Copy Writer vs. Content Writer: Which One is Right For You?

Content creation is the lifeblood of digital marketing.

It’s a given that customers aren’t just going to stumble on your business while browsing the internet unless your content compels them to. Content is the soul of digital marketing and any successful digital marketing campaigns, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and social media marketing (SMM) – all rely on top-notch content.

Every sentence and every paragraph of content represents your business – setting up a new opportunity for your business to connect with prospective customers. There’s a catch here – content types vary. There’s content writing, and there’s copywriting – the difference is night and day. While both are used in digital marketing strategy, campaigns, and on your website, they have different purposes.

It’s a common misconception among businesses that content writing and copywriting are interchangeable. If you hire a copywriter instead of a content writer (or vice versa), the result is not going to meet your expectations. A copywriter or a content writer’s ultimate goal is to influence their business’s bottom line, but that’s where the similarities end – if you use digital marketing for promotional purposes – we recommend you read on.

What is Copy Writing?

It involves the creation of content to persuade readers to engage with your business’s sales process. Put simply, copywriting is writing advertising copy. So, what’s effective copywriting? It’s content that immediately grabs the reader’s attention, and clearly promotes a product or idea – prompting the reader to take action (clicking a link or making a purchase).

Examples of copywriting:

  • PPC landing pages
  • PPC ads
  • Cost-per-mille (CPM) ads
  • Social media ads
  • Product pages or brochures
  • Website sales copy or Website funnels
  • Sales emails or Direct emails
  • Short Message Service (SMS) ads
  • Conventional forms of advertising
  • Taglines

The sole purpose of copywriting is to persuade. They use emotion to compel the reader to action. You’ll want to hire a copywriter if you’re hoping to sell something on your website through ads, email, or direct response materials.

The primary objective is to understand sales psychology and human behavior. Copywriters use this understanding to craft copy highlighting a product’s features to create a unique selling proposition that addresses consumer demands and needs. Copywriters thrive on brevity and use emotion-based, short-form text that grabs attention and directs consumer behavior. According to research conducted by Harvard University professor Gerald Zaltman, over 9 in 10 consumer purchases are driven by emotion.1

Marketing copy should be concise, using a limited number of words to convey the point and convince the consumer to take the desired action, whether to click a link or make a phone call.

What Is Content Writing?

Content writing involves the creation of content to inform, educate or entertain readers. It drives sales, but that’s not its only purpose. With content writing, you create high-quality content to engage and entice the reader to learn more and empower the readers to make more informed purchasing decisions.

Here are some examples of content writing

For example, a computer company may have datasheets or whitepapers on their current line-up of laptops that they intend to sell – those documents are providing useful and actionable information for consumers or a channel partner. Sales are the end goal, but content writing drives sales through exposure, and building consumer trust.

Examples of content writing:

  • Advertorials
  • Blogs
  • Website articles/news articles
  • Evergreen articles
  • E-books
  • Social media posts generate leads and are aimed at a targeted audience.
  • Tutorials
  • Emailer newsletters
  • Case studies

The sole purpose of content writing is to engage, inform or entertain. A content writer uses education to connect with the reader and to build trust.

About 6 in 10 consumers2 feel more optimistic about a company/brand after reading custom content on its site. If your goal is brand awareness, establishing thought leadership, demonstrating industry expertise, or creating educational materials for your customers – you’ll need to hire a content writer.

Content writers craft long-form content (between 500 – 2,500 words) that is optimized for search. They are usually skilled researchers and excellent writers. The best content writers are storytellers, weaving words into compelling and relatable content designed to connect on some level with the reader.

Dabbling in copy and content?

Can a content writer also craft compelling copy, and can a copywriter create useful content? Absolutely. A good writer can do both – the ability to juggle content and copy expands the writer’s options for future assignments.

Content vs. Copy

There are similarities between copy and content – marketing leaders should be aware of the differences and understand how to utilize one over the other.

Content is a yardstick to measure growth. Well-written, relevant content expands an audience. Good content keeps your site sticky for your customers or prospects – even if they aren’t ready to buy your product or service.

Copy prompts the reader to take action at the moment. The relevance of good copy is time-limited.

Overall, the key to identifying your need is asking ‘what are we trying to accomplish?’ We believe the best use of either copywriting or content writing is tying them together – for greater impact on your marketing initiatives.

Content brings an audience to the website – copy converts that audience into consumers.

Nishanth Belliappa

December 29, 2022

By Nishanth Belliappa