Copywriting and content writing, it’s just words on your screen, right?
Well yes…but also no.
If you’re launching a new business or revamping your website, you might feel overwhelmed by all the articles discussing web copy, content writing, and brand messaging.
Even as a copywriter, I still get confused by all the different terms.
So in this post, I’ve broken down the two big categories: copy and content. But before we talk about how they’re different, we’ll explore what they have in common.
Let’s start by zooming out and considering marketing as a whole.
Copy and content are both types of marketing that convey your company’s purpose through messaging. So you’re right, they are just words on your screen.
Or in magazines and newspapers. Or on those flyers for 70% off frozen cabbage rolls that spill out of your mailbox and all over your lobby floor every Thursday morning.
But they’re also words rooted in extensive research, psychology, and creativity.
You’ll find a lot of copywriters offer content writing. That’s because most businesses, especially creative ones, need high-quality copy AND content to connect with their clients, stand out online, drive traffic to their site, and sell their services.
Think of copy and content like PB and J, gin and tonic, and breakups and loudly singing Taylor Swift songs in your car.
Can you have one without the other? Yes. But should you?
Basically, copywriters and content writers are research nerds with a flair for creativity. They work to uncover a company’s offers, values, audience, and brand voice before pulling it all together to create thoughtful and compelling messaging with a purpose.
The goals of copywriting and content writing is where we get to the difference.
Let’s dive in.
One of the most simple descriptions of copywriting is this:
Copywriting is messaging that inspires a feeling in readers and motivates them to take an action.
That action might be buying a product or signing up for a service. Sometimes it’s as simple as opening an email that stands out in your sea of unopened newsletters. Or maybe it’s clicking the ‘Learn More About Me!’ button on a website because you need to know what your favourite podcaster’s astrology sign is.
The purpose of copywriting is to get you, the reader, to do something.
Some copywriters get specific with their definition of copywriting. For example:
Creative or brand copywriting emphasizes storytelling and personality.
Conversion copywriting focuses on sales and motivating readers to purchase.
SEO copywriting makes everyone’s brain hurt but is all about getting your website to show up on search engines.
My thoughts are: how can you do one type of copywriting well without another?
People buy from brands or companies they are drawn to. But what draws them in? How a company’s messaging and storytelling expresses its values and personality. Brand copywriting, check.
The entire purpose of copywriting is to motivate readers to take an action, usually a purchase, to help a business grow. Conversion copywriting, check.
To get readers to your website in the first place, your writing needs to be optimized for search engines. Unless your company relies entirely on other forms of marketing and audience growth. SEO copywriting, check.
But, you can’t stuff your website full of keywords and skip the connection and storytelling part of messaging. Back to brand copywriting we go.
Copywriting, however, does take different forms in terms of the actual delivery. And most copywriters specialize in the areas they enjoy or are best suited to.
These forms of copywriting include:
Social media copywriting
Banner or ad copy
Public relations copywriting
Your business, especially if you run a small creative one or you’re just launching, doesn’t need all these types of copywriting! That’s way too much to take on.
Instead, focus on the areas that will best serve your service and your audience.
Are the majority of your clients finding you on social media? Focus on improving your posts and creating an active email list.
Do you offer online services that aren’t constrained to a specific location? Amp up your website copy to gain more website traffic.
Are you a brick-and-mortar shop that specifically serves your local community? Print ads might reach your target audience best!
Copy is just one of the many services, products, and skills to consider when you’re running your own business. Having clear, authentic, and compelling messaging will help you reach your dream clients, make more sales, and grow your business.
But it’s also a financial investment! Make sure your time and energy are going into copy that will best serve your business goals.
If you’re still looking for more info about what copywriting is and how a copywriter can help your business grow, check out my post ‘What is Copywriting?’
Now that we’ve covered the purpose of copywriting and the different formats, let’s take a look at content writing.
Like I said earlier, the main difference between content writing and copywriting is the purpose.
Copywriting’s purpose is to convince readers to take an action. Content’s goal is to entertain or inform a reader. Can it lead to the reader taking an action or making a purpose? Absolutely! But that’s not the primary goal.
Like copywriting, content writing comes in many forms like interviews, op-eds, e-books, and FAQs. The most common type of content writing is blogging.
Blogs are designed to connect with readers by offering advice, guides, reviews, and insight into a business or entrepreneur. After reading a blog, someone might feel motivated to make a purchase or sign up for a service. But they also might take the information and solve a problem on their own or discover a fun new story or fact to tell at parties.
Content writing still helps your business grow by deepening your connection to your dream clients, establishing your authority in your craft, highlighting the transformation you offer, and helping you show up on search engines.
Curious about how a blog can do all that? Check out this post on why all small businesses should have a blog.
You do you, boo.
But yes, a well-rounded company has both copy and content to connect with, educate, entertain, and persuade your dream clients.
Well-written copy and content also mean you get to do less work as a business owner! Instead of explaining to each of your clients individually how their problems could be solved, the services you offer, your background, and why your offers are perfect for them, your copy and content do it for you.
AND, you can outsource it so you don’t even have to worry about the writing part.
If you’re ready to take on the world of messaging, and by take on I mean offload onto someone else, send me a note below!
We’ll hop on a free discovery call and chat about your needs, goals, and your drink of choice you’ll enjoy you’ve crossed copy and content from your to-do list.
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Brand & Website By Samara Bortz Creative | Photos by Kristen Buchholtz & Mollie Laura
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