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The Unique Value of Copywriting Compared to Content Writing
- 06 Sep 2023 13 min read
Do you find yourself drawn to captivating advertisements or humorous blog posts? Do these types of content urge you to take an action without even realizing it? If so, then you are likely aware of the significant impact that copywriting and content writing can have.
Copywriting is the art of crafting messages that get readers to take action. Be it a persuasive email or an enticing social media post, it rallies readers around your brand. Content writing, however, isn’t as bold. It’s more focused on creating content that informs or entertains without aggressively pushing for any conversion.
So what are the key differences between the two? While both forms of writing revolve around digital marketing, it all comes down to outcome: copywriting is results-oriented while content writing provides value.
As artificial intelligence (AI) in digital marketing is constantly evolving, so does its application to writing. AI-powered tools can produce content and copy at speed and compile data for optimized campaigns.
While these advances are undeniably impressive, human creativity and ingenuity offer a unique approach to content creation that can more strongly connect to audiences. Therefore, while AI remains a viable option, it cannot completely replace the human touch.
This article will discuss the difference between copywriting and content writing, as well as content vs. copy, emphasizing their unique values.
Copywriting vs. content writing
Copywriting, in essence, can be described as writing to sell by crafting words that persuade people to take action, usually to buy a product or service. It is often used in advertising, email marketing, and sales pages with the ultimate goal of encouraging the reader to perform a particular action.
Content writing, on the other hand, involves writing long-form content. This includes blog posts, articles, and social media posts, with the primary goal of informing and educating the reader about a particular topic, rather than persuading them to take a specific action. In addition, building relationships by providing valuable information and helpful insights to readers is one of the main goals of content writing.
The difference between copywriting and content writing
As discussed early on, these two forms of writing are the dynamic duo of digital marketing. Although they both involve communication with the audience, they serve different purposes and execution. In this section, we will explore the basic distinctions between the two.
Purpose and goals
Copywriting aims to stir up urgency and excitement that push the audience to take prompt action. To achieve this, copywriters highlight the unique proposition of products or services to illustrate how the target market would benefit if they avail of whatever is being advertised. The end goal is to generate leads or sales for a business.
Apple’s “Think Different” campaign spoke directly to its target customers. People who wanted electronics that reflected their unique personalities and lifestyles could relate to their message of individuality and creativity. The compelling slogan resonated with this market and this helped Apple make a name for itself in the world of technology.
The campaign was a great success for Apple which reinvigorated its brand and made it synonymous with creativity and original thinking. This connection remains strong today, as Apple continues to be known for inspiring people to think differently.
Content writing, on the other hand, is all about providing valuable and relevant information. The top objectives of content writing are to build a lasting relationship with an audience and establish the brand as an industry authority. In addition, it aims to educate, inform, and entertain readers while encouraging them to take the next step.
For instance, Engadget is a website dedicated to the latest gadgets and consumer electronics. They consistently put out content that educates readers on the newest digital trends and news in the tech field. Its articles span a scope of topics, from cutting-edge devices to the most current smartphones, always written in an understandable style with a conversational voice.
Recently the site posted the article “Apple is reportedly redesigning watchOS around widgets“, which enlightens people about Apple attempting to switch up their smartwatch operating system. It went into detail about how widgets function and why this change is worth noting.
The article has an easy-to-understand approach and succeeded in making it entertaining while also being informative. Additionally, it included facts such as the number of Apple Watch users utilizing widgets and the probable effects of the alteration on third-party applications. It concludes with a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages readers to sign up for their The Morning After newsletter, stating, “A newsletter a day keeps the FOMO at bay. Sign up now!”
Tone and style
In terms of tone and style, copywriting is more of a direct, persuasive, and sales-oriented approach. The words are used to create a sense of action and urgency for the reader. This means there is the usage of emotional language such as strong adjectives, compelling verbs, witty idioms, and persuasive adverbs.
In response to a supply chain issue that caused several KFC restaurants in the UK to close due to a lack of chicken, an ad was released featuring an empty KFC bucket with “FCK” across the front. The clever play on the company’s initials, alongside the text “WE’RE SORRY,” effectively conveys the meaning without going overboard on descriptions. The acronym is a bold and unique choice that draws attention to the message, and the copywriting is succinct and direct.
In contrast, content writing seeks to provide relevant information in an approachable, descriptive, and narrative-oriented way. It may include anecdotes, examples, or case studies to illustrate key points, and often uses headings, subheadings, and bullet points to organize information and make it easier to read.
For example, Whole Foods Market is well-known for its detailed blog posts which cover the latest topics and insights in the food industry. The posts are data-driven and are based on research and expert opinions. There is a wide range of topics discussed on their blog, including sustainability, healthy eating habits, current trends, and even recipes.
The article is clear and simple, explaining the company’s sourcing of lamb from Chilean Patagonia. It emphasizes that their animals are raised without antibiotics or hormones, and have been verified by the Global Animal Partnership’s Level 4 requirements for animal welfare with no feedlots involved. The inclusion of certification numbers and other statistics adds credibility to this information, making it attractive to customers that prioritize ethical practices and transparency in their purchases.
In copywriting, the call-to-action (CTA) serves as the driving force behind the message. Typically, CTAs are not only brief and straightforward but are also strategically placed anywhere in the content to maximize their effectiveness.
For example, Colin Kaepernick’s collaboration with Nike brought to life his assertive stand against injustice. The portrait of him, accompanied by the CTA, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” was a direct reference to Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem and protest against police brutality and racism in America, a protest so powerful that it cost him his career in the NFL.
The slogan, though brief, became an anthem for the fight for equality and represented a strong CTA. The incorporation of Kaepernick’s personal story into the campaign was especially powerful, as it connected viewers directly to the cause he was fighting for.
As Nike released the slogan featuring Colin Kaepernick, a follow-up video ad was produced with the former NFL star himself narrating. He spoke of the unity that sports bring to people and emphasized the value of standing up for what you believe in. The advertisement included visuals of athletes from different sports as well as average individuals from all backgrounds.
Kaepernick’s words were thoughtfully crafted to portray a feeling of enthusiasm and devotion. He encouraged those on their journey for justice to “find a way” and not be discouraged when facing obstacles. The ad won the award for outstanding commercial at the Creative Arts Emmys.
However, the approach to CTAs in content writing is more subdued. It serves to foster engagement and build a rapport with the audience. These CTAs may comprise links to supplementary content, invitations to provide feedback, or entreaties to follow the brand on social media.
Generally, content writing CTAs adopt a more casual and colloquial tone, and they are typically located at the end of the content to encourage readers to explore further.
Copywriting vs. content writing: The unique values
Copywriting and content writing are two distinct writing disciplines that have their own distinctive elements that cannot be interchangeable. In this section, we will discuss the foundations and their unique approaches and focus.
The use of persuasive language
Effective copywriting uses a variety of persuasive techniques including storytelling, metaphor, and vivid imagery. Through these techniques, copywriters are able to create a compelling narrative that engages the reader and convinces them of the value of the product or service. It is key to establishing a connection, and convincing them that the product or service being offered is worth their investment of time and money.
In what contexts are these typically employed?
- Advertising. Crafting advertisements for various media, including print, radio, TV, and social media.
- Direct response. Producing marketing materials that directly ask the reader to take action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.
- Search engine optimization or SEO. Creating content that is optimized for search engines, with the goal of driving more traffic to a website.
- Email marketing. Developing persuasive emails that encourage readers to take action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
What is its unique value?
Copywriting has a unique value to win over and motivate readers. With clever wording and evoking emotions, this technique addresses people’s wants and needs head-on, inspiring them to take action. This personalized approach resonates with readers, generating direct responses, which in turn leads to higher conversions.
What are the usual results when the crafted copy is effective in driving conversions?
In social media ads, a persuasive copy can lead to high engagement rates. This indicates that more people are interacting with the ad and potentially clicking through to learn more about the advertised product or service. Similarly, in email campaigns, a well-crafted copy can result in a high click-through rate (CTR), indicating that more people are clicking on the links within the email and taking action.
A persuasive copy can take many forms depending on the specific campaign or marketing strategy. These may include purchases, sign-ups, downloads, or other types of actions that lead to a direct or indirect increase in revenue for the brand.
An example of a well-crafted copy
Airbnb’s “Don’t Go There. Live There” campaign which was launched in 2016, emphasized the unique and authentic experiences that travelers could have by staying in an Airbnb property, as opposed to staying in a traditional hotel.
The ad copy used in the campaign was designed to appeal to travelers who were seeking more immersive experiences when traveling. The voiceover says, “Don’t go to Paris. Don’t tour Paris. And please don’t do Paris. Live in Paris,” conveying the message that staying in an Airbnb property would allow travelers to experience Paris like a local, rather than just visiting as a tourist.
The campaign was highly successful and received significant coverage in various magazines and websites. The campaign’s engaging and memorable copy and visuals resonated with audiences, and it was widely recognized as a great example of effective advertising. One of the contributing factors to the campaign’s success was its ability to evoke emotions and aspirations related to travel, while also being relatable to potential customers.
It was completely integrated and utilized shared assets on a global scale, while also daring to challenge traditional approaches across various media such as TV, radio, and print. It was especially effective in the digital space, due to its captivating and shareable content that had been crafted to match the preferences of its target audience. Several media outlets, including Adweek and Mashable, covered the campaign and praised its effectiveness.
The importance of providing valuable information
Disseminating valuable data can provide a number of advantages. To start, it gives evidence of your expertise and skills, which in turn builds trust within your industry.
It can also draw in and retain customers by providing pertinent and functional knowledge that addresses their needs and problems. This enhanced interaction can contribute to an increase in sales and repeat business.
Moreover, sharing valuable information can raise brand recognition and visibility. When your content is relevant to viewers and offers something of value, they are more likely to share it with those within their social circle, thus expanding the reach of your company.
In what contexts are these typically employed?
- Blog post. Involves creating longer-form articles that provide valuable information on a particular topic.
- SEO. SEO-focused content writing aims to not only target specific keywords but also provide information that aligns with the users’ search intent.
- Social media. This refers to the creation of written material, such as posts or captions, that are designed to be shared on social media platforms. This can take many forms, including text-based posts, images, videos, and links to external content.
- E-books. In this longer form of content, ebooks are generally used to provide more detailed and in-depth information on a specific topic.
- White papers. Typically used in creating a detailed report on a subject matter, with the goal of establishing thought leadership and authority in a particular industry.
What is its unique value?
One of the fundamental advantages of content writing is its capability to cultivate trust between the author and the audience. By constructing and providing helpful resource material, you can demonstrate your proficiency and credibility in the industry.
Subsequently, a stronger bond is established between you and the reader, therefore leading to heightened engagement and steadfastness as readers are likely to refer back to a brand that supplies them with reliable information.
Another unique advantage of content writing is its capability to entice and retain customers. By creating content that corresponds to the audience’s needs and concerns, brands can establish a bond with readers.
What are the usual results when the written content is effective in driving conversions?
When executed strategically, it has the potential to drive remarkable outcomes, from increased traffic and engagement levels to improved lead generation capabilities.
High-quality content can draw more visitors to your website, keeping them engaged for longer periods. By providing content that resonates with the needs and interests of your audience, you’ll create more opportunities for customer loyalty and widen the reach of your brand. Not only this but effective content fuels lead-generation possibilities.
Moreover, establishing yourself as a credible authority drives further success in your endeavors. With informative and valuable content at its core, trust will naturally rise alongside credibility, ultimately resulting in higher conversion rates.
Furthermore, optimizing your content for search engines can significantly boost visibility on SERPs, leading to greater click-through rates and inquiries into your services or products.
An example of well-written content
The “Ultimate Guide to Understanding SEO” by Propelrr stands out as a prime example of good content writing. It’s a comprehensive and easy-to-understand resource on SEO for beginners.
Through the use of conversational language and real-life examples, the guide seamlessly breaks down the complex world of SEO into simple, actionable steps that anyone can follow. Additionally, the guide utilizes diagrams and statistics to illustrate the concepts and ideas it presents, making it easier to comprehend.
The guide’s success can be attributed to its ability to offer highly valuable information to its target audience in a clear and engaging way. By providing valuable resources and insights, Propelrr has attracted and gained new clients as well as built a loyal following.
Tips and techniques for writing copies and content
Having difficulty creating headlines, hooks, and content that will hold the interest of your readers? You’re not alone. Here are a few tricks and tips to help you get it right:
- Use clear and concise language. The importance of this in copywriting cannot be overstated. Effective copy should be easy to comprehend and understand. This ensures that the message resonates well with the reader and motivates them to take the desired action. In other words, when the writer can communicate in plain and direct language, the likelihood of effectively connecting significantly increases.
- Highlight the benefits. It is imperative to remember that the audience’s primary concern is their own interests. Unless they perceive a compelling reason to act, their response to a call-to-action is unlikely. This is why it is crucial for you to emphasize how your product or service is going to help them with their problems.
- Use emotional triggers. Emotions influence human behavior and copies that tap into your reader’s emotions are more likely to be remembered and acted upon. Copywriters can use language that appeals to the reader’s desires, fears, or aspirations to create an emotional connection with their readers.
- Incorporate social proof. People are more likely to take action if they see that others have already done so. By including testimonials, case studies, or statistics that demonstrate the effectiveness of the product or service, it can create a sense of trust and credibility.
- Experiment with copy. It is essential to experiment with copy to find out what works and what doesn’t. Copywriting is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and what works for one audience may not work for another. By testing different approaches, headlines, and calls-to-action, you can find the most effective way to communicate your message and persuade the reader to take action.
- Use a conversational tone. To create content that resonates with readers, it is important to use a conversational tone that mimics natural speech. A conversational tone makes the content feel approachable and relatable, helping the reader connect with the message on a personal level.
- Incorporate some visuals. Visuals such as images, videos, and infographics can help break up the text and make the content more engaging and comprehensible. This was proven by research published in 2015 which showed that incorporating visuals in content can significantly increase engagement and retention.
- Conduct your research. Whether it is to support an argument or to provide background information, the research adds depth and credibility to the content. By conducting thorough research, you can provide accurate information that educates and informs the reader.
- Provide actionable insights. Readers are always looking for information that they can apply in their daily lives, and content that provides actionable insights delivers that need. By offering practical advice or tips, you can create value for the reader and establish yourself not just as a brand but also as an expert.
- Experiment with content. Like copywriting, content writing is not a universal approach, and what appeals to one audience may not resonate with another. Experimentation with various topics, formats, and styles is key to discovering the most effective way to communicate the message and engage the intended audience.
Copywriting and content writing are two of the most essential skills in the world of digital marketing. While the two are often used interchangeably, they serve distinct purposes in marketing.
- Create value and build trust with your target audience through content writing. Unlike copywriting, content writing is not overtly promotional. Instead, it aims to provide value to the reader through informative content that they will want to consume and share. It’s about establishing and maintaining a connection with the reader through writing insightful or captivating articles or blog posts.
- Consider your tone and style. Copywriting is often about using persuasive language and techniques to get the reader to take a specific action, such as making a purchase. Content writing, on the other hand, is more about engaging the reader through content that they will find valuable. The tone and style of the writing will often reflect these different goals.
- Understand your target audience. To write effective copy, you must be able to step into the shoes of your target audience and understand what motivates them. When you have a deeper understanding of your audience’s concerns, you will be able to craft a message that will not only resonate with them but will also address their needs.
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