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Content Writing Vs. Copywriting In Digital Marketing: What's The Difference?

Not all forms of content creation are the same, however. There's content writing, but there's also copywriting. While both are used in digital marketing campaigns, they have starkly different purposes. If you use digital marketing to promote your business, you should learn the nuances that distinguish content writing from copywriting.

Content creation is an integral part of digital marketing. It’s also common knowledge that users will not discover your business when browsing the internet unless you create content. Content is the driving force behind all successful digital marketing campaigns, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns and social media marketing (SMM). Each piece of content signals a new opportunity for your business to connect with prospective customers.

What Is Content Writing?

Content writing involves the creation of text content to educate or entertain readers. It may drive sales as well, but that’s not its primary purpose. With content writing, you want to educate or entertain readers by creating high-quality and valuable content.

Examples of content writing include:

• Blog posts.

• White papers.

• E-books.

• Tutorials.

• Email newsletters.

• News articles.

• Evergreen articles.

• Case studies.

• Social media posts.

What Is Copywriting?

Copywriting, on the other hand, involves the creation of text content to persuade readers to take some type of action related to your business’s sales process. If you’re trying to sell a product, for instance, you’ll need to convince prospective customers that it’s worth buying. If you’re trying to attract more calls, you’ll need to convince them that your business is worth calling. Copywriting is the art of persuading readers to take some type of sales-related action.

Examples of copywriting include:

• PPC landing pages.

• PPC ads.

• Cost-per-mille (CPM) ads.

• Social media ads.

• Product pages.

• Website sales copy.

• Sales emails.

• Short Message Service (SMS) ads.

Purpose

Before creating a new piece of content to use in a digital marketing campaign, you should consider its purpose. Content writing and copywriting are primarily distinguished from each other by purpose. Content writing is designed to educate or entertain, whereas copywriting is designed to persuade.

Most text ads involve copywriting because they seek to compel readers to take action. Whether on Google, Bing, Facebook or elsewhere on the internet, businesses use text ads to encourage their prospective customers to take action. Conversely, most pieces of organic website content involve content writing. Organic website content is designed to offer noncommercial value to readers through education and entertainment, so it requires content writing.

Length

Because it focuses on educating or entertaining, content writing typically results in longer content than that of copywriting. You might be able to persuade readers to take action using just one or two sentences, but educating or entertaining them will likely require a longer length. Depending on the topic, you may need to use anywhere from 500 to 2,500 words.

Short pieces of content can still be educational or entertaining, but content writing centers around noncommercial value. If a piece of content is too short, it won’t offer much value to readers. With a relatively long length, content is typically more valuable to readers.

Emotions

Another difference between content writing and copywriting is that the latter often invokes an emotional response, while the former does not. According to research conducted by Harvard University professor Gerald Zaltman, over 9 in 10 consumer purchases are driven by emotion.

Fear of missing out (FOMO), for example, may compel a consumer to buy a product so that they don’t miss out on its benefits. With the rise of social media, many consumers now feel compelled to buy and use new products after seeing their friends use them in social media posts.

FOMO is just one of many emotions frequently invoked in copywriting. Others include security, pride, comfort, a sense of belonging and instant gratification. Savvy marketers leverage these emotions in copywriting to persuade readers to take action.

Grammar

While you should try to minimize grammar errors in all of your content creation activities, doing so is especially important in content writing. Grammar errors interrupt readers’ thoughts by forcing them to stop. Whether it’s a missing period at the end of a sentence or a dangling modifier, readers will likely stop to process the grammar error. Some readers may then abandon the content without reading the rest of it. Use https://rephraser.ai/, it’s the best tool on the market today to make sure your writing is not only grammar-free but fluent.

Copywriting doesn’t require perfect grammar to be effective. On the contrary, you might be able to persuade more readers to take action by using an incomplete sentence rather than a grammatically correct sentence. Most online advertising portals also have a cap on how many words you can include in a text ad. To stay within this limit, you may need to condense your text ad by removing unnecessary words or punctuation. Just remember to keep your text ads coherent and easy to read while complying with the advertising portal’s guidelines.

SEO

Whether created by content writing or copywriting, any piece of high-quality content can rank high in the search results if it’s relevant to a search query. For SEO, though, content writing outperforms copywriting by miles. Your website will earn higher search rankings and more search traffic if you perform content writing to develop it.

Content writing is better for SEO than copywriting for several reasons. First, it offers high value to readers. And second, it doesn’t express commercial intent. Rather, content writing is purely informational, so readers enjoy consuming and sharing it. Another reason content writing is better for SEO is its longer length. Long-form content generally ranks for more keywords than short-form content. It attracts more views, which usually leads to more backlinks.

There’s a fine line distinguishing content writing from copywriting. In digital marketing, content writing is all about educating or entertaining, and copywriting is all about persuading. You’ll typically perform content writing when creating organic website content. In comparison, you’ll perform copywriting when creating paid ads and other pieces of sponsored text content.

Adapted from an article written by Don Dodds first published on https://www.forbes.com/ August 12, 2020