Copywriting vs. Content writing - What's the Difference?
Ever wondered if there was a difference between a copywriter job and a content writer job? What is the difference between copywriting and content writing - and who exactly should you hire for the work that you need to get done? The Caribbean Collective's resident writer explains all...
Someone asked me recently if I was a content writer or a copywriter - now this stumped me a little, because I hadn't really considered the difference between the two; 'I'm an all rounder my dear, a writer, period. Anything to do with words, you just let me know.' I replied.
I then spent half an hour on Google learning about the actual difference between copywriting and content writing. It turns out that I was correct in saying I do both; that aside, however, it's good to know the difference when it comes to understanding what brands need in order to effectively grow and run their business.
So, here is a quick and easy guide to copywriting vs content writing:
Copy is all about the brand message - getting it across in order to further the business goals. The aim essentially is to turn the reader into a customer.
informative: writing that is about the business (product or service), sometimes technical in nature.
definitive: writing that articulates the brand message - and what sets them apart.
is in the brand voice: writing in language reflects the business, its values and expertise.
motivational: writing that is tied to the business goals and develops trust.
The end result of written copy is to move the reader into action - to turn the reader into a customer.
Content on the other hand is all about raising the brand profile - in other words getting attention. The aim is to make readers aware of the brand.
Content writing is:
interesting: writing that will capture a reader's interest so that they engage with the content.
relatable: writing that will relate the brand or business to the reader's life and is easy to digest.
creates an impression: writing that bolsters the brand in the reader's mind.
increases ranking: writing that increases business traffic and boosts online search ranking.
The end result is to engage the reader and create a positive impression of the brand. In other words, to turn the reader into a fan.
Copywriting and content writing also require different skill sets.
Understanding the business and brand, their target audience and their unique needs and wants is crucial; the ability to tie all this together in language that will motivate the reader to buy or choose that brand requires a high proficiency of written and communication skills.
It also often requires strategic thinking, to organise the writing in such a way as to guide the reader to make a purchase.
Good written skills, broader ability to tie together ideas and information with a common thread that links it back to the business area or brand itself.
General business understanding; often content writing is non-technical, so the writer doesn't need to know a huge amount about the business, but should be familiar with the relevant business industry.
Which one do you need?
In deciding which type of writing your business needs, consider firstly, where the writing will be featured.
Copy is used for websites, product or service information for example in brochures, showcases, on packaging, bios, marketing materials, promotional materials, company mission and values.
The most commonly featured content writing is blog writing; it also extends to any casual information that is interesting, educational and entertaining, such as infographics, tips and how-tos.
The most effective way to generate brand awareness and secure customers is to have both types of written presence. It is important however to have your copywriting sorted first - the copy tells your audience who you are and what you do. It's the substance behind the talk.