For the naked and untrained eye, it just might be. Truth be told, a lot of professionals marketers struggle to give a proper definition of the two in order to differentiate them.
They are not the same, that’s definitely true, even though they share a lot of similarities. These similarities make it so hard, especially for young writers, to tell the difference between copy and content. However, both of them carry a set of distinctive challenges and required skills.
In this article, we will show you what these differences are.
The biggest difference between the two is their purpose.
Copywriting is a force that drives brands and personas, it helps in making sales, closing deals, raising awareness.
Content writing, in this respect, is more subtle, still telling your brand’s story, but at the same time, it also aims to deliver value.
Copywriting is about selling an idea, brand, ideology, service or product. The best copies usually manage to fuse all this together in order to create branding. Even though it’s advertorial in nature and intends to pitch to customers to engage with the brand, to use its services or buy their products, it’s much more than that.
A good copy is a great blend of raising awareness of a typical problem and giving a solution while telling the brand’s story, philosophy and mission. As such, it shouldn’t only speak about the problem and the solution, but should also contain experiences and evoke emotions.
Content writing, on the other hand, is more artistic. As such, its main goal is either to entertain, educate or inform. Good content has a reason and/or clear purpose behind it. It also needs to introduce your brand’s voice and needs to keep the customer engaged while they either read, listen, or watch the content you’re pushing.
From this aspect, content writing may seem like a more artistic approach, however, even though quality and value are crucial key points, content writing should strictly align with a brand’s marketing goals and business strategy in order to attract a bigger audience and potential prospects.
To sum up, the major difference between the two: content passes the information to your prospects and already valuable customers while copy tells them what your brand is all about.
Of course, the two also share a lot of similar characteristics. First of all, both of them aim to convert readers either into leads or sales somewhere in the sales funnel. Secondly, both of them need to be engaging, to keep the prospect reading.
So, to recap:
Copywriting – selling an idea
Content – creating value and helping audiences to understand a brand and to generate interest
From a job perspective
Another difference can be found between the job descriptions, too.
A copywriter is someone who does this professionally, producing copy, which is in most cases short-form, but that’s not the rule. Generally speaking, copywriters write marketing material for a living.
On the other hand, a content writer can be anyone who is creative enough to produce new content. He doesn’t have to be a professional writer per se, but someone who puts in the time and effort to create content. Thanks to the nature of the internet, a vast majority of people can write, from brands through bloggers to professionals and executives.
It’s still true that good content writing takes time and experience, however, people who practice it don’t necessarily need to do it for a living.
Types of material
Now, let’s get into the different types of materials that classify either as copy or content.
In the early days of marketing, copywriting was mainly limited to old-fashioned advertising, but the internet had broadened the view for copywriters. Nowadays, their not limited to witty slogans and cheesy sales pitches but have the opportunity to create material such as:
- Web page content
- Email campaigns
- SEO content
- Press releases
- Video scripts
- White papers
- Jingle lyrics
- Direct mail letters
- Sales letters
- TV or radio advertising script
- Social media posts
Nowadays, there’s a huge overlap with technical writers and content writers for copywriters, however, the idea remains the same: Selling either a product, a service, or an idea during the course of a marketing campaign.
Today, digital marketing has made a huge impact on how we perceive copywriting, and it’s true because, in the digital realm, most of a copywriter’s time is spent working on materials for social media. This doesn’t have to be a rule, but the impact of social media marketing is huge, and there’s a high demand for good copywriters on that end.
Content also has a lot to offer for writers and as such, they can write:
- Magazine features
- Blog posts
- Newspaper features
- Email newsletters
- Print magazines
- Social Media
As you can see, there’s also plenty to do for content writers too and they can go beyond the written word, enhancing their content with audio and video too.
Putting it all together
What we’d advise brands is to encourage both content and copywriting and their many forms. A fine blend of educational, valuable and sales materials can do wonders for any brand and can give customers the value they deserve.
Are you struggling with your copies? You can write content for your community, share your story, but copy is for the pros. So give the pros a call.
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