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Copywriting vs. Content Writing: What Is the Difference and What Is Best?

Free Guide: Mapping Content for Different Buyer Personas

March 28, 2023

By Alexa Lopresti

Once upon a time, a copywriter was the go-to when it came to any and all marketing copy—but that was before the dawn of the blog and other forms of online marketing content. Today, if your organization has a blog or is creating online content, you have to ask yourself whether you’re writing the right type of copy or content for your target personas to achieve the greatest impact. 

Although other content marketing channels have gained in popularity, blogging continues to be a priority for marketers; 56 percent of marketers who leverage blogging say it’s effective, and 10 percent say it generates the biggest return on investment.

What does that mean for you? If you can find the right writer, they’ll be worth their weight in gold. But how are copywriting and content writing different? Which is best for your blog? Find out more below!

Free Guide: Mapping Content for Different Buyer Personas

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is focused primarily on a direct, short-term goal with big returns: generating sales. Copywriting is the focus of ads, sales collateral, sales emails, PPC landing pages, and more. 

A copywriter is the type of wordsmith who can craft compelling headlines and CTAs to prompt consumers to purchase a product, subscribe to a service, schedule a tour, or submit vital information for follow-up, such as an email address. Some of the most well-known marketing campaigns in the world have come from the talented minds of creative copywriters. 

David Oglivy, a famous advertising tycoon, said it best, long before he could have even predicted the rise of blogs and the digital space: “When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

Copywriting is more straightforward than content writing and uses persuasive, emotional language to appeal to the consumer so they take immediate action. It may be a tall order, but copywriting can make or break a business. As famed direct-mail copywriter Eugene Schwartz said when describing the task of copywriting, “Tap a single overwhelming desire existing in the hearts of thousands of people who are actively seeking to satisfy it at this very moment.”


What is Content Writing?

Content writing includes blog posts, social media posts, emails, white papers, e-books, and other savvy materials that educate, entertain, and inform your audience about a given topic. Content writing is focused on creating productive engagement with your audience so—over time—they’ll come to trust your brand and be interested in your product or service. 

The best content writers are so stealth at storytelling that they can write dozens of posts for your blog without even mentioning your brand and still manage to attract and convert prospects. The power of this type of prose is that it has the power to eventually turn leads into prospects, prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. 

According to HubSpot, B2B marketers have actually found blogging to be a great long-term investment and more time- and cost-effective than traditional lead generation methods. Additionally, content writing can position your brand as an authority on a topic and grant your company credibility as the foremost leader on a subject.

The best part about this type of content? It’s free for your readers, so your content writer needs to have a firm handle on SEO to make sure people can find and read your content.


Which Should You Use?

Your blog should strive to have the best of both worlds: valuable, informative, and authoritative content wrapped up with a clear CTA. Remember that copywriting is content, but content isn’t necessarily copywriting. Where content writing is informative and creative and meant to be shared, copywriting is direct and focused on a sales-generating endgame. 

As the pros behind Copyblogger famously say: “Copywriting without content is a waste of good copy,” and “content without copywriting is a waste of good content.”

This post originally published on July 16, 2018, and has been updated since.


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Topics: Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing