So you want someone to help you write about your business. Do you hire a copywriter or a content writer? Is there a difference between copywriting and content writing?
The two may be closely related, but there are distinct differences. They are different enough that if you hire the wrong one, you might not get the desired results.
What is copywriting?
Copywriting can be defined as the act or occupation of writing text for the purpose of advertising, or for other forms of marketing. It’s final product – copy – is designed to increase brand awareness, which will ultimately persuade readers to do business with the company.
Copywriting has been around for decades. Ever watched the show, Mad Men? Yep, that was based on copywriters in action. Copywriters create all kinds of advertising – brochures, catalogs, magazine advertisements, sales letters, and direct mail pieces. As technology changed, so did copywriters’ focus. They help create taglines, jingles, television commercials, social media posts, and Instagram communications. They create ad copy for your website, for your landing pages, and for your email marketing campaigns.
Copy sells. It creates urgency. It attracts a buyer’s interest. It creates entertaining and memorable appeal.
Copywriters do their job so well, they can literally create a successful show based on it.
What is content writing?
Content writing is the act of creating content. A content writer provides specialized, relevant content for websites and other online media.
With a business-to-business site, it’s entire goal is to inform readers and motivate them to take the next step. Content’s job is to make the reader well informed. It can do that not just with text, but also with videos, podcasts, free reports, guides, webinars, email marketing, and blogs. It’s designed to answer a readers’ question, often even before they know to ask it.
Content is one of the primary focuses in an SEO strategy. If a content writer does their job, they focus on relevant keywords that people are typing in, and create content based around those key phrases. The goal is to rank well on search engines – primarily Google – and generate leads by landing in results on the first page.
If you do a search for content writing, you’ll find they come in many different formats and a variety of backgrounds. You can find them at all price points, promising many different things.
The key for you to remember is what is your ultimate goal. This content is on your site. It represents you and your business. Its goal might be to attract leads from the search engines, but what it says will ultimately reflect on how a potential customer views what you do.
What’s the difference?
Still confused about the difference between copywriting and content writing? Don’t worry, a lot of people use the words interchangeably. People search all the time for words that crossover between the two – phrases like “SEO copywriter” rank really high.
Here at DMG, we believe there are two distinct differences.
A copywriter creates all copy with the intent of selling. They are driven to write copy that will close the sale.
A content writer is focused on answering a question. They are focused on ranking well in the search engines, and providing the reader with the answer they are searching for.
Content writers write to educate, inform, entertain, and build relationships with their readers. People don’t want to read sales copy unless they are ready to buy. But they love to be informed and entertained by someone they trust. If you do that right, you’ll be the first person they think of when they’re ready to buy.
Yes, there may be some overlap between the two. But in a lot of cases, it takes two different skillsets for these two types of writing.
Copywriters are salespeople at heart. They use words to motivate. They create excitement. They use power words and learn techniques to drive readers to the next stage of buying.
Content writers learn to write copy for both the search engines and the readers. They create copy that’s easy for search engines to rank, and easy for readers to read once they click on a result and move to the page.
Is there some overlap? Of course. But it’s important to understand your strategy before you select the one who will be writing your copy.
Copywriting or Content Writing – Which Do You Need?
Too often, we see businesses farm out their writing to “a friend” or to “someone overseas”. Occasionally, you might get good copy that way. In most cases, you won’t.
Words aren’t just words.
Go back a few years, and marketers found out that Google ranked sites higher in the search engines if they had a lot of content. So they paid pennies on the dollar for a lot of copy – they didn’t care what it said. It worked. A lot of sites found vast amounts of traffic through this method. The trouble was, once a reader got there, the copy was horrid at best.
This is your business. If someone takes the time to visit your site, don’t you want to “talk” to visitors in a friendly tone, and say things that matter to the both of you?
Don’t you want to make a good impression with the words they read?
If your company is spending a lot of time educating your prospects and customers, especially before the sale, websites, and blogs filled with content is the perfect strategy for you. It benefits you to hire a content writer who can do that efficiently.
If your company is setting up a web presence to motivate people to click on a button and buy, what you need is a good copywriter. You need someone who can learn all about your product or service, understand what someone needs to make an informed decision, and then write copy in breadcrumb fashion to lead them from first contact, to the click, and ultimately to the sale.
Which do you need: copywriting or content writing?