Copywriting vs content writing: everything there is to know—and why your brand actually needs both to succeed.
Are copy and content the same in marketing?
Copywriting and content writing – these terms are used so interchangeably that most people don’t realize they aren’t the same thing.
But does that even matter in the greater scheme of things?
It sure does – especially if you’re planning to hire freelance writers for your business. After all, you should know how each one affects your marketing objectives.
The difference between copywriting and content writing
What is copywriting?
In marketing, copywriting is the art – and science – of writing text that sells.
That can be convincing people to make a purchase; sign up for a service, program, course, newsletter, etc; make a donation; or simply get in contact with you.
As you can imagine, writing for business customers (other businesses or organizations) calls for a different set of strategies than writing for regular consumers (families, individual buyers). That’s why copywriting can be separated into B2B and B2C copywriting.
You would use copywriting for brand websites, landing pages, brochures, product / service descriptions, e-mail campaigns, adverts—anywhere where your goal is to drive readers to take action.
What is SEO copywriting?
Writing for SEO is a form of online or digital copywriting that focuses on enhancing various elements that contribute to improving a page’s organic ranking on search engines like Google. (And no, it’s not as simple as adding the right keywords into your copy.)
In short, SEO copywriting is basically writing for the internet.
Is copywriting the same as technical writing?
No. Copywriters focus on marketing and sales whereas technical writers create technical documents like user guides and manuals; instructions; or white papers.
What is content writing?
Content writing should be part of your online marketing strategy—whether you’re a big business, small business or just-getting-started business!
Web content writing refers to things like blog posts, social media posts, video scripts, and newsletters. And the whole idea behind writing content is to get the reader to spend more time with your brand—in a meaningful way.
That’s why what you write has to be both interesting and relevant to your target audience. In other words, the job of a content writer is to create fresh SEO content that entertains, educates or informs.
- Build authority in your field? Check!
- Earn readers’ trust? Check!
- Make your brand discoverable and grow awareness? Check and check!
- Turn casual readers into prospects? Check!
What are the different types of writing?
While we’re on the topic of copywriting vs content writing, it’s worth taking a closer look at different writing styles—in addition to tone and voice.
Since we’re talking about copywriting vs content writing within a business context, let’s start with persuasive writing.
Basically, persuasive writing is the type of writing you find in advertisements or in a large majority of sales and marketing texts. And like its name suggests, it’s all about convincing the reader—moving them to take action or to convert.
It’s used on landing pages, e-commerce pages, product copy, packaging copy and so on.
This type of writing aims to inform, explain, or educate 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.
Want to help readers visualize or imagine what they’re reading? Use descriptive writing.
The use of adjectives, similes, metaphors and sensory words better describe a product, place, person, and even a service. That’s why this type of writing is used in product and service descriptions, on sales pages, 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. Instead, the business version is marketing storytelling.
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, at the end of the day, you need both to succeed. No one wants to be sold to all the time and, likewise, pure entertainment isn’t enough when you have a bottom line to think about.