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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Cerullo

Copy vs Content Writing: What’s the Difference? (and Why it Matters)


An amazing example of copywriting is this sign.

The writers at Walden are constantly faced with an annoying question: “What is a copywriter?” Upon answering the said question, were are faced with a follow-up: “Oh, so it’s like writing blogs and things?” Our writers then have to explain the difference between copy vs. content writing and frankly, that gets old after a while.

Let's put an end to the confusion. Right here. Right now. This article is the definitive guide on copywriting and content writing. Finally, you'll learn the difference.

Copy vs content writing: the simple definition

Before we dive into specific examples and deep explanations, let's begin with a simple definition of copy vs. content writing.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is writing copy. Copy is a type of written communication that convinces a target audience to take action or to advertise a brand. For example, the writing you see on an advertisement, marketing emails, brochures, and web landing pages are all copywriting.

What is content writing?

Content is any type of information that is communicated to an audience through media. This can be written, audio, or visual. Hence, content writing is content of the written variety.

Copy vs content writing: understanding the differences

So while copywriting falls under the definition of content, content writing is not copywriting. Got it yet? If that doesn’t help you, just remember that content writing tells a story.

It can afford to take more creative detours to get to the end. Its purpose is to inform and entertain. Copywriting, however, is meant to sell.

With copywriting, there are no detours. A good copywriter gets to the destination quickly and efficiently while using as few words as possible and converting the audience along the way.


That being said, there are plenty of writers that are excellent copywriters and content writers. You can find many of them working at Walden for example. We do it all!

Examples of content writing

Now that we’ve covered the definition of copy vs. content writing, let’s check out some real examples. When it comes to content writing, most of the examples are long-form content. Remember, content writing is more about telling a story than it is about selling a story. So writers need an entirely different skill set.

White papers

White papers educate the reader before they are introduced to the sales department. It is a way for businesses to explain their mission in depth so that the sales process is more transactional. White papers consist of extreme detail, high-quality research, visual elements, and clear conclusions. The goal is to establish brand authority without the sales element.

Blog posts

Hopefully, everyone is familiar with blog posts at this point in the internet’s existence. You’re reading one at this very moment. Blog posts are all about organic search. Organic search means that the publisher isn’t paying for clicks. If you found this blog post, you found it via social media or a search engine organically. You didn’t click an ad to get here.


The main goal of a blog post is to inform. Right now, we’re informing you about copy vs. content writing. Hopefully, you’re learning a thing or two!


eBooks

eBooks and white papers are quite similar. They serve the same purpose of informing and engaging with a target audience. However, eBooks are more casual than white papers. They often consist of short paragraphs, bullet points, and plenty of imagery. eBooks are meant for consumption whereas white papers target a business audience.


Examples of copywriting


Advertisements

The main focus of an advertisement is to get the reader to take immediate action. This started back in the days of printed newspapers and has evolved into social media advertising. The primary focus of an ad is not usually the copywriting. It’s a graphic or video.


This is then supported by some copy (e.g. a slogan or tagline). Next time you read an ad, focus on copywriting and not an image. You’ll notice copywriters don’t waste their time. They only have a few seconds before the reader scrolls along so the worlds have to have an immediate impact.



Websites

Not all content on websites is copywriting but copywriting is certainly found on websites. A web page with the specific purpose of generating leads is called a landing page. A landing page efficiently describes a product or service and then establishes credibility.


Landing pages also include visual elements, logos, and other aspects to guide readers through the sales funnel. Landing pages need to make a good first impression. Hence, the copywriting needs to be concise, attention-grabbing, and creative.


Banner advertisements

Everyone knows the famous banner advertisement. They usually exist at the top or bottom of a website. They do not include a lot of text so the copywriting on banner ads is highly targeted. Usually, a banner ad comes with a simple animation to attract readers and a straightforward call to action.


Social media posts

Instagram moves fast! copywriting or content writing?

With platforms like Twitter having character limits or Instagram’s infinite scroll, it’s more important than ever to catch a reader's attention in a few words. Copywriters thrive on social media. Again, not every social media post is an example of copywriting but it is certainly a great platform for it.


Emails

Again, emails are not exclusive to copywriting. An email can be anything but it’s also a fantastic platform for copywriting. Email copywriting aims to inform, educate and inspire the reader to take action. Emails can also be tailored to individual people, offering a more personalized advertising experience.


Copy vs Content writing: The bottom line

Hopefully, at this point, you understand the difference between a copywriter and a content writer is vast. Hopefully, you’ll never bother another professional writer again by not doing this difference. Remember, copywriters are the salespeople of the writing world. Content writers are storytellers.


Every business needs a combination of the two to tell a successful brand story and sell that story to its audience. Content is still king and it comes in many forms.

Do you need a copywriter or content writer to:

  • improve your conversion rates,

  • build audiences

  • and raise brand awareness?

If so, just click the button below and speak to a writer today!




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