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  • Writer's pictureDr Joseph Nightingale

Content Writing vs. Copywriting: What's the Difference?

You'd be forgiven for thinking content writing and copywriting are the same. Businesses, ad agencies, and even writers often confuse the terms, using them interchangeably. That's a mistake!

With internet marketers, flooding search engines with content, discerning the difference between these two subtly different writing styles is critical to reaching your target audience.

It might seem a little pernickety or pedantic to some. After all, we're not comparing apples to oranges. Rather, we're comparing oranges to grapefruits. Sure, they're both citrus fruits – and it's easy to mix them up at a glance – you'll soon notice the difference when you sit down for your morning breakfast, though.

Curious about the difference? Let's get started.

What's the difference between copywriting and content writing?

In a word – purpose.

You'll often hear people say the purpose of copywriting is to sell. Whereas content writing aims to inform, engage, and excite. That's true – sort of.

Except, 92% of marketers and businesses report content as a valuable asset because it "excites" their customers. They spend because it generates a profit. The purpose of both content and copywriting is to sell a product or service: the difference is how they do this.

Let's try to define our terms:

  1. Copywriting is any writing primarily crafted to get the reader to do something. Think about traditional adverts, product descriptions, customer emails, landing pages, and brochures.

  2. Content writing is exclusively about building brand awareness. It increases a business's SEO ranking on Google, creates a sense of authority, and keeps customers informed of what's happening in the business or industry.

The difference is subtle; a blog article with a call-to-action (CTA) at the end contains a slither of copy inside a content block. The CTA is trying to get you to do something after the content informs you of a problem their brand can solve.

We can call this a "content funnel." It starts with raising awareness and ends with a customer clicking "add to basket." Somewhere in between, content writing becomes copywriting.

Does It Really Matter?

Yes and no. The line between the two techniques is so blurry these days that copywriting is almost wholly subsumed into content writing.

In fact, you'll see job adverts asking for copywriters but talking exclusively about content creation in the job description.

From a business and writing point of view, what's important is your intent when crafting a newsletter, email, landing page, or blog post. It matters. After all, letting customers know you've got a product and selling it are two very different things.

Copywriting – writing to persuade – typically needs more work. It's a precision art, trying to get a customer to do what's asked in as few words as possible.

Not every slogan is as genius as Just Do It.

Where You'll Find Content Writing and Copywriting

As a rule of thumb: try to separate your writing into two blocks: persuasive writing (e.g., copywriting) and informative writing (e.g., content writing).

By doing so, you can ensure you've got the right mindset when you start typing. Here's where I draw the line:

Copywriting (persuasive writing) includes:

  • Advertisements

  • Email newsletters

  • Sales letters

  • Press releases

  • Product descriptions

  • Landing pages

  • Social media posts

Content writing (informative writing) includes:

  • Blog posts and articles

  • Social media posts

  • Newsletters

  • eBooks

  • Guest posts

  • Paid magazine articles

Content writing vs. Copywriting: What's Your Purpose?

When businesses and marketers write, it's not for the hell of it. With every word, sentence, paragraph, and piece, you must consider how your writing adds value to your company. Are you sparking a potential customer to buy your product? Or are you sowing the seeds of future customers?

Oh, and don't sweat the definitions: it's the intent that matters! Looking to improve your content marketing strategy and boost your business's success?

Impeccable Writing is here to help! As you've learned in this article, there's a significant difference between content writing and copywriting. Both are essential for successful marketing, and our team has the expertise to help you with either.

So, if you're ready to take your content marketing to the next level, don't hesitate to get in touch with us today!


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