Updated: Mar 3
Content writing & copywriting may seem similar, but they serve different objectives and require different skill sets. Understanding the difference between content writing & copywriting is essential to achieving content marketing results.
Writing for your business demands good writing skills, and understanding the purpose of your writing shapes the quality of your content and message.
This article will explore content and copywriting in-depth and draw the line that marks the difference; let’s start by defining content.
What Is Content?
Simply put, any informative message delivered to a target audience with a specific purpose is content.
Content can be in texts, images, videos, infographics, recordings, animations, or any combination.
So, What is Content Writing?
Content Writing is a process of attracting a specific audience by answering their queries and providing valuable information using one or more forms of content:
The idea here is to build trust and credibility through content and help the audience make the right decision in their buying journey.
The Purpose of Content Writing
Content writers aim to generate organic traffic by ranking on search engines and attracting a target audience. They create content to raise awareness, educate, entertain, or instruct.
In return, it is best practice to provide something of value for the reader. It will help increase audience engagement.
Audience engagement rate is a key metric when it comes to content marketing.
Engagement is an action the reader (the audience) takes when reading the blog or article. This action can be signing up for an offer or a free trial, submitting a form, scheduling a call, or downloading an eBook or a template.
The Skills of a Content Writer
Content writers possess a wide range of skills that serve them to publish valuable content with a defined purpose. These skills are necessary to succeed:
Content creation and SEO go hand in hand. Remember, content writers create content to generate organic traffic and, therefore, must optimize their content for search engines. To do this effectively, they need a good understanding of SEO.
Research is an essential skill. It helps you spot new opportunities and to give your content a unique twist. Experts research for trendy topics and then do some research before writing to find the sources that will back their findings.
Headlines are what the audience reads first and must say enough about the content. A great headline will trigger the problem and propose a solution. Audiences reading a headline that resonates with their query will most likely click on the result.
Keyword research is what makes or breaks your efforts in content writing. Many tools help with this task, but what is important here is that a professional content writer must understand and be able to make sense of the keyword metrics to pick the correct keyword for their content. I will cover more about keyword research in a future blog.
These are just a few of a content writer’s skills. Usually, content writers specialize in a specific industry and focus their writing on a specific niche.
Now let’s take a look at Copywriting.
What is Copywriting?
Copywriting is simply persuasive content that targets a specific audience into taking specific action. Copy is commonly used for writing ads and landing pages.
The Purpose of Copywriting
Copywriting focuses on selling the benefits of products or services and offers rewards for those who take action within a specific time frame, for example, a 50% discount that expires in 2 days.
When it comes to copywriting, key performance indicators -KPI- are set to measure the copy’s level of success.
It is important to note that the content copy is dynamic and must be adjusted continuously -AKA Split-testing- until the perfect version has been achieved.
The Skills of a Copywriter
In contrast with content writers, copywriters are more focused on sales and can write copies for various industries. A copywriter must:
Persuasion is perhaps the essential skill in copywriting because it simply serves its purpose.
Be A Team player
Copywriters work with the marketing team and should be clear on goals and objectives.
Empathy is what connects the writer to the audience. If the writer displays empathy, their persuasion efforts will have positive results.
Though copywriting and content writing skill sets differ, they still overlap, and expert writers can still benefit from both skills.
The Common Skills Between Content Writer & Copywriter
Regardless of their differences, effective copywriters or content writers share common skills:
They are creative
Fresh and new ideas are key to acquiring attention. Writers use their skills to add a twist or two to a piece of content to make it appealing to their audience.
They Know How to Tell a Story
People connect and relate through stories; stories provoke emotions, and emotions impact decisions. Writers who understand this well tell a story that touches the hearts of their audience.
They Know Their Audience
Every marketer should know their audience, and writers are no exception. Understanding your audience will make it easy for them to resonate with you and trust you to solve their problem.
They manage their time well
Writers often work with tight deadlines; therefore, they should manage their time well and prioritize their tasks accordingly. Time management is essential, especially for writers, because it allows them to be proficient.
Copy & Content as Inbound Marketing Strategy
Content & copy both use inbound marketing to drive traffic and are optimized for specific keywords. The difference between the two is the keywords’ searcher's intent.
When a searcher enters a query using a keyword with a specific intent, marketers use this keyword to create content that matches the intent and aim to win the searcher's click on search engines by organically ranking for the keyword or through PPC ads.
The keyword optimization process for content writing and copywriting is similar. However, you can check Neil Patel’s Guide for Creating High-Performing Landing Pages for deeper insight.
Tips for Content Writing & Copy Writing
Effective writing always has goals and objectives. Setting your goals will give you direction and purpose.
You will also need to look at your audience. Your audience is the reason why you are writing. You can win their attention by answering their questions and concerns directly. Creating a buyer persona will help you get a clearer picture of your audiences’ concerns.
Rest assured that the first thing your audience reads is your headline. If your headline does not resonate with them, you lost them. Make sure that you write a headline that piques their curiosity and promises an answer to their concern.
Now that you have got their attention, you have to keep them. Ensure you provide valuable, highly focused, relevant information that answers their query.
Once you have written your content or copy, you should optimize it. Remember that Content and copy are inbound marketing techniques and should be optimized for traffic.
When optimizing your content, monitor your tone and voice, as well as the readability of the content.
Understanding the different objectives and skill sets required by content writing & copywriting is essential to achieving marketing results.
Writing for your business demands you to know your audience and be able to answer their concern. This is your cornerstone to start writing.
Define your purpose and be clear about it. Connect with your audience by answering their concerts, whether you want to sell them or you want to provide them with valuable content.
Writing continuously will help you find your voice that will attract your audience. The best way to learn when it comes to online content and copy creation is by trial and error. It may not sound appealing, but it is 100% true.