Today, with the internet in our hands and all the information at our disposal, one question still bugs the marketing-obsessed crowds of the web – what are the differences between copywriting and content writing?
It’s a long-lasting discussion that has taken digital marketers above and beyond their past understandings of marketing work, putting a line between the two, hoping to put them in their own lanes.
So, are they separate, or can your content writer write your copy, too?
The short answer is simple – copywriting and content writing are two different things, with many similarities. We can think of them as two pieces of a pie – coming from the same place, but each holding its unique flavour.
Like any other recipe, writing is more complicated than you think! Well then, why are copy and content so often seen as the same thing?
They both use the power of the written word, but people frequently don’t understand what their final goal is. Content writing aims at giving value through information and SEO, while copywriting tries to hook the readers and turn them into a consumer.
But it isn’t that simple, is it?
No, of course not, so get ready to tiptoe on the needlepin-thin line between content and copy and see all the things that create those differences!
Copywriting – The Art of Attention Grabbing
We are constantly surrounded by copywriting. Whether you’re scrolling through social media posts, websites in Google’s search results, or even if you’re an old soul at heart and read the newspapers every day – this written form is in our everyday life with the purpose of turning its readers into loyal, advocating consumers.
By definition, copywriting is the art of rearranging words in order to sell a product or service. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll quickly notice far more complexities to this written form – fine, subtle details that have taken copywriting to a new level of efficiency!
The product of copywriting is what we call copy.
Copy means more to businesses than just persuading their audiences to become loyal consumers, who then further market their products through word of mouth – the most popular, not to mention powerful marketing tool.
Businesses can build their brand awareness through copy more efficiently than with any other marketing tool – if they can get it right and use the copy in its proper context, marketed to the proper people!
While copy’s main purpose is to increase conversion, keep in mind that there are other elements of writing copy that are crucial for businesses – such as everything else around the copy! Remember, words alone cannot sell!
Content Writing – The Art of Giving Value
Sure, copywriting is important, but you can’t have a devoted audience without content. The significance of content writing cannot be overstated in the long-run because your audience will rarely remember short, salesy snippets – but they’ll remember an article they read through in 4 minutes!
Because they put themselves into it. They weren’t asked to buy – they were asked to learn!
Today, companies have learned that their leads want to feel valued. Imagine that, what a startling discovery. In company lingo, ‘feeling valued’ means their customers’ attention stays on the brand – and where there is attention, there is always engagement! Marketers always strive to engage with their audience on a personal level as there are a number of benefits coming with it, like a bigger market reach and an ROI increase.
Content writing does exactly that. When we think of businesses giving value to their consumers or leads, we think of high-quality information, leads, answers, and anything else that can serve as a content topic.
Now that we have a clearer version of both forms, it’s time to take out our editing looking glass and see the actual differences between copywriting and content writing!
Differences Between Copywriting And Content Writing
Before we mark off the differences between content writing and copywriting, it’s important to keep in mind that the two share more similarities than differences and they’re interconnected on nearly every level. As both of them are art through the written word with different goals in mind, they also aim at reaching vastly different audiences to achieve those goals.
But we’re not here for their interconnection, are we?
Let’s zoom in on that line between them!
Why Length Matters
The length of the two written forms is the most obvious difference between them. Copy is short and straight to the point, most of the time.
Think of landing pages and how they always strive to present a unique selling point, or any ad that you might have stumbled upon and how it gave you a sense of urgency before you clicked it. Simply put, copywriters try to create short and concise copy that increases conversion.
On the other hand, content writers create long form pieces, so when we read blog posts of any kind, we can observe a more detailed and descriptive approach, attempting to help the reader grasp the subject at hand. Content writing strives to provide value on the topic being explained and make the readers feel something – anything! Of course, achieving this is only plausible with long-form material.
If you know the difference in length, it’s far easier to tell them apart. Long copy is extremely rare!
However, the number of words isn’t the only difference – so let’s see what else dots that line between these two writing forms!
Short vs Long Term Goals
One mutual goal of both copywriting and content writing is engagement. Today, in every branch of marketing, engagement plays a vital role in nearly every business’ success. Marketers are on a constant mission to increase their audience engagement, which may result in conversion further down the line.
There’s a spectrum of potential objectives that marketers can set when planning their content marketing. When trying to distinguish the differences between copywriting and content writing, you’ll notice the main one is just – time; the time it takes for the plan to achieve its goals.
Copywriters focus on short-term goals, therefore copy is meant to trigger a momentary action that leads to an abrupt decision to purchase, subscribe, or provide the marketer with any type of conversion.
With content writing, the goals are vastly opposite – keep readers engaged and deliver enough free value to turn them into a loyal audience for the business and its content, so that they’ll return, read more and eventually, convert in a number of ways.
With their purpose and goals in mind, it’s important to know which is copywriting and which is content writing – at first sight, in everyday life.
Knowing what copywriters strive to achieve with their copy, we can recognize this written form in:
- Catalogues, brochures and flyers
- Sales letters and newsletters
- Email campaigns
- Clickbaity titles
- Calls to action etc.
Image Source: clickmeeting.com
Just think about it – how many times have you suddenly wanted to indulge in something after reading or hearing about a product or service through the things mentioned above?
Probably a great number of times, because we’re all humans and copy is crafted to have this effect on us. Next time you see copy somewhere, just think about what its writers and designers wanted to achieve.
Turning to content writing, we can see it in:
- Blog posts
- Longer social media posts
- Buying guides
- Books and ebooks
- Videos and podcasts
- Op-eds etc.
If you’ve ever found meaning and grasped more knowledge through these forms, you’ve witnessed content writing well done!
It’s easy to distinguish between the two once you become aware of their forms and along with the differences mentioned above, we can take all the pieces and fit them perfectly in our content marketing puzzle.
To Sum Up
Seeing the differences between copywriting and content writing doesn’t disprove the fact that both forms can assume each other’s roles. Copywriting can aim at giving value, while content writing can aim at selling, although in a milder, less invasive approach. Their interconnection is inevitable because they’re both products of words – and although it’s important to know how to distinguish them, embracing their mutuality is important as well.
Copywriting and content writing will always be elements of marketing with the potential to take more flexible roles, depending on the brand or person standing behind them.
Next time you’re unsure how to convert your leads into consumers, remember the power of copywriting!
Make it short!
Use simple language to aim at creating urgency!
On the other hand, if you find yourself in charge of steering the wheel for a brand awareness project, and your goal is to create loyal consumers – create value and make your readers feel like they want to come back and engage with your business!
The same way I’m doing right now through this blog post, hoping to make you, the reader, feel valued by helping you resolve a question you typed into Google.
Until next time, friend – stay creative, and use the right tools before venturing over the thin line between copy and content!