Copywriting vs. Content Writing: What's the Difference?
Updated: May 31
Mitch Earll Account Analyst
As I spend more time working in the digital marketing industry, one thing has stuck out to me more so than anything else. Perspective. Not just one single type of point of view on a topic or subject, but the multiple types of perspectives that marketers put themselves in every day while working. From putting yourself in the shoes of potential customers to internal perspectives on how things should be operating to be as efficient as possible - the differentiator between a good marketer and a great one is their ability to digest, understand, and leverage concepts, ideas, and even social/cultural standards that are not the same as their own. Personal Perspective Since my start here at HIFIVE, I’ve had to wear a few different types of hats. Funny enough, two of those hats just so happened to be writing copy and writing content. At first, I was not thrilled with what I was producing because even though I fancy myself as a half-decent writer, I felt like my writing was all over the place. Trying to convey a message that is both informative and persuasive is not as easy as it seems. Thankfully, as time has progressed, I like to think I have improved with every stroke of my keyboard. However, I don’t think that repetition was my secret sauce. I think what helped me crack the code was a change in perspective.
Specifically, realizing that the type of writing I was producing should not be viewed or approached in the same manner altogether, but separated into two different states of writing - copywriting & content writing.
Differences Between Content & Copy Copywriting and content writing are two different text-based disciplines in the world of digital marketing. They can be used jointly, but there is a difference between copywriting and content writing. The best way to think of the difference is that copywriters are telling the story about a product or service while content writers provide valuable information about it. Getting a better grasp on these differences will help you to get a better perspective so that you too can start creating superior work that will help you hit the desired results you are aiming for. Content = Education Focused In content writing, the writer's goal is to inform and educate readers about something through their writing. Whether it’s a blog or a webpage, content writing is aimed at the end goal of informing the end-user that is reading it about the related topic, product, or service. The content writer might also have an ulterior motive for content marketing that involves convincing readers of something--but it isn't their primary focus as it is in copywriting. To be a great content writer you need to know the material like the back of your hand so that you are able to explain it in great detail without losing your audience. When I am trying to decide if I am knowledgeable enough on a subject matter to write about, I like to remind myself of my favorite Einstein quote.
“If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well enough.”
That being said, if you can’t explain it to a fifth-grader, it’s probably time to start schooling yourself again. Copy = Sales Focused Copywriting is all about getting your target market's attention, holding it, and steering them in the desired direction. This could be buying a product or service, making a donation, or any other desired outcome, like entering personal information into a form or calling a specific phone number so that the sales guy on the other end can do their job and close the deal. To be a great copywriter you need to know how to entice a specific response or action from your target audience.
SPOILER ALERT: This more often than not comes in the form of emotional alignment through pulling on the heartstrings of your audience or selling a solution to a specific problem.
Similarities Between Copy & Content
Copywriting and content writing are two very different things when it comes to marketing. However, there is some common ground that both of these writers must stand on to be successful in either endeavor. Both types of writers need a deep understanding of the subject matter at hand. Without it, messaging could become lost in translation, resulting in piss-poor digital communication across the board. Understanding the core differences between these two types of writers will give you direction to better navigate the world of digital marketing. Hopefully, this overview has given you a better understanding of the differences between copywriting and content writing. If you or someone you know is looking for help in either of these areas - feel free to reach out and contact HIFIVE here.