTA). This persuades the reader to take immediate action. Everyone’s familiar with common marketing CTAs, such as “buy now,” “sign up,” “view products,” etc.
A business is more likely to sell if it tells people what to do next. Copywriters create content that guides potential customers to the finish line.
Example of Copywriting
Just like content writing, copywriting can look a lot of different ways. No matter what form it takes, copywriting is focused on turning readers into customers. Copywriting is all about promoting a brand or business in a way that makes a reader want to buy.
Examples of copywriting include:
- Sales emails
- Email newsletters
- PPC Landing Pages (Pay Per Click)
- Ads (digital, print, etc.)
- Sales letters
- Social media posts
There are many other copywriting examples, all with the purpose to sell. An email newsletter, for instance, has a conversion goal. Just about every email sent by a business encourages action on the part of the recipient. That could be clicking a link, replying to the email, donating, etc.
The main difference between a lot of these marketing channels is where people encounter the content. Is it their inbox? Search engines? Social media?
The Overlap of Content Writing and Copywriting
Both content forms are essential for a holistic digital marketing strategy. Content marketers recognize the importance of integrating both into their campaigns.
Now that you’re familiar with the difference between copywriting and content writing, you may be wondering where they overlap. The truth is that both have to fight for the audience attention.
The Struggle to Hold Readers’ Interest
The greatest problem many marketing teams face is keeping people on their sites. The average person spends only 10-20 seconds on a website before clicking out. How do you get them to stay focused?
Like with any writing, marketing copy has to be interesting. It sounds obvious, but it’s easier said than done. The key to all content marketing is knowing your audience and what engages them.
How to Capture Audience Attention
Content writers will create an article related to a frequently searched keyword or trending topic. They know that this will attract eyes.
When writing, content writers don’t use a bunch of industry jargon. They also rely on the best SEO practices by using headers, digestible paragraphs, and keywords.
The need for concise and enticing language extends to copywriters, too. In fact, you could argue that the ultimate challenge of marketing is attention grabbing.
With writing copy for ads, you’re limited to only so many words, image space, or video time. Strategic copywriting makes it so that you can capture attention without being wordy. After all, you should be able to pitch your products or services in a short amount of time.
Leveraging Both Copywriting and Content Writing
Now, you’re probably asking: does my business really need both a copywriter and a content writer? The answer is definitely.
As you’ve read, it’s not about copywriting vs. content writing; rather it’s about copywriting and content writing. Both content creation methods work in tandem to drive success for a business.
How Do They Work Together?
You can view content writing and copywriting as two points along the sales funnel.
Content writing is more towards the beginning. It may be someone’s first introduction to your brand or a specific product. Hopefully, they’ll be intrigued enough to get more familiar with you.
Copywriting will be closer to the end of the sales funnel. It is typically the last step before conversion. A copywriter convinces someone to take action.
Should I Hire a Freelance Writer for Content Writing and Another For Copywriting?
As any marketing professional knows, writing good content takes time. Not only are you required to come up with topics that would appeal to your audience, but you also have to take the time to research and write.
We live in a world where many people have a DIY attitude. Businesses are no exception. Some prefer to keep content marketing in-house. They worry that outsourced content won’t represent the business well.
However, content creation agencies vet their writers to make sure that they are adept. It’s a win-win because clients are pleased, the content agency’s reputation improves, and the freelance writer gets work.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 73 percent of brands outsource content marketing.
With the time and energy saved by outsourcing their blogs, businesses can stay focused on more strategic tasks. You can use that time to build client relationships and enhance services.
How Do I Know Who to Hire?
Given the difference between content writing and copywriting goals, it’s best to hire someone who has ample experience. Sometimes, a professional writer will have strengths in both.
Outsourced content agencies assign writers articles based on their skill sets and background. This ensures that your blog post, marketing copy, or whatever content they create fulfills your marketing goals.
The world of marketing is diverse, and every branch serves a distinct purpose. Whether it’s blogging, ad spending, or social media marketing, you’re utilizing different tactics.
Though often clumped together, content writing and copywriting have different aims.
Content writing is mainly about informing a reader and increasing brand awareness. On the other hand, copywriting intends to generate sales.
If you’re looking for experienced writers, consider turning to a content writing agency. They vet writers, so you don’t have to invest time and energy into finding them yourself.
Share Your Thoughts
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how your business leverages content writing and copywriting to achieve success. Leave a comment and share this article to keep the conversation going.