Whether you’re a startup looking to create a content strategy or a writer hoping to launch a copywriting career, you’ll need to know the difference between copywriting vs content marketing. What do the two have in common, and what are the best approaches to each?
In this article, we define the two practices, explore the differences and the techniques you need to borrow from each practice to make your copy and content as successful as possible. You’ll find there is a lot of overlap between the two terms and the skills you require to implement them. But first, let’s start with the basics...
Table of contents
- Copywriting vs content marketing definitions
i. Copywriting definition
a. Examples of copywriting
ii. Content marketing definition
b. Examples of content marketing
- What is copywriting? A closer look
i. Using content marketing techniques in copywriting
- What is content marketing? A closer look
i. Using copywriting techniques in your content marketing
- What is the difference between content marketing and copywriting?
Copywriting vs content marketing definitions
Though they may seem similar, the two practices are different. If you're wondering what is the difference between copywriting and content marketing, it's helpful to understand the different definitions:
Copywriting aims to directly and immediately lead the reader to take a specific action: whether that’s subscribing to a newsletter, calling you for more information, or buying your product. Effective copy will include a call to action and will be geared toward compelling the reader to complete that action.
Daniel Throssell defines copywriting as:
"The definition of copywriting is 'salesmanship in print'. Copywriting is using words to persuade people to take some kind of action, such as clicking on an ad or purchasing a product.
For this reason, it’s one of the most important aspects of marketing. It’s also why professional copywriters are the highest-paid writers on the planet."
In a nutshell? “Copywriting is re-arranging words to make things sell better. It is a text form of salesmanship.”
Examples of copywriting
Some materials where copywriting is used include:
- direct mail
- sales pages
- web pages
Content marketing definition
There are numerous definitions of content marketing out there; however, it generally involves creating and sharing free, multimedia content across various business channels, such as blogs and social media posts. The principal aim is to attract readers to your site and encourage positive brand recognition, usually over a long period of time.
As Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute defines it:
“[Content marketing is] a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Examples of content marketing
Some media where content writing is used include:
- thought-leadership pieces
What is copywriting? A closer look
Copy is created by writers on behalf of a brand or business, to achieve specific goals – usually promoting the business’s goals, message, values, and products.
Copywriting should always centre around a call to action, and by the end, readers need to have a clear idea of what you want them to do next.
Copywriting communicates with a brand’s target buyer persona in order to strengthen B2C or B2B relationships – but it is always written with a specific reader in mind.
Using content marketing techniques in copywriting
Here are the ways you can use good content marketing techniques to inform your copywriting:
- Ensure it's enjoyable to read: It’s important to produce copy that works as a sales pitch, but if it’s too dull, monotonous or packed with jargon, your bounce rate will be staggering. Yes, copywriting is essentially advertising, but you need to disguise all that overt promotion behind fascinating, readable storytelling.
- Find ways to be generous: Ideally, readers will finish scrolling through your copy and think to themselves, “I can’t believe they gave me all that information for free.” Presenting yourself as a brand that generously shares its expertise is a surefire way to garner devoted readers.
- Write for humans, not just search engines: SEO skills will guarantee your copy gets found by the right audience. But all that tricky, technical work is useless if readers feel bored, intimidated or alienated by what they’re reading. Write copy that includes the level of depth and nuance that human readers appreciate.