Content Writing vs. Copywriting: 5 Key Differences

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Ever since blogging became mainstream, it has become almost mandatory for brands to have one of their own. As marketing evolves, adapting to a more personal approach becomes increasingly important as customers today look for deeper connections and inspiration from brands they love.

So, this has opened up a lot of opportunities for young writers who want to pursue their passions professionally. There can sometimes be a blurry line between content writing and copywriting. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between the two so you can gain a better understanding.

1. Purpose

Content writing aims to inform and educate the reader about a particular subject. This can be about the brand itself, a technology, a concept, an event, or any other topic that requires explanation—the more complex the subject, the more details are required.

Copywriting intends to excite and persuade the reader to buy a brand’s product or service by inciting an emotional response. A well-written copy is hard to ignore. In other words, it attracts and maintains attention.

2. Direction

Content writing is multidirectional. In addition to providing information, it engages people by asking questions and engaging them in conversations about the subject. Also, it tends to be open-ended and free-flowing.

Copywriting is unidirectional. It does not involve dialogue or conversation, but one-way speech that is objectively focused. In other words, it is done solely in order to foster a definite result, i.e. gaining customers, service subscriptions, social media followers, app downloads, etc.

3. Tone

Content writing uses different types of tones depending on the type of audience you are writing for. For instance, the tone used in a lifestyle blog is usually expected to be more conversational and layman.

However, in business whitepapers, the tone is professional and may be full of jargon depending on the complexity of the topic at hand.

Copywriting, on the other hand, uses a consistent tone. It’s conversational, simple, and free of jargon to appeal to the largest audience. This is because copywriting is used to inspire a sense of urgency in the mind of the reader to motivate the reader to act immediately such as buying a product.

Related: How Reedsy Can Help Improve Your Creative Writing

4. Expertise Required

If you’re planning to pursue either one of the two streams, you need to be sure of the expertise required. Content writing requires fast typing, research skills, familiarity with CMSs, a wide vocabulary, solid writing tools, and knowledge of SEO.

If you want to pursue copywriting, the most basic requirement is to be a creative thinker. This will allow you to discover interesting ways to promote brands and products. To create narratives that deeply move people, you need storytelling skills.

Social media know-how is a must since it’s a big part of marketing. Copywriting is ultimately about saying more with less.

5. Length

Typically, a content writer writes long-form content in the form of articles, blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, webpage content, etc. Each of these requires deep research so that you can explain the topic effectively.

The goal of reading articles is to get answers, opinions, and feedback. This could be between 500 and 5,000 words.

A copywriter writes short-form copies like slogans, scripts, sales copies, product descriptions, taglines, social media posts, brochures, posters, billboards, flyers, etc. Depending on what kind of copy you are writing, the length will vary greatly.

As people’s attention spans shrink, copywriting needs to be to the point, quick, and actionable to get quick results.

Dive Into the World of Writing

At their core, content writing and copywriting are quite similar. But the differences mentioned above give a clear idea about how they compare in terms of content creation, style, and goals. Regardless of their introduction, they are both critical components to building a successful online presence.

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