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What’s the Difference Between Copywriting and Content Marketing?

What’s the Difference Between Copywriting and Content Marketing?

Business owners, executives and marketing directors know that quality writing helps drive marketing efforts. Many of them don’t know, however, that marketing writing comes in two forms: copywriting and content marketing.

These writing forms are not the same. They cross paths frequently, but the goals for each are different. Before you hire a writer, be sure his or her skills align with your needs. Here’s a brief guide to help you differentiate copywriting from content writing.

Copywriting is an art form

When you need someone to convey the value of your products or services, you’re looking for a copywriter. Copywriting is brand messaging. It requires creativity, precision and persuasion. We’re talking about the heart of advertising. Little things that make a big difference, such as:

  • Taglines
  • Catchphrases
  • One-liners
  • Calls to action
  • Short narratives

A copywriter can work in tandem with a designer or in a trio, with a designer and a creative director. Together, they create cohesive, visual messages that help your brand stand out. Put simply, copywriting is selling.

Content marketing is a science

Content marketing is about educating, informing and growing your audience. It’s typically less dazzling than copywriting. It also replaces the hard sales pitch in copywriting with more of a “soft sell” that aims to establish trust and goodwill with the audience.

Other noticeable differences between these forms of marketing are length and frequency. Copywriting is meant to be short and sharp. On the other hand, content marketing can run thousands of words. Copywriting is project-based. Content marketing is ongoing.

Both marketing practices are created from the personas of the customers you wish to reach. A copywriter can be much more creative with his or her writing. Content marketing has several layers of strategy. It includes search engine optimization, social media and email marketing.

Pop quiz: copywriting or content marketing?

Now you know the differences between them. Can you identify which type of writing these common assignments call for? Remember, copywriting = selling, and content marketing = informing or educating.

  1. Website
  2. Blog article
  3. Press release
  4. White paper
  5. Business proposal
  6. Print ad
  7. Social media post

Answers: 1) Copywriting, 2) Content marketing, 3) Content marketing, 4) Content marketing, 5) Copywriting, 6) Copywriting, 7) Content marketing

The best writers know both

At this point, you might be thinking you need a copywriter and a content marketer. Most businesses do.

The good news is that seasoned writers can switch gears between the two with ease. They know when to be creative and when to be exhaustive. Also, they know when to write for humans and when to write for search engines. They can even develop a complete content strategy. This helps you get the right types of copy or content in front of the right people at the right times.