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As a part of the content marketing team, we are always exchanging ideas, helping each other learn and grow, and most importantly inspiring one another to do and give our best. Last week my colleague wrote this very informative blog on How to Write Great Copy for Websites, Social Media, Blogs, Emails and more — and that inspired me to take the conversation forward with this piece. 

Have you ever been in a Copywriting Vs Content Writing dilemma, confusion or a tiff?

I recently heard someone say, ‘I follow this page on Instagram that captions its images with really funny one-liners — they surely have a great content writer!’

The not-so-tiny voice in my head spoke up ‘She means Copy! Correct her. She called Copy, Content!’ 

My social etiquettes begged me to agree, nod or carry on the conversation because honestly, it’s a very common mistake. Yeah, it’s true. Most people use the word Copy and Content interchangeably. Is it a huge mistake? Well, no when you’re just having a polite conversation with someone socially, but Yes, Yes and absolutely Yes if you’re in a professional set-up. 

Before we go ahead I would like to confess — I did correct her eventually when I found out she was a budding entrepreneur wanting to hire a team of her own to scale her online business. 

So what’s the difference between Copywriting and Content Writing? How do you battle it out in a Copywriting Vs Content Writing confusion? To understand the difference between copywriting and content writing let’s understand what these are individually. 

What is Copywriting? 

Think of copywriting as an idea or a thought that is inspired by your brand ideology and brand personality. You can also think of it as an ‘elevator pitch’ that is advertorial in nature that piques curiosity. 

As a brand, you use copywriting to sell your brand persona or sell an idea. Copywriting isn’t directly aimed at selling products and services but a snippet of what customers could potentially buy/get from you. For example, if you sell t-shirts, copywriting could include captions or slogans like ‘wear your personality’, ‘we don’t sell clothes, we sell comfort’ etc. In this example, you’re selling the idea of comfort and individual personality rather than selling t-shirts. 

Another common misconception that people have is that copywriting is like a trailer or a preview to the content. While that may be true when you think of a blog title as the copy, but copywriting is more than just a preview to content. However, it’s true that copywriting alone cannot sell products and must be supported by content in some way. 

Common examples of copywriting include:

  • Slogans
  • Social media captions
  • Ad copies
  • Jingles
  • Headlines
    … and more. 

What is Content Writing? 

The main purpose of content writing is to provide information, educate or answer questions with deeper details. While content writing must also always elevate brand personality, it must aim at selling your products and services rather than just an idea. 

If we take the same example as before, for your t-shirt company, content writing could include blogs like ‘5 reasons our t-shirts are a must-have’ or a video script that details ‘7 ways you can style our t-shirts’. Here you’re selling your product through creative content that gives information and educates your audience about your products and what benefits it can bring to them. 

In simple words, content explores the depths of benefits, relevant educational material, information and other necessary details that help customers make a positive buying decision. 

Common examples of content writing include:

  • Blogs
  • Website content
  • White papers
  • Press releases
  • Video scripts
  • Emails 
    … and more. 

Difference between Copywriting and Content Writing

Now that we understand what copywriting and content writing is, it’s easy to understand the difference between the two. While at the core of it, they’re both effective marketing strategies that help build and engage with an audience and promote brand personality, the difference is:

Copywriting Content Writing
Aims at selling an idea or a thought Aims at selling products and services by offering value
Evokes curiosity and intrigue Answers the questions that may pop-up because of curiosity and intrigue
It is short-form, crisp and to-the-point It is long-form, detailed and explanatory
The purpose is to evoke an emotion The purpose is to give answers, information and all necessary details

Copywriting Vs Content Writing — Which one do you need?

If you had to pick one — Copywriting Vs Content Writing — which one would you choose? 

The simple truth is — you can’t pick just one! To be successful at creating a brand presence you need a healthy and the right mix of both. 

Different platforms, marketing strategies and campaigns require either or both copywriting and content writing. If you’re a brand or a business, you probably already understand the need to create an impactful online presence, across multiple channels. Thus, it’s important that you use the right form of copy or content, depending on the aim, purpose, platform and strategy. 

For example, if you’re creating ads you need effective copywriting skills, if you’re building a blog you need strong content writing skills, and so on. Additionally, if you’re creating an email you need both — strong copy skills for the subject line and headline, and equally strong content writing skills to explain the benefit you’re offering in the email body. 

Similarly, if you’re building a website, you’ll need a healthy dose of both to create a user-friendly experience that both generates curiosity and offers complete details and value. 

However, if the dilemma is between who to hire — a content writer or a copywriter — you must evaluate the resources you have and the marketing goals you have set. A copywriter is a professional whose only job is to produce crisp copy that drives an idea and emotions. On the other hand, while a content writer is also a professional, in a lot of scenarios marketing people and people who have product authority may also have the skills to create valuable content. 

Drive More Business with Great Copy and Content

A successful business thrives on great copy and impactful content. You can get more customers, keep existing ones, generate interest and drive value for your business with a great mix of both copy and content. 

Confusing the two, or using them interchangeably may lead to lacklustre results at both ends. On the contrary, using copy and content at the right place, at the right time will help you scale business goals and get better results, each time — every time. 

PS: Remember the girl I had the copy-content conversation with? She asked me a few days ago if I knew some copywriters who would like to join her team — I’m glad she knows exactly what she needs — and found one too! 

For more tips, information and ideas head to our Marketing category on the blog. If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

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Aastha SirohiAastha SirohiAn Author and Content Marketer @Endurance International Group (APAC), Aastha believes that great content drives action and helps businesses be more influential. With the experience of working with businesses globally, she understands the need to create tailor-made content solutions that are relevant, strong and create an impact for the right audience.View all posts by Aastha Sirohi