From content writers applying for copywriter roles to hiring managers wanting new hires to excel in both blog writing and social media copies- people have grossly confusing content and copywriting. The lines between content and copywriting have been blurred, with people thinking that since both are, in essence, writing, they can be done by the same person. Well, spoiler alert, that is simply not true. And this blog will tell you why, while also drawing the lines between what is content writing is and what copywriting.
First, let’s talk about the importance of content in digital marketing. Whether it’s blogging on your websites or postings on your social media platform, it is common knowledge that users cannot discover your business when browsing the internet unless you create content. From social media marketing strategies to pay-per-click advertising campaigns to search engine optimization (SEO), every digital marketing campaign uses content in some or the other way.
However, not all forms of content creation are the same. There is content writing which is more popular and well-known, and the other is copywriting. While both are used in digital marketing, they both have starkly different purposes. To utilize digital marketing for your business, you must know the differences that set the two apart.
Content and copy differ in five factors: purpose, length, emotions, grammar, and SEO. Let’s start off with purpose.
Content writing is created to educate or entertain while copywriting is designed to persuade. Copy is used to make sales. Text ads that you see on Google, Bing, Facebook, or Instagram are written by copywriters. They compel readers to take action.
On the other hand, content is primarily made to attract an audience, engage them and demonstrate your ability to solve their problem. While the end goal of content is also to sell your skills and services, it does so by addressing the reader’s pain points.
Since content writing focuses on educating or entertaining the audience, it involves longer content than that copywriting. A one or two-liner is enough to persuade readers to take action, but educating or entertaining them will require a longer content length. This usually means around 500 to 2500 words per content.
Some common examples of content writing are how-to articles, guides, lists, newsletters, blogs, e-books, and so on. Copywriters are more focused on PPC ads, social media ads, landing pages for websites, CTA buttons for websites, product pages, and so on- really, anything that is shorter than 100 words and requires quick action.
This is another basic difference between content and copy. While copy evokes an emotional response, content does not. So while copywriting, the writer can ignite emotions like FOMO (fear of missing out) to compel a consumer to buy a product. Other emotions include security, pride, comfort, and, most importantly, instate gratification. Savvy copywriters can leverage these emotions to persuade readers to take action.
Content writers also evoke emotions, but these are not directed at taking any action. They mainly base text on information on research, data, and statistics. A good content writer should know how to balance out logic vs. emotion. This is because the primary concern of content writers is to establish trust and position the brand as a reliable source of information.
No one can deny the importance of grammar in writing. Typos in your blog piece can instantly discourage anyone from enjoying your content. While this holds true to both copy and content writing, content writers especially need to minimize grammar errors in content creation. Grammatical errors interrupt the readers thought process by making them stop. Some readers may abandon the content without reading the rest of it.
Unlike content writing, copywriting does not require perfect grammar to be effective. On the contrary, one can attract more readers to take action through an incomplete sentence rather than a perfectly grammatical sentence. Copywriters may also have to condense their text to fit in the word limit of many online advertising portals. So, grammar is not of utmost importance here- as long as your text is coherent, easy to read, and compels actions.
Any piece of high-quality content can rank high in the search results if it is relevant to the user’s search query- regardless of whether it is created through content writing or copywriting. However, content writing often outperforms copywriting by leaps and bounds for search engine optimization. Your website can earn higher search engine rankings and high traffic if you invest in content writing to develop it.
So as far as SEO is concerned, content writing is better for it than copywriting. This is because, for any SEO activity, the main factor in creating a high-ranking website is to create a user-centric website. And your content should follow suit. When you create informative pieces for your user, your website can automatically rank higher. The second component is creating content that does not express commercial intent. Content writing is perfect as it is purely informational, so readers enjoy sharing and reading it.
So, to sum it all up:
Content writing is the creation of text to educate or entertain readers, it can help drive sales, but that is not its primary purpose. The main purpose is to educate and entertain the readers by creating high-quality, unique, and valuable content. Examples of content writing include:
- White papers
- Email newsletters
- News articles
- Case studies
On the other hand, copywriting is the creation of text to persuade readers to take some sort of sales-related action related to your business. For example, if you are trying to sell a service, you must convince the reader that it is worth their money. Examples of copywriting include:
- PPC landing pages
- PPC ads
- Social media ads
- Captions for social media posts
- Product pages
- Website sales copy
- SMS ads
- Sales email
All this information might be overwhelming for you, and you might start to worry about your marketing efforts if you do not have a copywriter on board. But fear not! Help is just a few clicks away.