Content writing and copywriting are primarily distinguished from each other by purpose. Content writing is designed to educate or entertain, whereas copywriting is designed to persuade. Most text ads involve copywriting because they seek to compel readers to take action.
What is copywriting?
Copywriting is the skill of writing text designed to persuade or generate sales. Copywriting is usually for marketing purposes rather than for informing or educating. Copywriting usually involves the creation of sales letters, email marketing campaigns, online advertisements, and other promotional materials.
Copywriting typically involves reading your audience and then choosing a few key messages to emphasize in order to persuade your readers to take action.
What is content writing?
Content writing is the creation of information designed to educate or inform readers. Content writing typically involves blog posts, ebooks, white papers, and other informational materials.
Content writing is usually done with no immediate call to action. You could write a blog post that provides information about your business and its services, but there’s no ask in that blog post. You could write an ebook that describes the benefits of a product or service, but there’s no request for the reader to buy the product or use the service.
Most copywriting involves some amount of content writing – for example, a sales letter that is designed to educate the reader about your product or service is still primarily a form of content writing. Content writing is also often used as a synonym for “copywriting” when the content consists of text (as opposed to images or other media).
What’s the difference between copywriting and content writing?
At its core, the difference between copywriting and content writing is the presence of an ask. Copywriting is written primarily to persuade the reader to engage with the business in some way, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for an email list, or clicking through to a different page.
Content writing is written to inform or educate. That might sound like a subtle difference, but it has some pretty significant consequences. For instance, the tone of voice used in the writing is quite different.
Copywriting uses a more direct, forceful tone of voice—the sort of tone a salesperson might use to close a deal at a trade show. Content writing uses a more conversational tone of voice—the same tone a person might use to explain something to a friend.
Why is there so much confusion about copywriting and content writing?
It’s natural for confusion about copywriting and content writing to exist. After all, the terms have been used vaguely and interchangeably for many years. The confusion between copywriting and content writing isn’t just limited to the general public, either.
Plenty of people who work in marketing are confused about how the two are different, too. The confusion is understandable when you consider the fact that, as noted above, even the definitions of the two practices are vague.
When the definitions are vague, the lines between them are blurry. There are two reasons the confusion persists: 1) There’s a lot of money in the confusion. 2) The marketing industry is inherently imprecise.
Copywriting vs. Content Writing – Which is better for your business?
Many businesses try to use a one-size-fits-all approach to content creation, with copywriting and content writing used interchangeably. That’s not a good idea, because it ignores the fundamental difference between the two.
Let’s say you’re trying to use a single blog post to generate leads, increase website traffic, and get people to buy your products. In that case, you’d use copywriting. By contrast, let’s say you’re trying to use a single blog post to inform readers about your business and who you are. In that case, you’d use content writing.
There are some similarities between the two practices, but the differences are significant enough to make them best used separately. Fortunately, most businesses don’t need to do everything with a single blog post. In fact, it’s usually a bad idea to try.
The difference between copywriting and content writing is that content writing is designed primarily for educating or informing readers, whereas copywriting is designed principally to persuade them to take action.
Copywriting is usually used for marketing purposes, whereas content writing is used for branding and generating traffic.
There is a lot of confusion about the difference between copywriting and content writing because the definitions of the two practices are vague. Copywriting is written primarily to persuade the reader to take action, while content writing is written primarily to educate or inform the reader.
Copywriting and content writing are both useful marketing tools, but they are used best when they are used separately.