Copywriting vs. Content Writing: Spot the Difference

Copywriting or content writing? What’s the difference?

While these two disciplines often get confused, they’re far from being one and the same. In fact, there are many important differences between copywriting vs content writing that can influence the way you communicate with your audience in digital and print spaces.

In many cases, the copywriting vs. content writing debate can become a matter of strategy, playing a significant role in your digital marketing power. The more you learn about the difference between copy and content, the more effectively you can align your brand to create content or copy that converts. This means you’ll be able to meet your professional goals and scale your business faster!

Are you ready to learn how to spot the key differences between copywriting and content writing? This guide is your chance to discover the pillars of effective writing that improves brand loyalty and communicative impact. Here’s everything you need to know about copywriting vs. content writing!

Is there really a difference between copywriting and content creation?

If you’re new to the writing world, you might wondering if there are any major differences between copywriting and content writing. The short answer is yes!

What is copywriting?

Typically, copywriting is sales writing. Writing copy is all about communicating with potential customers in ways that maximise conversions and help you sell more of your product or service.

Both long- and short-form copy is designed to drive sales, encouraging readers to take the next step in the buyer’s journey. Going beyond simple marketing content, copywriting usually includes directives that promote immediate action. Copywriting is always underpinned by a clear goal and a mission to achieve it.

Copywriting is the skill you use when you produce sales emails, advertising content, sales pitches, website copy, and even social media ad posts! Copy appears across a range of channels and mediums in both print and digital domains.

What is content writing?

Unlike copywriting, content writing is much more about enhancing your brand’s voice, audience, and identity. Instead of focusing on sales-driven language and objectives, content writing aims to generate organic traffic while building brand awareness. The focus isn’t on making sales today but on establishing brand power for the future.

For many businesses, content writing is an important component of a long-term marketing strategy. Over time, producing content can help you reach more people and demonstrate your industry expertise.

Most commonly, content writing applies to blog posts, social media posts, e-books, product descriptions, whitepapers, research articles, and even course content. Content, like copy, appears across all platforms and mediums.

Why is it important to understand the difference?

Understanding the differences between copywriting and content writing is essential if you want to produce copy and content that offers value for your audience.

With a strong understanding of how copywriting and content writing work, you can plan new elements for your marketing campaigns, identifying the power of communication variables.

When you create copy for your business, you can target sales goals effectively and efficiently, instructing your reader on how they can take advantage of your latest offer.

On the other hand, writing valuable content can help you build a business that lasts, establishing consumer awareness and encouraging brand loyalty.

By knowing what your goals are before you start writing, you can ensure that you’re approaching the writing process with the right mindset. This will help you be a better copywriter and content writer, giving your business the best chance at success.

Wondering if you should include both copy and content in your content marketing strategy? Absolutely! The differences between copy and content writing are what make both skills so important. When building a business, you’ll always need to combine copy and content, choosing the right skills for the right contexts and using them to bring additional value to your customers.

Explaining the key distinctions

Still unsure how to determine what’s copy and what’s content? These are some of the key distinctions you can look for.

Publishing channels

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In some cases, the easiest way to distinguish copy from content is by looking at where writing is published.

While both copywriting and content writing do share many publishing channels, some platforms and publishing strategies are unique to the different disciplines.

Often, marketing copy appears in advertising materials. You may find examples of copy in print and social media ads, as well as sales-driven websites, pitches, newsletters, and so on.

Conversely, content marketing efforts are much more likely to appear in less sales-oriented environments. You might find examples of copy in blog posts, educational materials, and organic social media posts.

Length of content

Another key indicator of copy or content is the length of the material you’re working with.

While it is possible for copywriting to cover large amounts of text, copy tends to be quite direct and purposeful, meaning that short-from copy is common.

Creating content is usually a slower, more thoughtful process, using larger blocks of text to build trust for readers. While content length does vary depending on where it is published, long-form content is common.

Goal of writing

The most important difference between copy and content writing is the goal of communication. When you learn to read critically, this is usually apparent in the text.

Copywriters focus on marketing and advertising, encouraging readers to take an action that directly benefits the business publishing the copy. In some cases, this might be to follow a social media account or provide contact information. Most often, though, the goal of copywriting is to sell!

Content writing is more a long-term approach to pursuing business goals. While content can also have a marketing influence, its mission tends to be focuses on establishing a sense of brand awareness and loyalty. Content often plays a key role in improving discoverability without being directly focused on immediate sales.

Calls to action

Calls to action are a key component of all kinds of marketing, including both copy and content. However, calls to action often differ depending on what kind of communications you’re producing.

In line with sales goals, copywriters usually create calls to action that focus directly on business engagement. Copywriting CTAs are often crisp, clear, and unmistakable, asking customers to take specific actions right away. This is perfect for short-form copy mediums and for maximising conversion rates.

Often, content writers work with much more subtle calls to action. In content, a CTA might be less immediate and more general, in line with brand development objectives. Instead of telling the audience exactly what to do, writers of content might suggest website browsing and further reading to promote sustained brand engagement.

Writing voice

Another key factor in distinguishing copywriting from content writing is voice. The tone writers use can vary greatly between these two mediums.

In general, writers tend to take a light, conversational tone when producing copy. While variations may arise due to differences in brand voice, most copywriting is designed to speak to the reader like a friend. This is part of what makes copy so effective for short-form publishing, like in social media ads.

Content writers often produce much longer articles with more informative undertones. Again, there is plenty of variation to accommodate distinctive brand voice and marketing goals. However, content writing is, generally, more formal in tone.

The role of SEO

In copywriting and content writing alike, search engine optimization, or SEO, plays an important role in helping search engines categorise digital information and target new online audiences.

SEO copy is focused on future sales, often using only short amounts of text. This means that keywords must be integrated at high density, ideally using as many relevant terms as possible to maximise the reach and impact of advertising. In marketing copy, SEO is the driver of catchy taglines and keyword-dense landing pages! Fortunately, copy often works in conjunction with paid advertising, helping to support traffic beyond SEO.

Content writing generally allows for more natural integration of keywords over larger writing samples. Content writers often have more articles to work with, each offering plenty of SEO opportunities. This means that they can target a greater variety of search terms. In many cases, a content marketing strategy will be organic. This means that SEO is more important than ever as the main driver of new digital traffic.

Looking for an easier way to get compelling content or copy?

Are you still unsure about how to create great copy and content, even now that you know the differences between copywriting vs content writing? You don’t have to market on your own!

Here at Prozely, we have a skilled team of the copywriters and content writers available to help you produce the communications you need.

Learn more about Prozely, and submit a brief to benefit from the skills of our best content writers and copywriters today! Or sign up for our newsletter by clicking the link below.


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