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Despite common belief, content writing and copywriting are two completely different things. Often being referred to interchangeably by those who aren’t themselves writers, copywriting and content writing shouldn’t be combined into the same technique.

Depending on what your company or clients want to accomplish, you’ll need to either execute some copywriting or some content writing, so you must understand how the two differ to deliver excellent results every single time. Content creation is integral to digital marketing, being the driving force, in some way or another, behind the following:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click advertising campaigns (PPC)
  • Social media marketing (SMM)

Where SEO might require some long-form content, PPC and SMM will be both macrocopy (printed content for easy reading) and microcopy-focused as opposed to content that features more than just a few words or phrases. Therefore, not all forms of content creation are the same, so what distinguishes one form from another? We’ll be discussing that in this article.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is focused more on motivating, persuading, and convincing readers to interact with companies and businesses alike. It could be argued that content writing does this also, and it does, but copywriting achieves this in a slightly different way.

Copywriting is used for marketing and advertising, enticing website visitors to navigate around more of a company’s website with the end goal of increasing leads, conversions, and, therefore, sales.

One would use copywriting for one or more of the following purposes:

  • PPC landing pages
  • PPC adverts
  • Product pages
  • Website sales copy
  • Sales emails
  • Short message services (SMS) adverts
  • Cost-per-mile (CPM) adverts
  • Social media adverts

What is content writing?

The purpose of content writing is to inform the reader whilst providing them with high-quality, engaging knowledge simultaneously. Businesses will then use this content to achieve a certain goal, but this will likely vary depending on the industry they work in and, possibly, the size of their company. From increasing brand awareness and reducing bounce rates to improving conversion and boosting sales, content writing can be used for a wide range of purposes.

Content writing is prominent for the following pieces of material:

  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Evergreen articles
  • eBooks
  • White papers
  • Infographics
  • Tutorials
  • Newsletters
  • Case studies
  • Social media posts

The material you produce as a content writer should educate and entertain readers as well as provide them with the knowledge and information they have been searching for, so they can go away feeling satisfied that they got what they came for.

Copywriting vs content writing

There are several differences between copywriting and content writing, as already touched upon above. But how, exactly, do they differ? From purpose and grammar to style and length, there are key distinguishing factors between the two, something we’ll explain below.

What is the purpose of each?

The purpose of copywriting is to increase sales, whereas the purpose of content writing is to produce engaging content with beneficial information that can be widely shared. However, that doesn’t mean that companies shouldn’t use content writing to achieve marketing goals, such as an increase in sales.

It all comes down to how businesses, or you as the writer, decide to structure content and balance quality accordingly. A common way to do this is to include a ‘call to action’ (CTA) at the end of each piece of content. CTAs have the sole purpose of encouraging readers to perform actions that ensures they further engage with a website, such as:

  • Signing up for email newsletters
  • Reading additional content
  • Making a purchase
  • Clicking on different, relevant articles
  • Searching through other website pages
  • Enquiring about a product or service

Before either copywriting or content writing, you should consider the purpose of the material you’re wanting to produce. This will help to determine whether you should put on a copywriting hat or a content writing hat.

How do they differ in length?

The length of the material produced at the hands of copywriters and content writers will, naturally, differ depending on the purpose. Social media posts will require more content than a social media advertisement, for example. But then an article will require less content than a white paper.

There aren’t any set rules with regards to specific lengths for copywriting and content writing, but there are some loose guidelines to follow for each. PPC adverts, for example, require microcopy, but articles need long-form content.

Use your professional judgment as well when it comes to the length of the content you produce. You’ll be sure to know whether or not your content is too long or too short once you’ve written it.

What about grammar?

You should minimise grammatical errors and spelling mistakes – that goes without saying – because it interrupts a reader’s train of thought, distracting them from what it is you’re trying to persuade them to do in the first place.

From missing punctuation out where it matters most to leaving out whole words in the middle of a sentence, it all has a detrimental effect on the perception of either your business or that of your clients’.

Your readers want to give their custom to a firm they can trust and, in some cases, spelling mistakes and grammar errors can cause them to lose their trust in a company, and relatively quickly. Minimise any grammatical mistakes and typos by doing the following things:

  • Don’t just rely on spell check – it doesn’t pick up on everything
  • Proofread – do this more than once and ask someone else to check it for you also
  • Use reliable sources – this applies to any quotes and statistics you find
  • Make a list of the mistakes you find – this can help to prevent you from making them again
  • Don’t rush – take your time when writing content and read it back as you go

Which style should you choose?

It would be a shame to rule one out completely in favour of the other, so don’t do that. Instead, you should use them in conjunction with each other. Marketing campaigns, for example, will need you to put a copywriting hat on, whereas writing long-form articles will require content writing expertise. So no matter what it is you’re writing, you’ll be using both techniques at some point or another, so don’t exclude any from your writing style.

Kumo Digital are highly-experienced marketing specialists with over two decades of knowledge and expertise to draw upon. From building websites and SEO implementation to PPC services and content creation, we have the skills required to make your website and your business stand out from the crowd. For more information, get in touch with a member of our friendly, professional team today – we’re always happy to hear from you.


Author Biography


As an experienced Copywriter, Lorna enjoys creating varied content for an abundance of different industries and sectors. From detailed, informative articles to creative infographics, she's always looking to inject originality into the work she produces. When she isn't working, Lorna runs her own lifestyle blog, plays the guitar and loves to take part in charity runs.