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Copywriting and content writing: what’s the difference?

You might assume that copywriting and content writing are one and the same. Both disciplines involve the use of persuasive writing to sell you something or energise you to take action, like visiting a store.

However, joining them at the hip is like saying football and hockey are the same game because both involve two teams, a ball and goalposts. Let’s split the two skills, so you can see the real differences more clearly.

What is copywriting?

A copywriter, you won’t be entirely surprised to learn, writes copy. In his or her case, it’s likely to be short-form content, the type you see all around you in advertising, straplines, online landing pages and email campaigns. The ideal freelance copywriter is flexible and can also write longer copy when a business requires it, such as for brochures, direct mail, and so on.

Any large advertising agency will have an in-house copywriter working alongside their creative and design teams in order to produce brilliant campaigns together. Larger companies with a powerful marketing department will have the same personnel.

But small businesses will either hire a freelance copywriter or hire a content writer full time, someone who can do a decent copywriting job as well.

All of which brings us neatly to the next question.

What does a content writer do?

Content writing involves long-form writing, particularly for the web, which is rich in keywords so that search engines like Google reward the website with higher rankings. And, as we all know, higher ranking means more leads and (if your copywriter and content writer does a good job of converting visitors), more sales.

Your content writer might be tasked with producing regular blog writing, like the one you’re reading now. Perhaps you found this article on Google? In which case, you’re living proof the process works.

copywriting and content writing

Simon Young, founder of Magic Word Media

A good content writer will work with you, the business owner, to create not just one but a series of articles/blogs over time. This provides multiple benefits:

  • You build up hundreds or thousands of keywords that you rank for in Google
  • You ensure your targeted keywords are always reflected
  • You engage more visitors on your website
  • You become known as something of an expert in your field
  • You can take your articles and post them on your social media channels
  • Your blog might attract inbound links from third-party sites, further boosting your important SEO efforts
  • You might attract unexpected but entirely welcome PR exposure.

Your content writer can also help in other areas of the business, such as writing press releases. If you’re looking for Suffolk PR or public relations Ipswich, we can help.

The content writing discipline also crosses over into media relations, internal communications and more. In fact, anywhere where your staff, investors, suppliers and customers are likely to see your communications requires the hand of an experienced content writer, someone who can help you identify your key brand messaging and ensure it is related everywhere. Consistently.

What about SEO content writing?

Strictly speaking, any content writing online should be executed with your SEO efforts in mind. However, there is also a specialised SEO content writing area, where the writer will be writing purely for the value of bringing organic traffic. You might want SEO copywriting if you have an online store and have hundreds of product descriptions that need to interest readers but also do the job of getting them there in the first place, via organic searches.

Copywriting and content writing, similar but different

So, there you have it. A creative copywriter and an exceptional content writer will be experts in their field. They could probably do both disciplines well. But you should be clear that their core purpose is different.

Think of copywriting as a form of written advertising and think of content writing as brand journalism that influences.

Here at Magic Word Media, we provide both copywriting services and content writing. Our founder, Simon Young worked in national newspaper journalism before leading the copywriting and content teams at one of the world’s largest online gaming companies, so we’ve got the required skillsets at our core.

If you need to move your content marketing efforts forward, please do get in touch. We’d love to work with you.