A blog by Belfast Copywriter Brian O'Friel
Here’s a conundrum that often puzzles businesses that want to get some writing done. Hell, it even confuses new writers too. It’s this: are copywriting and content writing the same? Well, the quick answer is no, they’re not the same. And here’s why. Let’s start with Content Writing. The most widespread definition says that Content is a piece of writing that educates/informs the audience about a business or product without necessarily attempting to drive a sale at the time of reading. Content is Conversational It warms the target market up to your product in a friendly and conversational way, serving up information for the audience to file away at the back of their mind, ready to be recalled when they may want to buy or use your product at some stage in the future. This type of content is typically to be found in blogs, podcasts, social media, etc. Copywriting, on the other hand, is generally a piece of writing that specifically urges a sale and convinces the audience of the merits of your product/brand vis a vis your competitors. You’ll find copywriting in advertising and in classic formats such as Direct Mail letters – probably the medium where copywriting needs to be at its absolute sharpest. So, on the basis of that definition, copywriting and content writing are different beasts and never the twain shall meet. Right?
Well, no – not necessarily, as they can sometimes be interchangeable. (Told you it was confusing!) Persuasive copywriting Take what is commonly known as ‘web content’ – the words that appear on your website. Many businesspeople will advertise for a content writer to supply this ‘content’. But here is a situation where you’ve done all the hard work in getting a prospect onto your website in the first place. The last thing you want to do in this instance is give them some light, entertaining ‘content’ that they can file away for future reference. No, the thing to do here is to use persuasive 'copywriting' to keep them on the page and drive them towards a sale – before they hop over to a competitor’s page and make a purchase there. So that’s an instance where the 'content’ needs to be stronger than normal: where it essentially becomes strong, sales-driven copywriting. However, one important quality will always unite Content and Copy – they both need to be expertly written with their uniquely clear goals in mind. When you want your copy or content written, hire a freelance copywriter who knows the subtle differences - and when to apply them. Need to hire a copywriter in Ireland or the UK? I work from offices in Dublin and Belfast. Why not get in touch for a chat?