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Copywriting vs Content Writing: 4 Key Differences You Should Know

The 4 differences between copywriting and content writing


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Nick Chai

2 years ago | 5 min read

It’s normal to mix up these two types of writers. Worry not, the purpose of this article is to give you a crystal clear distinction between a copywriter and a content writer so you can hire the best writer that suits the job.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the act of writing words on websites or pages with the ultimate goal of raising awareness or conversion from directed traffic. In other words, a copy is written for branding purposes or making sales. The copywriter would need to learn the nitty-gritty of the business to write compelling and persuasive copies.

The good thing about copywriting is everything can be measured. Therefore, KPIs such as conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and cost per result are used to make improvements on campaign performances. With the right testing tools and methods, businesses are able to grow exponentially with the lowest cost possible.

What is content writing?

A content writer is someone who is familiar with how search engines work to leverage the channel for maximum content visibility. Unlike copywriting, content writing is responsible for writing to provide value and build trust with the audience. Those are the only objectives of a content writer.

Content is best used for nurturing processes in blogs, newsletters, or social media. While it’s hard to measure the trust level of the audience, KPIs such as bounce rates, engagement rates, and open rates are viable metrics to measure content performance. These KPIs are rough estimates of how engaged the audience is with your brand.

The 4 differences between copywriting and content writing

By now, you should have known that copywriting and content writing are different. They differ in terms of objectives and applications. One is conversion-focused while the other is relationship-focused.

It’s important to differentiate these two writing styles in detail so you can hire the best writer for your current marketing objective. Remember, these writers specialize in their work. If you’re lucky, you can have two in one which is a plus. But most of the time, it’s either one of these.

Intent

When it comes to writing intent, these writers are distinct in their writing style as well as tonality. A copywriter writes in a way that is persuasive and compelling to the readers.

For example — ‘As a copywriter, it is my job to write a sales page so compelling that it’s almost irresistible to your audience. By the time they finish reading your sales page, they’ll be eager to pull out their wallets to buy your product. And that’s what I specialize in — writing copies that’ll increase your product sales like clockwork.’

Whereas a content writer writes in a way that feels natural and educating. The intent of a content writer is to connect your brand to your audience emotionally so trust can be built.

For example — ‘If you should know, a content writer’s job is to make your brand trustworthy and credible. It can be done by pumping out educational content (such as this article) to give value to the readers. By consistently providing value to the audience, an emotional connection is cultivated between the audience and the brand.’

Objective

As we mentioned earlier, a copywriter writes to drive conversions while a content writer writes to build a brand-audience relationship. Let’s see how these writers approach their objectives.

Copywriter: Writes various advertising campaigns, brochures, and flyers to drive traffic to a demand capture channel (landing pages, squeeze pages, etc). After leads are captured, the copywriter will then nurture (emails, social media, newsletter) those leads to a point of sale (sales pages, in-store purchase, etc).

Content writer: Write content for various blogs, websites, YouTube videos, and newsletters to nurture/educate leads and subscribers for future selling opportunities. The only focus of a content writer is to engage with the audience. And consistent engagements will lead to a better brand-audience relationship.

Skillsets

These writers differ greatly in skillsets too. A copywriter is persuasive while a content writer is authentic. Both skillsets are equally important in sustaining a business. You cannot emphasize one over the other as this will affect the profitability of your business.

Their skillsets are used in different situations to maximize their potential. If you’re looking to generate leads or sales, a copywriter is who you look for. If your objective at the moment is to build a solid brand, a content writer could help you with that.

The perfect definition to describe a copywriter would be “salesmanship in print”. He or she is a salesperson first and a writer second. With this mindset, the job will always be selling. A copywriter would possess skills such as sales, writing, market research, and some basic consumer psychology.

As for a content writer, he or she is an educator at heart. The job is to educate the market on how the brand can provide value through its product and services. A content writer would possess skills such as writing, content creation, market research, and audience engagement.

Approach

Both writers approach their work very differently. From the way they speak (if you got on a call with them), you would know their intention and approach to the objective. Again, there’s no right or wrong approach. Sometimes, you need both to sustain your business. It depends on your current marketing objective.

A copywriter always asks, “How do I sell this better?”. The copywriter gathers information online and offline to achieve his or her objective. It’s a sales-focused approach. Copywriters put out sales content to ultimately persuade the audience into buying the product or service.

A content writer always asks, “What kind of content would resonate with the audience?”. The content writer researches and takes note of current trends users are searching for on search engines. This allows them to come up with content that engages the audience.

Wrapping up

Before you hire a writer for your marketing campaign, take a 30-foot view of your marketing objectives. You might need a copywriter or a content writer or both to achieve your KPIs. It’s also important to discuss the job scope and capabilities of your potential hire to make sure you get the ROI you wish to get.

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Nick Chai

Your sales message is the fundamental key to marketing success. I'm writing to share everything I know about neuromarketing so you can apply what works to get more leads and sales. Follow me for more content on persuasion and marketing.


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