Content writing and copywriting are two of the most important marketing activities for modern brands. While copywriting is one of the oldest art forms in advertising, content writing has become the new staple of digital marketing strategies in our increasingly connected world.
The line between content and copy has blurred in the internet age, as page content mixes with web copy, blog posts including calls to action and digital channels like e-mail and social media merge content and copy-driven strategies.
In this article, we clarify the differences between content writing and copywriting – and why they are both of equal importance.
While content and copy often live together side-by-side (especially on corporate websites), they play two very different roles.
Content writing refers to the production of informative and/or entertaining content, normally as part of a long-term strategy with soft marketing goals – e.g. brand awareness, engagement, search ranking, email signups, etc.
Common examples of content writing include: blog posts, downloadable guides, news articles, industry reports, surveys, etc.
In most cases, your audience is not expected to complete primary conversion goals (e.g. purchases) after interacting with this type of content. However, producing a regular stream of quality content can progressively influence people’s buying decisions, generate soft leads (signups, enquiries, downloads, etc.) and contribute to long-term marketing goals.
Copywriting creates persuasive messages designed to inspire action. Any content that tries to convince readers to do something (buy, sign up, download, click through, etc.) falls into the copywriting category.
Common examples of copywriting include: ads, landing pages, product pages, calls-to-action, headlines, slogans, etc.
While content informs or entertains largely passive audiences, effective copy convinces people to take action on the spot.
Content writing is the staple of modern marketing, as it helps to build your brand’s voice and get your message out to relevant audiences. An effective content strategy will put your brand in full focus and grab your target audience’s attention, which makes you discoverable to people likely to buy from you in the near future.
Content marketing demonstrates what you have to offer to potential customers and how you differentiate from your competitors.
It helps you build a brand story and develop a strong narrative around your marketing messages that makes them more relatable and relevant to each target audience. An effective content strategy is about keeping your audience engaged and interested in your offers without pushing them to buy anything. It is about nurturing intent and gradually building motivation so that audiences are more receptive to your copywriting when you deliver offers and stronger sales messages.
Copywriting is designed to sell and its primary purpose is to influence purchase decisions. Often described as the art of persuasion, copywriting aims to convince readers to take specific high-value actions, e.g. purchase, subscribe, renew, download, sign up, etc.
Often described as the art of persuasion, copywriting encompasses a variety of specialisms. These include: linguistic expertise, psychology, behavioural economics, affective science (the study of emotions), consumer research and a variety of other disciplines. This collection of expertise and skill sets is required to produce concise, highly-effective copy that motivates and inspires passive audiences to take action.
While it is logical and tempting to ask whether content writing or copywriting is more important for a business, this question often comes from the wrong mindset. These two distinct forms of writing play two very different roles for modern businesses and you need an effective strategy for both.
Of course, it can be argued that content marketing means nothing without copywriting because without the latter you are never going to convert readers into paying customers. However, even the best copywriting is worthless if your message fails to reach the right audience – and this is where content marketing thrives and is invaluable.
In other words, content marketing and copywriting need each other to maximise their own effectiveness.
Content marketing has gained a lot of attention over the past decade so most companies understand the value of having a content marketing strategy. Copywriting, on the other hand, does not always get the attention it deserves. As a result, we see a lot of companies settle for average copy on their websites and this does not help their business stand out.
When copy fails to convince audiences to take action and complete conversion goals, this will subsequently hurt any investments made in content marketing.
At translate plus, we have a rich pool of creative copywriters and transcreators based all around the world. Our experienced team can help you develop an integrated content and copywriting strategy, from the planning and strategic aspects to production.
Get in touch with us to discuss your copywriting needs and any other language and content support you may need.