It’s the age-old question that, let’s be honest, even those of us working in marketing can get confused by. Content writing is undoubtedly different from copywriting, but what defines them exactly?
It’s important to know the difference between content writing and copywriting to avoid using the wrong words in the wrong places.
The thing that distinguishes the two writing forms is their purpose.
Content writing aims to educate or entertain (or both). Whereas copywriting is designed to persuade readers to take some form of action.
Both writing forms can be any length, but content writing tends to be longer because it takes more time to educate or inform than it does to persuade (generally).
Content writing serves the primary purpose of educating and entertaining readers. It is high-quality content that follows a logical structure.
Things like blog posts, e-books, newsletters, case studies and news articles are all common examples of content writing.
As a brand, it’s important to work with a professional content writer to create content for your audience as a way of adding value and giving back (not trying to sell your product or service every chance you get).
While you can of course write the content yourself, the benefit of hiring a professional content writer is that they’ll be well versed in search engine optimisation (SEO) and seamlessly incorporate keywords into the content.
Search engine optimisation is the process of increasing website traffic from search engines by improving the quality and quantity of content on a website or web page.
To break it right down, think about it like this… most people search for information, things to buy and entertainment using search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. And most people choose to click the top search results. But how do search engines decide which search results to show at the top of the page?
Basically, a search engine will “scan” each website for keywords that relate to the search. Some keywords are more commonly searched for than others, so it’s a good idea to create a list of the most common keywords related to the topic, and include as many as you can in the content.
Simply writing a bunch of keywords to your website won’t work though. Algorithms also look for content that’s deep and engaging, clear titles, links, social shares, page speed and length of content.
SEO is important to any business because it’s a way of increasing site traffic organically (yep, without paying for ads).
No, it’s not the same thing as “copyrighting” although we understand the confusion. Copywriting refers to text that aims to persuade the reader to take a particular action or actions. When we talk about copywriting for businesses, the general aim will be to convince readers to purchase a product or service.
Paid ads, product pages, website sales copy, sales emails and Messenger bots all use copywriting to direct people to take an action.
Compared with content writing, copywriting is much more likely to dig into pain points and evoke an emotional response from the reader. This is because 90% of consumer purchasers are driven by emotions and so it becomes the most effective way to get people to take the desired action.
Copywriting rarely tries to mask itself. An easy way to tell if something is copywriting is the presence of a call to action (CTA). CTAs come in many forms but some common ones include “shop now”, “get 10% off here” & “sale ends soon, don’t miss out”.
Again, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional copywriter to write copy because they possess the necessary skills and a deep understanding of persuasive rhetoric. They’ll also be up to date with all the Facebook, Instagram & Google restrictions that could get your account banned if they’re not adhered to.
Brands should make use of both content writing and copywriting to grow their business. But, the question remains, when is the best time to use each?
Use content writing to establish yourself as a leader in your niche and inform your audience of the benefits your product or service has to offer (or simply to give back to your community).
Hire a content writer to create blog posts, email newsletters, case studies and e-books. Then, you can even use copywriting to create paid ads to drive traffic to this content and grow your audience.
Use copywriting to sell your product or service. Hire a copywriter to produce ads, landing pages, sales emails, etc.
As a rule of thumb, it works best to introduce cold audiences to your content writing, so they can get a feel for who you are, what you do and why they should trust you. Then, get their emotions flowing, and convince them why they need to invest in your product or service with some artfully written copy.
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