When producing business content, you may feel the need to ask the questions: Do I need a content writer or a copywriter? Are they the same thing? Do I need one and not the other? Well worry no further, throughout this article we will go over the difference between the two and which one you might need for your business.
The Basic Introduction
To begin to understand the main differences between content and copywriting, we have to start with what they are on a basic level.
Content writing is the practice of creating content specific to an online organization or business brand. It needs to inform, educate, or entertain its readers and has a clear purpose and reason behind each piece of work. The best content writing is focused on the quality of the editorial, regardless of if it comes from a brand or a publisher. For brands and data-driven publishers, content writing aligns with business and marketing goals to attract audiences and potential customers.
Workplace Content Writing
Content writers can be anyone with access to technology, professional writing abilities, and ability to research. This could be anyone from professionals, executives, authors, bloggers, software engineers, CEOs, brands, and more. The only requirement for the job is the understand the craft of content writing and the brand for which you are creating content.
Types of Content Writing
Content writing provides a lot of opportunities to write different forms of content including but not limited to:
- Blog posts
- Newspaper articles
- Magazine features
- Email newsletters
- Print magazines
- Social media posts
- Television and film
It is a reasonably endless field of writing choices and can attract many different types of writers. The only limit is the knowledge about the product you are selling and how much you want to write.
Short-From Content VS Long-Form Content
One thing you do have to consider when content writing is understanding the appropriate length each article should be. As a content writer, it’s vital to keep your readers’ needs in mind while maintaining their engagement and attention. This is actually one of the trickiest parts of content writing, besides coming up with the content itself. There are two lengths of content writing, long-form, and short-form. Each length serves a different purpose and is best used for a variety of reasons.
Long-form Content Writing
Long-form content is 1,000 words or more and is used to show readers a business’s expertise in their products and their industry. It can help provide credibility to a brand because a lot of information can be provided and proven in longer forms of writing.
Short-form Content Writing
Short-form content is 600 words or less and usually is used for social media posts, blog posts, and emails. This is best used for customers familiar with your business, inexpensive or commonly used items, or established subscribers who know of you and your credibility as a brand. It can be tricky to know which form to use, but practice and research can provide helpful tips on which is best for your form of content writing.
Copywriting is one of the most critical elements of any and all forms of marketing and advertising. This consists of the words, either written or spoken, marketers use to try to get people to take an action after reading or hearing them. It is truly the art of selling people on an idea, brand, or ideology, and the best copywriting fuels the products and ideology of a company together to create branding.
A copywriter is a professional whose job is dedicated to producing copy. This can come in many forms but the general idea is that a copywriter writes marketing material for a living. It is their trade, craft, and skill. Some of the most common forms of copy would be slogan writing for brands, but with the expansion of the internet, the scope of the writing for a copywriter is expanding rapidly.
Types of Copywriting
Copywriting is no longer just slogans and small catchphrases. It has expanded into every level of advertisement and marketing on the internet and can be found in all sorts of things you read online:
- Ads, online and in real life
- Slogans and taglines
- Web page content
- SEO content
- Email campaigns
- Television or radio commercial scripts
- Video scripts
- Press releases
- White papers
Unlike content writing, copywriting almost entirely consists of short-form writing, or 600 words or less. It’s a type of writing that is meant to grab people’s attention, provide some quick information, and then get them to take action and find your business. The long copywriting articles are, the less likely customers are going to stay and continue to read because advertisements need to be short and catchy, not long and informative.
Seven Key Differences Between Copywriting and Content Writing
Now that you have a basic understanding of what the two writing positions are, do you understand how they are different? If you still are unsure, here are the seven main differences between copywriting and content writing.
1. A Copywriter Sells and a Content Writer Informs
A copywriter is trying to sell a specific product to a target audience that is necessary for your brand. A content writer informs, educates, and entertains readers no matter their background or interests.
2. Copywriters Create a Sense of Urgency and Inspire Emotional Responses
Copywriters want people to take immediate action. For example, they’ll want readers to download something, signup for a newsletter, or buy a product. On the other hand, content writers want to build an engaged audience. As we mentioned above, they want to establish trust and position the brand as a reliable source of information.
3. Content Writers Lay the Groundwork for Future Sales
Despite the fact that content writers are not specifically trying to sell a product, content writers are still concerned with selling. Sales are an indirect result of producing valuable content. Content writers play the long haul.
4. Content Writers are More Focused on SEO
Content writers are usually hired to drive inbound traffic. So, the best content writers are great at SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They will help you choose topics based on search terms that align with your business goals.
5. Copywriters Write Short-Form Content, Content Writers Write More Long-Form Content
Copywriters are aiming to draw your attention, provide a bit of information about their brand, and then send you on your way to purchase their product. Content writers are going to write longer pieces that provide a lot of information and stories that not only teach you about the brand and the business behind but the products they produce as well.
6. Content Writers Contribute to a Long-Term Strategy
You will be able to tell pretty quickly if a copywriter writes an ad that does well with their customer base. Metrics like click-through rates and open rates are a good indication of that. Content is not generally easy to measure in the short term. Good content strategies (like white hat SEO strategies) take time to pay off.
7. Content Writers Drive Organic Traffic, Copywriters Turn Traffic Into Business
This last point sums up the differences between a copywriter vs. content writer. Copywriters drive organic traffic, while copywriters convert traffic into sales or leads. Jessica Foster, founder of Keys&Copy explains that there can be an overlap, but it’s rarely, if ever, 100%.
Understanding Your Business Needs
You now have all the facts and information about the differences between these writers and what you can expect from them if you were to hire them for your business. Now, what’s next? Does your business need more short-form writing such as copywriting ads and slogans? Do you need longer pieces of content written by content writers to bring more attention and information about your business? Oftentimes businesses need a little of both to be successful in the everchanging online landscape. Some readers will be intrigued by a quick ad or social media post and be drawn to your site. Some will want to read more about you and find if your interests match theirs before looking into your business. It is a balancing act of attracting as many customers to your business as you can, and it’s best to keep your options open and hire what you need. If you are unsure of what your business is in need of, try both and see which is more successful for you. Marketing your brand can be tricky, but if done well can make all the difference to your business and its future.
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