Businesses need words. Lots of them. Preferably great ones. But what’s the difference between copywriting and content writing, and does a business need both?

Whether you create copy and content in-house or outsource copywriting and content creation to a freelance writer, there’s no escaping the fact the written word is essential to your business.

Let’s take a look at the differences between copywriting vs content writing, and see how both can benefit your business.

What’s the difference between copywriting and content writing?

If you’ve heard of copywriting and content writing, you’ve probably wondered if they’re different words for the same thing. And it’s true both copywriters and content writers produce words for businesses for specific reasons – and the two can overlap. But there are key distinctions between copywriting and content writing.

Purpose

Copywriting is sales-driven; content writing is engagement-driven.

While both are written for marketing purposes, copywriting has a clearer sales objective, whereas content writing is for branding.

Content writing is specialised content written for a business that’s less salesly and more informative and friendly, designed to help and entertain to promote brand loyalty.

The purpose of copywriting is to sell or convert, so it follows a clear direction.

As the purpose of content writing is to engage, it can veer in multiple directions and have a variety of links, because it’s not there to directly sell to you.

Length

Generally, copywriting is short in length, while content writing can be longer in form. As copywriting takes the reader through a sales process, it tends to be concise without tangents.

Content writing, on the other hand, can be much lengthier and spark various tangents.

Goal

The goal of copywriting is to sell a product or convert a customer, so it tends to end with a clear call to action, e.g. a “buy now” button at the bottom of an ad or landing page.

Meanwhile, content writing is subtler, as its goal is to simply engage an audience and encourage loyalty.

Do I need a separate copywriter and content writer?

In short, it depends on the individual and business. While some writers only produce copy or content, others can successfully do both.

When finding a freelance writer to support your business, it’s most important to gel with someone and feel they “get” you and your business writing requirements. This might be one person or different people for each kind of writing, so get to know freelancers and explore their work to find a solution that’s best for your needs.

While most copywriters and content writers can adapt their writing to suit different company tones of voice, every writer has their own fundamental style, so it’s crucial to get to know what this is to see if it aligns with your brand.

Does a business need both copywriting and content writing?

In a word, yes!

Copywriting may generate sales, but content writing does the background work by warming up a customer to convert.

By encouraging brand loyalty and building a relationship of trust between customer and brand, content writing makes a reader more likely to later convert.

Content writing is part of a less direct and longer-term strategy, but it’s no less important than copywriting to a business’s overall marketing.

Examples of copywriting and content writing

This is by no means definitive because some of these (e.g. blogs) can be both, but here’s a general guide to what’s defined as copywriting vs content writing.

Examples of copywriting:

  • Website copy
  • SEO landing pages
  • Advertising copy
  • Sales emails
  • Direct mail
  • Paid online ads or social ads
  • Taglines
  • Brochures

Examples of content writing:

  • Blogs
  • Unpaid social media posts
  • E-books
  • Advertorials
  • Case studies

For more information about copywriting and content writing, check out my other blogs.

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