What’s the difference between content writing and copywriting?

copyorcontent1Just what is the difference between copywriting and content writing? Ultimately, they’re two sides of the same coin.

Content writing is ultimately to inform or educate in marketing, while copywriting urges the reader to do, to engage or to run out and buy something (if it’s really good).

Let’s take Brian’s new bright blue banana company, Briananas, as our example. Briananas is producing a brochure to send to everyone in nearby Brianstown to tell them about Brian’s incredible blue-hue potassium-rich snack. That’s content writing.


Now Brian wants a website that will push visitors to sign up to the Briananas e-newsletter (and ultimately place an obnoxiously large order for Briananas). The writing needs to be persuasive and positive, spelling out the benefits of Briananas, unlike the brochure which just needs to be clear in its explanation of Briananas. This is copywriting.

But while we’ve made a distinction, it’s important to remember that (in marketing at least) copywriting and content writing should be best friends. The laces to your Nike Airs, the Essex to your Joey, etc.

If you have good content that doesn’t encourage people to act, people won’t act. They’ll read it and forget about it. Briananas has a blog that tells fascinating stories about the production of Briananas, the complex pigmentation process, the elaborate packaging system; the content is great, but Brian didn’t think to add a call-to-action at the bottom of each post that offered the reader a 10% discount on their first order of Briananas if they signed up to the newsletter. Copywriting + content writing = great content, loyal customers, successful marketing.

Copywriting, unlike content writing, is also in a love-hate relationship with SEO; copywriting is always mindful of SEO (albeit in an angry, resentful way sometimes), and it’s the difference between amazing content so informative that your brain explodes out your ears but languishes in the Google Jungle (anywhere after page two) and content that’s alright, okay, and enjoys millions of clicks because it’s the first result.

There’s a lot of people who write great content that never gets found. There’s people who write a whole lot of rubbish (hint: anything with the word ‘buzz’ or ‘viral’) that enjoys more traffic than a classic car exhibition on the M25. But the good news for you is that I write great content and great copy! How strange that I just happened to write this blog, too.

Drop me an email and let’s see what we can do: becky@beckythewriter.com


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