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Content Writing vs. Copywriting: What’s the Difference?

By July 6, 2020 July 9th, 2020 blog, Uncategorized
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Who needs words anymore? 

In a world gone digital, it may seem that the written word is losing more and more ground (or bandwidth), each and every day as imagery, graphics and video continue to gain prominence. Social Media, TV, YouTube, Websites, Blogs, Podcasts, Pop-Up ads, Video Games and more are all replete with images, graphics, animation, motion, and video. This might make it feel like the fine art of nestling letters together to make words is going the way of the fax machine.

But did you know that the fax machine is alive and well?

And did you know that as the world continues to dance and dab more and more into the digital space that the written word will just continue to be needed. Why? Because people watch videos with the sound off. Why? Because people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Why? Because messaging is important, especially in tumultuous times. Why? Because just like you can’t NOT read the back of a cereal box when it’s in front of you, you can’t help but read something that’s succinct, pitch-perfect, on point, and powerful. 

This is why writing is still so important, and why it’s important to invest in GOOD content and copywriting. But what is the difference between content and copywriting, and how do you know what you need for your business?

Content Writing: 

The purpose of content writing is to provide your target audience and Google with something to read. Yup, that’s right. While you’re sleeping, Google (and other search engines) reads to itself and that’s how it knows what to serve up when someone types in “how do I” or “where can I” or “what is…” in the search bar. This is a big component of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, and it’s how Google will help your customers, fans, and the curious find what they are looking for. 

So the job of the content writer is to educate, inform, and entertain, on any topic that is germane to your business, organization, or industry. This includes blogs, articles, web copy and more, and can range from a paragraph to entire published works online. By creating content and serving it up for your readers, you are able to position yourself as an expert or thought leader in your industry, and that’s great! Because the more your customers know, the better prepared they are to make a good decision, and the more they learn from YOU, the more likely they are to engage with, and eventually purchase or collaborate with you. 

Content writing is helpful. Content writing is a subtle sell, or an offer. Content writing says, “I’m an expert at this, and I want you to know what I know so that when you need help, you will know who to ask.”

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Copywriting: 

The purpose of copywriting is to make your target audience want what you have, or do what you’d like them to do (follow, buy, vote, remember you, attend, donate, etc.) either then and there, or in the future. 

Copywriting isn’t a subtle sell, it’s more of “we’re awesome, and we know you want our awesome product/service/offer/event.” Copywriting is tag-lines, web copy, sales copy, solicitations, asks, offers, and more. Copywriting is the creation of the slogans, sayings, mottos, and more that make ads so memorable and compelling. The right copy can unite, inspire, brand, and move people, products and ideas into movements, and drive customers through your door, and keep you top of mind. 

The most memorable and iconic brands in the world are all supported by copy that is clever, impactful, and original. Regardless of the delivery or platform, the right copywriter can find a handful of words (or even ONE word in some circumstances) that sets your company or organization apart from all the others and brings your target audience home. 

So now that we understand the purpose and power of copywriting, you’re going to see it on social media, in emails, on billboards, on TV, and hear it on the radio. Copywriting is everywhere, but GOOD copywriting is a work of art!

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What is “good” content and copywriting? 

You have an amazing product or service or something else that you’re offering, and you know it. But when someone asks you to describe it, it’s like trying to explain what polka-dots taste like. You could go on and on, but it wouldn’t suffice, and it sure wouldn’t sell many tickets, items, or services. 

This is why good content and copywriting is so important. A good writer can take your passionate, informed, and knowledgeable dissertation and transform it into a tagline, motto, phrase, sales funnel, flier, billboard, brochure, landing page or ad that gets the right people to notice you, and act! A good writer can take a not-so-fun but important concept like grease traps or corporate compliance and turn it into a helpful and entertaining article or post that establishes you as the expert!

Can anyone write good content and copy? 

If someone can read, they can write, and so it’s safe to say that yes, most people could write content and copy. But by that logic, anyone with a pair of pliers could do dentistry!

Good content and copywriting should be timely, on tone, on-brand, and of quantity AND quality. You may be a good writer yourself, but if it would take you all afternoon to write a blog, are you really the right person for the job? A relative of yours may be interested in writing some ad copy for your grand opening, but if it flops (or even worse, offends) was it worth it? 

So it’s yes, and it’s no. 

Who needs words? YOU do! 

So when you are ready to start promoting your business, company, organization, event or cause, you’re going to need words, and you’re going to need good words that are generated accurately, efficiently, and with that certain artistry that educates, informs, entertains or inspires your audience to act!

Breean McKinney

About Breean McKinney

Breean loves making connections and seeing people and their businesses thrive. So to this end, she is very active in the community and supportive of numerous causes. She delights in being able to identify a need, and then assisting people to find unique and innovative solutions. Read more about Breean.

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