Copywriting vs content writing – did you know that there’s a difference?
Because these two terms are often used interchangeably, most people don’t realize that they aren’t the same thing. In fact, there’s a very important characteristic that sets them apart and that is what you’re trying to achieve with what you’ve written. In short: its purpose.
The difference between copywriting and content writing
What is copywriting?
At its very core, copywriting has one main objective and that is to drive the reader to take some sort of action.
In other words, the meaning of copywriting is that it refers to content that has to achieve specific marketing objectives. Like increase sales, capture leads, or improve certain conversion rates.
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Part of a copywriter’s task, therefore, is to communicate a brand’s value. That means packaging information in a way that is persuasive—using words in an attractive and compelling manner—to encourage the target audience to take a desired action. For example: to buy a product or sign up for a service.
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Copywriting is used on websites, landing pages, brochures, product / service descriptions, e-mails—anywhere where your goal is to sell.
What is SEO copywriting?
SEO copywriting is a form of online or digital copywriting that focuses on incorporating certain keywords, phrases and search terms to improve a page’s organic ranking (for those target keywords) on search engines like Google.
What is content writing?
When we talk about content writing, on the other hand, we’re talking about content that is meant to entertain, educate or inform. Such content—as part of a thorough marketing strategy—can help you build trust as well as authority in your field and, if done really well, even achieve top-of-mind awareness.
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Essentially, you’re writing material that makes your reader (want to) spend more time on your website. It’s content that has your target audience engaging with your brand in a meaningful way; in a way that endears you to them. You do this by crafting content that is interesting and relevant to your readers.
The type of content you create will of course depend on your target audience and what appeals to them. But the best content tends to be useful – think informative or educational in some way.
Content writing is used for many different channels such as blogs / articles, e-mails, newsletters, and social media. To develop effective content, you should:
- have some knowledge about online marketing strategies;
- know how to go about keyword research;
- understand the basics of SEO.
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What are the different types of writing?
Since we’re on the topic of copy and content writing, it’s worth knowing the different kinds of writing that you come across all the time.
Since this is a post all about copywriting and content writing within a business context, let’s start with persuasive writing. Persuasive writing is the type of writing you find in advertisements or in a large majority of sales and marketing texts.
Like its name suggests, it’s all about convincing the reader; winning the reader over to share your point of view or to take action. Persuasive writing is used for landing pages, e-commerce product copy, packaging copy and so on.
This type of writing is all about informing, explaining, or educating the reader on a specific topic. Rather than the writer’s personal opinions, the focus is on presenting facts and figures. You’ll find this both online (e.g. “How to” posts or “Definitive Guide” posts) and also in print, e.g. text books.
Descriptive writing is used to help readers visualize or imagine what they’re reading. It uses adjectives, similes, metaphors and sensory words to describe a product, place, person, and even a service. This type of writing is used to write sales pages, in product and service descriptions, in blog posts, and more.
In narrative writing there are characters, a plot, and a story that is told. It is the kind of writing used in novels, poems, and biographies but isn’t very common in the business realm.
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This is pretty much any type of writing that you can dream up! It‘s found in novels, short stories, plays, fan fiction and so on.
The take away from all of this is that copywriting requires content writing—it’s what you want to achieve with what was written that differs.
And at the end of the day, you need a delicate balance of both to succeed because no one wants to be sold to all the time and pure entertainment isn’t enough when you have a bottom line to think about.