Copywriting versus content writing: do you think it is all the same, right?
Well no, it definitely isn’t, sorry. It is not exactly the difference between pears and apples, more like onions and calçots, but you get the idea. For entrepreneurs who are looking for candidates to join their team, it is incredibly important to know the differences between the two; each one represents a unique set of challenges and skills to do it well. Here, we point out the main differences between copywriting and content writing.
The biggest decision is hidden in the objective. Copywriting is selling the brand; content writing talks about itself subtly while delivering some kind of valuable content.
Copywriting is the art of selling people an idea, brand or ideology. The best copywriting fuses the products and the image go a brand to create branding. Copywriting is the nature of advertising, since its intention is to attract customers to use a company’s products and/or services.
For Mad Men fans, this is what Don Draper and Peggy Olson did all the time in Sterling Cooper (or any agency they were with at the time). They did not sell products, but ideas and emotions linked to the products.
In two words
Copywriting is about creating content, informing, educating or entertaining; having a clear purpose and/or reason behind the piece; representing the voice of the brand. The best content writing focuses on the quality of the reading, regardless of whether it is published by the brand itself or by an external platform. For brands (and some data-based publishers), content writing is aligned with strategic business and marketing objectives to attract audiences and potential customers.
Here is a way of seeing both: content writing transmits information to the audience while copywriting reveals what the brand is all about.
The two, of course, share similarities. On the one hand: objectives. Both copywriting and content writing ultimately seek to turn a reader into a sale or a potential customer. Another similarity: both need to be well written. The definition of quality writing is different in each case, but whatever the purpose, it attracts the readers to keep reading.
In short: the ultimate goal of copywriting is to sell an idea, while content writing aims to create valuable content to help the public to understand the brand and generate interest.
A truth: copywriters write copies and content writers write content. If you are confused about what this means, then you should know that everything is explained. Another difference between writing and content writing lies in the work description.
A writer is a professional whose job is to produce copies. This can come in many forms (see bellow), but the main idea is that the writer writes marketing material for a living. It is their trade, hobby, skill, whatever you want to call it.
Now, a content writer can be anyone. It is not necessarily a professional writer, but someone who produces content. Thanks to the democratisation of the Internet, anyone can now write, including professionals, executives, authors, bloggers, software engineers, CEOs, brands, etc. Of course, the best content writers understand the craft of content writing, but that may not be the case.
In simple terms: a copywriter is a professional who writes marketing copies; a content writer can be anyone who produces content.
Types of writing
A copywriter writes marketing materials, a content writer writes content, but what kind of marketing material and content? This is the last great distinction between the two.
Traditionally, copywriting was limited to advertising in the old days (again, watch Mad Men). But the Internet changed the scope of what copywriters can write beyond clever slogans. Today, the list includes, but is not limited to:
- Ads, online and offline
- Website content
- SEO content
- Emails campaigns
- TV or radio commercial scripts
- Video scripts
- Press releases
- White papers
- Sales letters
- Direct mail letters
- Jingle lyrics
- Social networks
Today copywriters see a lot of overlap with content writers and technical writers, but remember: the point is to sell an idea as part of a marketing campaign.
Likewise, content writing has many opportunities to write different types of content, including but not limited to:
- Blog posts
- Newspaper articles
- Characteristics of the magazine
- White papers
- Email newsletters
- Printed magazines
- Social media posts
Yes, even television and movies are considered content these days, just a different type (but that’s another story).
Considering the very different nature of these two positions it is obvious that by publishing the job offers you will be looking for very different qualifications and knowledge:
The list of what is usually requested in a copywriting job:
- Knowledge of SEO and SEM
- High level on English, other languages are a plus
- Good Excel handling
- High level of grammar and writing
- Facebook Ads, LinkedIN Ads
- Sales Navigator
- Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Google Ad display y Google Trends
The list of what is usually required for a content writer/manager job:
- Creation of content together with the search of truthful information about the service or product
- Basic image editing skills and its adaptation to different formats
- Complete the database of bloggers and journalists, also contact them and interact with other blogs, social networks or forums
- Preparing reports for clients
- Microsoft Office apps and services knowledge
- Experience with WordPress
- Prestashop for (eCommerce)
- Knowledge of HTML and Photoshop
- Trello, Basecamp, Asana, Magento
What you really need to keep in mind is that brands of all types need copywriting and content writing to keep up to date, so there are many opportunities for writers to try both. It is just a matter of seeing which one has a trick and sticking to it.