Do you know the difference between Content Writing and Copywriting?
Content writing and Copywriting – do you know the difference? Are you using both in your marketing and brand strategy? Have you got the right balance? I’m going to delve into this a little bit later, but firstly, let’s quickly discuss the term ‘fluffy marketing’.
‘Fluffy marketing’. It’s a term that an old colleague of mine used regularly, which summed up an outsiders understanding of what I (or marketers) do quite nicely. The term was coined to describe the various actions I would undertake to get my job done. We were working on marketing a new product. It was a combination of services we offered on an individual basis and we were taking a select few and combining them. The outcome: We created a brand-new product to sell to our customers. My job was to create the ‘fluffy marketing’ that would do the trick in persuading our audience to purchase this new amazing product.
Sounds simple, right? Spoiler alert: It’s not, and it’s never as easy as it looks.
What has this got to do with Content writing and Copywriting you ask? Well these are two ‘fluffy marketing’ terms that I’m going to discuss in this blog.
Okay, back to the question and topic of this blog post: Do you know the difference between content writing and copywriting?
Now, depending who you ask, the answer may vary slightly. In a nutshell, content writing is the text that catches your audience – the hook. Its purpose is to entice and entertain in the hope that it’s reader will want to establish more of a connection with your brand. In its simplest form – leaving the reader to want to know more. Content writing has a specific purpose – e.g. advertising campaign. Visualise content writing as the teacher to your audience.
Forms of content writing
When it comes to producing content, this can be done in various forms – a press release, blog post, email newsletter or podcast for example. Additionally, good website content leads you on the pathway to cracking Google’s SEO algorithms – aka making your website content ‘Google-friendly’.
Content writing = content marketing. Your number one goal is to create content that really sells your product.
Short and long-form content
It’s worth mentioning the terms ‘long-form’ and ‘short-form’ content. A press release which tends to be longer than 400-600 words is what is known as short-form content. If you ask most people, the argument is that anything beyond 750 words is considered to be long-form content. Look at short-form as the content that is precise, direct and informs you of whatever its content is e.g. the opening of a new site or launch of a new product.
Long form on the otherhand, does the same thing, but with much finer detail. Information here is explain with more depth and detail.
The benefits of content writing
There are many benefits to be considered when to comes to what form of writing to choose. For example, Google rankings currently favours long-form over short-form pieces. However, short-form content is more mobile friendly. With over 70% of your audience reaching out to you via mobile and tablet, what do you choose? In my humble opinion, it’s about the best of both worlds.
By creating a combination of the two when it comes to your marketing content, you keep your readers on their toes. You become less predictable, which means you’re audience is excited and entrigued as to what you’re going to come out with next.
Copywriting, is where you take the content that you’ve created and use it to really sell your worth. This could be your brand, product or service. It’s the secret ingredient to content writing (see how these are connected now?). Imagine you’re going into battle. Both the armour and soldier must be as equally strong and prepared. Content writing is the soldier and the pieces of armour are what makes up the pieces of compelling copy. When both are strong and ready, you’re onto something!
Where content marketing is all about pushing information to it’s audience, copywriting’s job is to sell said product or service – the charm and wit of this equation. It’s all about being in the present when it comes to copywriting. Ask yourself what can be done today and write enticing CTA’s and compelling headlines.
Examples of copywriting
Examples of where you’ll find copywriting include adverts (Google AdWords), slogans and taglines (Nike’s ‘just do it’ is one example) and press releases. You’ll notice that there’s some similarity in where you’ll find both content writing and copywriting examples, such as email and newsletter campaigns.
As Neil Patel says, you cannot write copy unless you know:
- Who your audience is
- How they think and act
- What their specific needs are
These points are crucial and the basis to any successful copy being produced. In my opinion, great content is never produced the first time around. Not because I’m sloppy, but because it sometimes takes 127 drafts to write the piece of work you were looking for. In some cases, this may be revisiting what you wrote earlier on, but you needed to go through the process of eliminating the rest out before you’re sure. Also, don’t be afraid to break the rules a little.
Your copy should have purpose
As I mentioned earlier, copywriting makes up all the pieces to your overall content. It needs to meet the purpose all whilst remaining specific. Copywriting legend Ogilvy taught us write our copy as though we’re addressing it to an individual, not a stadium.
Ask yourself the following:
- Does your copy answer the question in your strapline and address the needs of the reader?
- Would you buy your product/service if you were reading this as the consumer?
Why Copywriting matters
It’s commonly said that your headline is 80% of your job in any marketing campaign. Once you nail that, your nearly there. However, you’ve still got that final 20% to go, and this is equally as important should you want to cross that finish line successfully.
Your copy needs to be on-brand and in the tone and voice of your company. If it’s going out to a new audience, then that element of trust is a critical ingredient. Be persuasive, but equally be human. Before you write any copy down, sell it to a friend. How would you tell them about it? If they get confused, change your wording. If they get excited, make a mental note to use such phrases or words. Now go and tackle your next task at hand and see how much of a difference it makes.
Excellent copy stands out as it’s personable whilst being both clear and concise.
I hope after reading this, you’ve learnt something to take away and apply yourself. More importantly, for those who are wanting to write their own copy, can you apply what’s been said to your business and brand? Finally, remember content writing and copywriting are forms of art. It’s best to hire someone who knows how to create it than having a go yourself. If you’re unsure, or have more questions, get in touch. Let’s discuss how I can help your brand to deliver more engaging and explosive content for your campaigns.