Copywriting vs Content Writing: What Is the Difference and What Is Best?

November 2, 2020
November 2, 2020 Madeleine

Most businesses understand that the creation of great content is an important part of their success. For decades, a copy writer has used their skills to sell products and services to a target audience. Today, copywriting is combined with web content writing and content creation to provide a comprehensive marketing strategy suited to each brand. But what’s the difference between copywriting vs content writing?

First, it’s important to understand there are similarities.

Both content writing and copywriting require writing proficiency, creativity, and an understanding of the topic. Both are an important part of marketing and require good copywriting skills. Both help you establish a connection with your target audience through persuasive writing, allowing you to express your authority and knowledge regarding a topic.

Additionally, both content writing and copywriting are forms of website content creation. For many, content writing focuses more on the long game. It helps you build a relationship with customers or clients over time, whereas copywriting is about selling something now. Both types of writing are effective in digital marketing campaigns, but they each serve a different purpose.

Content Writing

So what are some examples of content writing and what’s the purpose of content writing that makes it a unique form of work?

Content writing is usually all text that is used to entertain or educate a reader. It can help you drive sales and the long-term goal of it should be to build your brand, but sales are not the primary purpose of content writing. The primary purpose is entertaining and/or educating.

Some examples of content writing include:

  • Blog
  • White paper
  • Newsletter
  • Tutorial
  • eBook
  • News article
  • Case study
  • Social media post
  • Evergreen article

Copywriting

CopywritingCopywriting is also the creation of text, but its sole purpose is to entice a reader into taking action. Copywriting is intended to make a sale. It is more persuasive than content writing and its goal is to convince the reader that a product or service is worth the investment. Good copywriting makes the reader believe the product or service will solve their problem. It can also convince the reader the problem exists, even if they haven’t realized it yet.

Examples of copywriting include:

  • Website sales copy
  • PPC landing page
  • PPC ads
  • Product page
  • Sales emails
  • Social media ad
  • Short Message Service (SMS) ad
  • Cost-per-mille (CPM) ad

Copywriting vs Content Writing: How Do You Know the Difference?

There are several ways you can tell the difference between copywriting and content writing. The most obvious is to consider how hard a sell you are experiencing. Do you feel as if you are being pushed to purchase something? If you don’t feel that nudge, chances are it is copywriting.

On the other hand, the best copywriting might not have an obvious push. You might be tempted to click “buy now,” but not think it’s because you’re reading about anything in particular. Cover copywriting might sometimes be confused with content writing.

If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between copywriting vs content writing, consider the following:

What is the Length of the Piece?

What is the Length of the PieceContent writing tends to be longer than copywriting in most cases. This isn’t always the case because there are plenty of long-form copywriting pages, especially landing pages. But in general, content writing will go more in-depth on a topic because it’s trying to educate you. Some copywriting is only a sentence or two long, but you aren’t likely to find any content pieces that short. Shorter pieces tend to not offer much value to readers, so chances are if you’re taking a deep dive into a topic and not trying to force an action, you’re dealing with content writing.

What Emotions are You Feeling?

Copywriting tends to provoke an emotional response, while content writing does not. The goal of copywriting is to trigger a sale, which is more often than not based on an emotion. Feeling frustrated? This service will help. Feeling inadequate? Invest in this product to boost your self-esteem.

Want to learn how to do such-and-such without much feeing or emotion attached? Read this piece of information to help you.

Content writing can elicit an emotion, but it’s typically not an emotion connected to an action. More often than not, copywriting makes you want to do something because of how you are feeling.

How Polished is the Piece?

Though grammar is always important, it tends to be more important when dealing with content writing. Getting people to take the next step doesn’t always require writing in complete sentences or having every piece of punctuation in place. Getting your reader to trust you so you can educate them usually does, though.

Is SEO Important for the Piece?

All types of content can help a website rank better for SEO, but SEO is not the driving force behind copywriting. If you are trying to attract attention to a page or a website, content writing is the way to go. Copywriting tends to not be as appealing to search engines as content writing. If there seems to be no SEO strategy for a piece, but it is making a hard sell, it’s copywriting.

By definition, content writing is valuable SEO material. It is valuable to readers, it offers information, and it’s longer in length. It also tends to trigger more backlinks and keeps readers on a page longer than copywriting.

Understanding the Purpose of Copywriting vs Content Writing

What’s the bottom line?

Both content writing and copywriting are valuable. Both serve a purpose, but it’s important to know what your goal is before moving forward with creating a particular piece of content. Do you want to draw readers to your site, educate them, or entertain them? You need to invest in high quality content writing.

If your goal is to persuade readers to take action, whatever that action might be, copywriting is the way to go.

Before deciding between copywriting vs content writing, think about your goals and how the piece will be used. This helps you determine the direction of the piece and whether or not it should be copywriting or content writing.

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Madeleine

Madeleine is the driving force behind the business management and growth of Content Refined. As a young entrepreneur, she is always looking for different ways to improve the business for her clients and for her employees.