Difference between content writing and copywriting.What’s the difference between copywriting and content writing especially in the context of writing for the Web – for websites and blogs?
While adding another blog post, the following definitions came to my mind:
- Content writing means informing and educating your visitors to increase your brand visibility and customer engagement.
- Copywriting means informing and educating your visitors and then convincing them to buy from you.
In content writing, the “buy” factor is missing and in copywriting, the “buy” factor dominates the discourse.
What are the broad differences?
This is something that constantly crops up especially when lines are constantly being blurred.
As a professional content writer I’m often hired to improve conversion rate and increase sales but isn’t increasing sales the job of a copywriter rather than a content writer?
But since my content writing services also help my clients experience a significant increase in their sales they have no qualms in saying that I provide them copywriting services.
Whether there is much difference between copywriting and content writing depends on how you evaluate the act of writing, what sort of expressions you use, and what is the end result?
Yes, the end result of content writing can be totally different from that of copywriting.
A lot has changed since I wrote this webpage for the first time.
I notice it was somewhere in 2012.
Although content marketing was growing in leaps and bounds on the strength of targeted content writing, the big difference between then and now is, it’s been clearly established that content marketing has proven its mettle and big and small businesses are switching to content marketing from conventional advertising and marketing to promote their brands and businesses.
It means they are depending more on their content.
Their content no longer has to just inform, it also has to sell.
An average content writer these days, and I’m talking about an experienced, well-meaning, and professional content writer, is also adept at the art of copywriting, that is, in the art of writing sales-oriented literature.
In fact, on many American blogs they don’t even talk about content writing.
They call it online copywriting whenever you’re writing for a website or a blog.
Content writing vs copywriting: table of differences
|Informs and educates
|Informs, educates and sells.
|Conversational and informative
|More stress is on selling the product or prompting the reader to perform a particular task.
|Any good writer can be a content writer
|Copywriting requires a special talent of being able to convince people through written words.
|The central purpose is delivering value through informative content
|The central purpose is to sell
|Caters to the intellect
|Caters to emotions
|Builds a narrative
|Uses lots of action words
|Relaxed and conversational
|Invokes a sense of urgency
|Examples: blog posts, white papers, social media posts, magazine articles, newspaper articles, e-books, case studies and company webpages.
|Examples: sales pages, landing page copy, main website content, email marketing campaigns, video scripts, brochures, ad copies, press releases and slogans and taglines.
|End result: Informed and educated audience
|End result: Audience turned into paying customers and clients
In the context of the Internet, copywriting (or copy writing) is mostly termed as online copywriting and that means writing for websites.
Copywriting is a term derived from advertising.
It means writing promotional literature whether it’s an advertisement, a sales copy, or a website’s home page prompting people to buy something.
Copywriting means, using your words, using your language, in such a manner that it prompts people to take an action. Whatever that action is.
It is more conversational and interactive.
It is also forceful.
Remember that when you want people to buy from you, you have to sound fluent and forceful at the same time.
Do you know that before becoming a famous author Salman Rushdie was a copywriter at Ogilvy and Mather. Just a trivia.
Here are 2 examples of copywriting that are slightly different from content writing:
Copywriting for a landing page
A landing page is normally promoted through a PPC campaign.
People directly land on a landing page and this is why it is called a “landing page”.
Some people mistakenly call their website homepage as the landing page because they assume everybody first comes on the homepage whereas this is not the case.
People enter your website from various entry points.
For example, you have reached the Credible Content Writing Services website via this page or any other page that you must have come across either on a search engine or social networking website.
For a landing page you don’t do content writing, what you do is copywriting because the sole purpose of a landing page is capturing leads and making sales.
You need strong copywriting for that.
Email marketing campaign
Your email marketing campaigns also depend on your ability to convince people into either directly buying products from you or click the links mentioned in the email, visit your website, and then buy products from you.
Copywriting plays a very big role in increasing the conversion rate of your individual email marketing campaigns.
Copywriting is more geared towards making sales rather than informing and educating your prospective customers and clients and solving their problems.
Copywriting doesn’t solve problems, it convinces people into doing business with you.
When I say it doesn’t solve any problems I’m not saying that it has got nothing to do with solving problems because basically, whenever you write, you offer a solution.
So, whenever you are writing, you’re solving people’s problems and without solving people’s problems, you cannot make them buy from you.
When you are highlighting the overwhelming benefits of your product or service through your sales copy, you are actually offering your audience a solution.
As I mentioned, it’s promotional literature and it contains lots of action words such “do”, “buy”, “contact”, “earn”, “get well”, “hire us”, etc.
This type of writing highlights the benefits of a product or a service in order to sell it.
It is highly interactive; it directly talks to the reader and it involves lots of emotions (buying, most of the times, is an emotional action).
Content writing explained
Content writing means writing to inform, educate or interact.
Although you can write content to sell products and services, content writing doesn’t always involve promotional literature.
Some pages on a website might be promotional, and some might exist just for the purpose of educating the visitors.
A good example of content writing is blogging.
Over the years you create 100s, or maybe even 1000s of blog posts as a process of your content marketing effort.
These blog posts may not get you direct sales but they help you build a platform that helps you promote your products and services and consequently, generate more leads and sales.
I get lots of content writing and copywriting work through my Credible Content Blog.
The job of content writing, contrary to that of copywriting, is to keep your audience engaged and provide them enough information to keep them coming to your website or blog again and again.
Content writing can entertain them, educate them, inform them, offer solutions to their problems, hold conversations with them and make it possible for them to find your website and individual pages on search engines.
Content writing these days allows you to create a formidable presence for you on the Internet.
As you must be aware, there are multiple channels on the web these days. You do not just have to publish content on your own website or blog, you also have to keep your social networking and social media profiles updated.
Content writing also involves maintaining a presence on websites like LinkedIn (especially for B2B marketing), Twitter, and Facebook.
Examples of content writing:
- SEO content writing
- Helpful articles
- Forum posts
- LinkedIn updates
- Facebook and Twitter updates
There isn’t much difference between content writing and copywriting on a day-to-day basis especially when your content writer also helps you make more sales.
Conclusion regarding difference between copywriting and content writing
Many people tend to mix copywriting and content writing, and I too don’t differentiate much on my website, but if you really dig deeper, copywriting is a specialty and not everybody can pursue this vocation.
It requires special talent.
You need to have a knack for marketing and advertising.
Content writing can be done by anybody who can write convincingly.
Fortunately, since I have had experience in both, I can provide you copywriting as well as content writing, whether you want to maintain a difference or not is another matter.