September 14, 2014
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably seen the terms ‘content writing’ and ‘copywriting’ used to describe various projects and styles of writing. Sometimes, they’re used interchangeably within the same job posting or description, asking for a copywriter to perform content writing duties.
If the ad goes on to give a detailed account of the job responsibilities, then using one or the other or both, isn’t such a big deal. However, there is a difference between the two. At least in my opinion, there is.
Let’s start with content writing. I believe that content writing consists of providing useful, relevant information for visitors, readers, subscribers, etc. Content writing is ideal for websites, blog posts, articles, infographics or anywhere you want to inform or educate the reader. In terms of “content marketing,” content is often used to populate your website with information to help, position you as an expert in your industry.
Content writing may include keywords to appeal to search engines, but it always includes information that is relevant to the person reading it. You can take a story-telling approach, a journalistic approach or a teaching approach, as long as the information is useful to your audience.
Copywriting, on the other hand, is writing that’s designed to get the reader to take a specific action when he’s done reading. This may include making a direct purchase, signing up for a newsletter or giving contact information in a opt-in form to receive future emails.
And since you want him to perform an action, this type of writing must be persuasive and direct-response oriented. It must guide the reader through the message and outline the benefits of taking the action you want him to take. You can still inform and educate, but there has to be an element that’s not present in content writing.
Of course, not everyone will agree and it’s always best to ask when you apply for a position or ask for information when one of these terms is used. You might answer a job ad asking for a copywriter and find out your duties are entering technical information into a database. Always ask if you aren’t sure!
The Content Company
And what about The Content Company, you ask?
Well, a quick look at our Services Page tells you we definitely provide content writing. It’s at the core of what we do. However, we’re also well-versed in the persuasive, direct-response way of doing things, so copywriting is also part of the program. We may even write you a story, if you ask nice :)
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