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The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing And How To Use Both To Grow Your Business

So, rewind to 2012, I had a new baby and a new idea to start a blog.

I hit the laptop keys and started writing.

I didn't understand SEO or email marketing.

I didn't have a social media marketing strategy or a posting schedule of any kind.

I was rough around the edges and green behind my pierced brown ears.

I simply wrote and shared.

Eventually, my blog started to get found and people started to get in touch.

People asked, “Are You A Writer?”

"Err… no, I'd say!" Stumped by the question and often expecting there to be a slew of comments like, "I knew it, your writing is ________[fill with the expletive of your choice]."

But that didn't happen.

Instead, I was asked to write website copy, blogs and marketing material for different brands and companies.

It's worth repeating at this point I still didn't know what I was “actually” being hired to do.

I didn't call myself a copywriter or content writer for another 5 years.

In my mind, I just wrote and my clients were happy with the results.

Fast forward to today

100s of blog posts later

Countless website copy clients

Multiple email campaigns under my belt

And 100s of social and digital marketing content pieces shared…

... I understand that there’s a distinct difference between copywriting and content writing.

As online business owners we need to effectively create both styles of content to achieve our business goals.

So, let’s tie our hair back, situate those blue-light blocking glasses and get down to it!

So, What’s the Difference: Copywriting vs. Content Writing?

The goal as a copywriter is to persuade your reader to take action.

The goal of a content writer is to inform, educate, instruct and entertain.

They go together like ham and cheese, curry and beer and strawberries and cream. However, some subtle differences are worth knowing about.

Copywriting & How It Works

Copywriting does the following:

  • Sells your brand to your target audience in a persuasive manner

  • It’s used to help the buyer make a decision and take action

  • Copywriting is typically short-form content, using direct and instructional language

  • It’s perfect for ad copy (on and offline), slogans, headlines, tag lines, CTAs, landing pages, website pages, sales emails, sales pages and some email marketing

  • A copywriter understands basic SEO

  • Results from copywriting content can be seen almost immediately, such as open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates

Content Writing...What Is It & How Does It Work?

Content writing is used to:

  • Inform, educate, instruct or entertain your target audience. Its purpose is to increase brand awareness

  • It’s used to build relationships with the audience and create the K.L.T (know, like and trust factor)

  • Content writing is typically long-form content, such as storytelling, sharing examples, testimonials, tips and ideas.

  • It’s typically used in articles, blogs, social media captions, email newsletters, downloads, ebooks and some email marketing

  • A content writer uses SEO to market content effectively and to attract their target audience

  • Results are seen over a longer period of time, such as followers on social media and email list subscribers. It’s a long-term strategy for growth

There aren’t 50 shades but here’s the grey area

There’s overlap between the two and sometimes the two roles can blur.

For example, you may write a blog (content writing) and then at the end include a CTA (copywriting technique) - ultimately, it’s still a blog post.

On the other hand, you might write a sales page (copywriting content) and include examples and storytelling (content techniques).

Despite the overlap, the sales page will still be considered a piece of copywriting content.

Stephen R Covey, in his book 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, suggests to "Begin with the end in mind." And I believe the same principle can be applied to us as content creators.

As an online content creator your role is to start with the end in mind.

Decide what your objective is and what action you would like your reader to take:

Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter?

Leave a comment?

Share the post?

Grab a free download?

Press a link?

Make a purchase?

Book a call?

Start with the end in mind to determine what hat you need to wear.

The Two Hats

So, your role as CEO of your personal or business brand is to wear both hats in your business.

Sometimes you’ll be required to be a content writer and other times a copywriter.

And Now, The Ménage à trois. Wait, there’s a third part?!

Yes, there is!

Sitting right in the middle of the Copywriter and Content Writer is the Content Strategist.

Who’s this chap you might ask.

Well, this person’s role is to control and oversee the brand’s overall content strategy.

For example, whenever you do the following you are operating as a content strategist:

  • When you brainstorm content ideas

  • Strategise how you’ll create them

  • What format they’ll be delivered in

  • And where they will be shared

Where’s the ribbon? Let’s Wrap This Up!

OK, so we’ve covered the difference between copywriting and content writing and how they both work in your business.

We’ve discussed the grey area and the importance of starting with the end in mind to determine which creative hat you need to wear.

Alright, before I sign off, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer up a personal CTA of my own [wink], so here goes...

If you liked this post then please share it wherever you hang out the most on social. And while you’re there follow me and let me know how you’re getting on - I love hearing from you!

With so much love,

Nat x


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