Does your strategy need a copywriter or a content writer? Because there’s a difference.
Many businesses think that content writing and copywriting are one in the same. This confusion can cause problems when looking for a content writer when you actually need a copywriter and vice versa. Fortunately, it’s easy to learn the difference between these two types of writing.
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting, in a nutshell, is any type of content that is specifically geared toward coaxing a reader to take action. It is a term used in advertising to mean any text that is intended to sell a product.
For example, the text on a landing page that encourages the visitor to sign up for a free report is considered copywriting. There are many other examples of copywriting:
- Website funnels are designed to draw a visitor through a landing page, inform a person about a product and sell the product, all in one page of copy.
- Sales emails are sent to people already subscribed to a company’s mailing list (see also: How to Send an Email That Doesn’t Sound Like Spam). These emails are crafted to entice the recipient to click on a link that will take them to a product or information page.
- Direct mail encompasses sales fliers, postcards and sales letters that are sent through traditional mail systems.
- Brochures with the intent of selling a product also fit in the copywriting category.
What Is Content Writing?
While copywriting is pretty blatant in its sales tactics, content writing is a little bit sneakier. Its purpose is still to provoke an action, but the big difference is that the text is informative and useful to the reader, whether they buy a product or click on an ad.
For example, a white paper on current technology in the CPAP machine industry may have the intent of selling and promoting CPAP machines, but it does so by providing useful and actionable information a consumer might desire. Sales are the end-goal, but content writing intends to create sales by the exposure and consumer trust that often comes with good content writing.
By creating useful information people can use, a company can use content writing to draw in a targeted audience made up of potential buyers. In addition to white papers, there are many other types of content writing:
- Advertorials are often placed in magazines or on websites. These are articles that are written to inform readers on a certain subject while simultaneously selling a product. There is a good example of an advertorial at The New York Times site.
- Blogs created to draw visitors to a business site and convert sales walk the line between copywriting and content writing. If the blog specifically posts content to inform the reader, then it is content writing (see also: Essential Ingredients to a High Quality Blog Post). If each post is simply an ad for a new product, then it qualifies as copywriting.
- Website articles lure traffic to a site, but their purpose is always to inform or entertain a reader.
- Ebooks are another good example of content writing. They can inform the reader on longer subjects that can’t be covered in an article or blog post.
Overall, the key to identifying each type of content is by asking, “What is the purpose of this content?” Content writing offers some benefit to the reader. Copywriting is focused on a specific result.
Though these two types of writing can and should be used together in a successful marketing plan, knowing which is which is the key to finding someone who can help create stellar content.