Content writing vs. copywriting, what are the differences, and which do you need? It’s becoming increasingly apparent that content marketing is not only the future but also the present.
Businesses that fail to produce consistent content are missing out on a large portion of the audience, resulting in missed opportunities for growth and new customers. If you aren’t creating content, content writing should be your focus.
But what if you’re already producing content but aren’t converting your leads to sales. Copywriting is about writing persuasive copy that drives results. If you’re struggling with conversions, copywriting is for you.
We’ll cover both forms of writing and explain the difference between the two.
What Is Content Writing?
Content writing is an inbound marketing strategy with the purpose of attracting visitors to a website. By producing valuable information about a problem or solution, you’ll be able to earn your audience’s trust, improve engagement and generate sales opportunities.
The process of content writing consists of planning, writing, and editing the writing piece so that it’s optimized to deliver valuable content and potentially ranking on search engines. When people hear the term “content writing,” they mostly equate that to writing articles. However, it goes beyond that. There are many forms of content writing, including:
- Video scripts
- Web page copy
- Landing page
- Podcast titles
- YouTube video descriptions
Benefits of Content Writing
Content writing is often an underlooked and overrated aspect of marketing. Most businesses expect to see immediate results. For example, “put in X dollars and receive X dollars in ROI.” Unfortunately, organic traffic methods don’t work that way. It takes time to build an audience, get people to trust your brand, and rank on Google. It’s important to take a long-term approach to content writing when thinking about the benefits.
Boost search engine rankings
Content writing usually involves optimizing keywords, headings, and content to fit what the audience is looking for. If readers are looking for “how to tenderize pork,” you’ll use a variation of keywords based on the research you’ve done. Furthermore, content writing aims to add a wide depth of information to answer the questions in the reader’s mind.
Generate more leads and sales
As you attract more visitors to your website from Google, you’re bound to get more leads and sales. Content writing is a great way to build trust among your audience. If you’re helping them with questions or problems they have, they’ll likely turn to you for a solution. As long as you capture your leads using a lead magnet and capture form and sell a product they need, you’re likely to see an increase in leads and sales.
Define brand voice
A brand voice is a unique personality that a brand takes on when communicating to its audience. Since readers don’t know anything about you, they simply can only go off of the words that they’re reading on your website, blog, and social media. Imagine if your brand was a person. What personality would it take on, and would people enjoy being around your brand?
Content writing establishes a brand voice that should be relatable to your audience. As you publish content consistently, your audience will receive a sense of consistency and readily engage with your brand more. It’s important to establish your brand voice early.
For example, Nike has a very tough and determined outlook, Jeep is bold and adventurous, and Skittles has a quirky and entertaining brand voice. So if you were writing content for Skittles, you’d be able to share jokes. However, with Nike, you may incorporate real-life stories about overcoming adversity.
Give readers a reason to come back.
In today’s world, many equate attention to currency. That’s because consumers are bombarded with social media posts, email notifications, and plenty of businesses looking to pitch them services. As a modern business, providing valuable content that goes above and beyond what others provide and having a unique value proposition helps to ensure your visitors keep coming back.
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting is a form of writing that motivates people to take action, such as clicking on a link, making a purchase, scheduling a consultation, or donating to a cause. Most people might be confused when they hear the term “copy.” Copy is simply the text in the material.
Copywriting is generally used in marketing and promotional materials to entice users to take the desired action. Anywhere there’s an audience, copywriting can be used.
The most common forms of copywriting are:
- Video sales letters
- Pay-per-click ads
- Sales emails
- Print or online advertorials
- Landing pages and sales pages
- Magalogs (printed magazine-style promotions)
- Fundraising letters
Benefits of Copywriting
Here are the benefits that copywriting brings to your business.
Understand Your Audience and Build a Relationship With Customers
Any good copywriter takes time to do a lot of research on their audience. They want to uncover everything there is to know about them. For example, what are their demographics, psychographics, and behavioral habits?
If you’re selling a weight loss product to post-pregnant moms, it’s important to understand their deepest desires and fears. A copywriter may dig into mom forums and find that many women gain weight during and after pregnancy. They might also uncover that these women may have insecurities about how their spouse might not look at them the same way after the weight gain. And their desires could be to simply fit their old jeans and be photo-worthy when taking their family photos.
Your consumers feel understood when they read a piece of copy that is relevant to their situation. A copywriter knows how to trigger these emotions based on their deepest fears and desires. As a result, trust is built when you can describe a reader’s problem better than they can.
Copywriters appeal to people’s emotions. Consumers often make buying decisions off on their emotions rather than logic. Copywriters often describe the benefits of a product and are able to paint a picture of what their life would be like and how they would feel if they purchased the product.
The writing is often engaging and makes readers want to take action. For example, one Hubspot retargeting ad reads, “the CRM that takes 25 seconds to set up but saves up to 124 hours per year.” Instead of putting their logo and saying “ signup for our tool,” they used a strategic headline in their ad.
In this example, they used specific numbers to sound realistic. Furthermore, they’re handling a common objection from their customers. Many of their audience are worried that their software will take a long time to set up. Instead, the copy immediately demonstrates that they understand their customer’s worries and instead tells them the benefit of using their tool. Good copywriting in your marketing and promotional material can provide an immediate boost to your return on investment.
Content Writing vs. Copywriting: What are the Key Differences?
If you’ve read the description above, you still may be confused as to the key differences between the two. That’s because they both consist of writing for marketing purposes.
It can be difficult to distinguish because, technically, copywriters can write blog posts as well.
But the key differences lie in the purpose and type of content. The goal of the content writer is to educate, inform and build trust in the readers. Typically, when reading their work, you’ll notice everything is written “matter-of-fact.” Sure, a blog post can be written in a conversational tone; however, the premise of the blog is relaxed and doesn’t necessarily evoke any emotion.
In contrast, copywriting is much more dynamic. As mentioned, their sole purpose is to get a visitor to take action. Copywriters won’t care whether you read the entire copy or not as long as you take action. For example, in a long-form video sales letter (VSL), copywriters will sprinkle the call to action through the page. That’s because they know that many readers will simply scan the page without reading everything. In fact, readers only read between 20% to 28% of the content on any given page.
Copywriters are more careful with their words, and they tend to use “power” words that elicit emotion. For example, they might use words like “guarantee,” “expires,” “instant,” “free,” “warranty,” and other words to get users feeling emotion. They often think about how a reader will feel when reading a piece of copy. For example, they might use fear-based marketing to get users to take action.
For example, anti-tobacco movements use fear-based marketing to discourage people from smoking and seeking appropriate help. They paint the picture of what could happen to a person’s life if they continue down the path of smoking.
Copywriters tend to use more creativity in their formatting. They’ll use lots of bold and italicized texts along with texts with different font sizes. Their objective is to get the reader’s attention on the important aspects of the product or message.
This is a snapshot of the differences between the two:
Why Are They Important?
There’s a reason why 73% of companies hire a person or agency to help with their content strategy. Furthermore, 200 million consumers use ad blockers. This means if you’re solely relying on paid advertisements, you’re likely missing out on a huge segment of the market that won’t see your ads.
Content writing allows you to attract organic audiences to your website. Since it’s not a paid ad, visitors are likely to have their guard down, meaning they’re open to receiving information from you. Creating valuable content consistently is the best way to grow organically. A consultant that understands SEO can create a content marketing strategy. This means they can come up with topic ideas and keywords to help you drive more traffic to your site. In fact, content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more growth compared to sites without content marketing.
Although copywriting is portrayed as a sales-y, sleazy, and even persuasive writing form, it doesn’t always have to be. Copywriting is more about tapping into the reader’s mind. Effective copywriters understand their audience’s hopes, dreams, and fears. They often study their audience in great detail by listening and observing their behaviors.
Like a great builder, copywriters then use different tools from their toolbox. They often have a swipe file of many tactics, words, and examples to pull from to use based on what the writing calls for.
Content Writing and Copywriting for your Business
There’s no way you can claim one is better than the other. They both serve different purposes. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Content writers are needed to attract and nurture leads while copywriting is great for conversion.
If you’re unsure about which one you need, or perhaps you need both, it might be time for you to work with an expert marketing consultant. At Universal Creative Solutions, we can analyze your current content marketing strategy, and sales funnel to examine whether you need content writing or copywriting.
We offer in-house content and copywriting to help businesses get more traffic visitors, capture more leads and acquire new customers. The art of content writing and copywriting isn’t something you can simply learn overnight. Content writers need to keep readers engaged and deliver lots of value to the audience. Not to mention, they’ll need an in-depth understanding of SEO and the different ranking factors on search engines. Conversely, copywriters require lots of formal skill and practice. Many copywriters study the fundamentals of copywriting and the art of persuasion.
Fortunately, we can simply do it for you rather than trying to pull your hair out and do it yourself. Our company aims to provide marketing services for a fraction of the cost it would take to hire a full-stack marketing team. Book a consultation call with us today and learn how we can help your business grow.