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The Real Difference Between Content Writing and Copywriting The entire industry often gets confused when using the terms of content writing and copywriting. Here are the main differences between the two.

By Bhavik Sarkhedi Edited by Chelsea Brown

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When speaking of digital markets and the recent norm of content marketing, a common dilemma arises. The entire industry often gets confused when using the terms of content writing and copywriting. Often, they place the idea under the same umbrella. Since both ideas are very closely linked to each other, there is yet a significant line of distinction between the two. The ideals of the two are also thoroughly different from each other, and even the objectives differ on the result. Nonetheless, the points of distinction are vague and cause ambiguity in the various professions and activities around the two.

Creativity is an imperative element in the content business. Both copywriting and content writing depend upon it for their survival. However, even the use of creativity is completely different, and the necessary skills in demand for the two are also a matter of prime difference. There is also a raging debate surrounding the responsibilities in both of these respective job roles. Many are divided over which is more challenging and which upholds the image of the product in the market. In the face of such questions and biased thoughts, here is an attempt to clear the clouds over the difference between copywriting and content writing.

Related: The 5 Cs of Content Marketing Copy


Content writing can be defined as the description of the product in layman's terms. It is a deep dive into the nature of the product, the features of the product, the utility of the product and the durability of the product. This form of writing is aimed at educating the consumer in terms of the product or service they buy or rent. The intricate information available about the product is maintained through content writing. The writer goes through a session of product study, its benefits and its flaws. They then draft the content, which informs the customer about every aspect of their purchase. Blog posts, FAQ sections, how-to articles, detailed product descriptions, email newsletters and ebooks are all examples of content writing.

Copywriting is not such a comprehensive, detailed reading of the content. It is aimed at the consumer with the sole purpose of driving their decision to purchase. Content marketing is the primary objective of copywriting. They intend to attract customers with engaging and catchy lines and phrases to grab their attention. The copy of a marketing campaign usually highlights the product as the efficient commodity missing from the consumer's life. It is also based on market and field research and is drafted solely keeping in mind the preference of the consumer. The data from the research is to read the needs of the customer and target the phrases at those points. That objective achieved is the birth of a successful campaign. Examples of copywriting would be taglines, billboards, brochures, radio scripts, TV scripts and magazine brochures.

Related: What Does a Copywriter Do? (Infographic)

Key responsibilities

The primary responsibility of a content writer is to provide informative content. They are to conduct thorough market research and formulate the content that consumers demand. The content they provide must not be informal and should maintain the barriers of formal language. The manner of writing should be appealing as well. However, content writers must make sure to not use any form of pop-culture language or slang in their content and make sure that they provide a well-proofread document. Grammatical errors or errors in phraseology make for a bad reading experience.

The writer's job even extends to SEO infusion within the content. It is imperative for a content writer to have SEO knowledge. There is a debate over the importance of SEO, but in the case of ranking, searchability and prominence, SEO works wonders. A content writer must have pure and unparalleled knowledge for keywords, their use, their efficiency, backlinking, hyperlinking and all forms of SEO marketing, so that the content appears in the search engine. Catchy and informative headlines are also very important.

Copywriting, on the other hand, has a distinct set of responsibilities altogether. The process for every campaign begins at meeting the stakeholder for the product. The marketing team focuses on providing a voice and identity to the brand. The attractive taglines and the relatable stories regarding a product or commodity are based on the common objective of making it a household name. The advertisement scripts are also crafted with the needs of the consumer and their basic demands in mind.

Related: Every Entrepreneur Should Learn These Essential Copywriting Skills

Another point of distinction

Another difference worth mentioning is that the work that comes out of copywriting is not as lengthy as content writing. Copywriters target relatable, catchy content and are focused on making the most from the product's information and features. However, on the other hand, content writers usually target the lengthy form of content where they can sufficiently touch upon each aspect of the product or service and make the most of the article and space provided. They intend to deliver on-point information to the consumer that will be helpful to them even after the purchase.

In the end, both are very relevant to business in their own respective format and are often seen to be working in cohesion. In the present light of business, there is a dire need for both of these departments in a company.

Bhavik Sarkhedi

CEO of Write Right, Estorytellers, Taletel, Bloggism and Kalam Kagaz

Bhavik Sarkhedi is the CEO and founder of content-writing agency Write Right, which serves personalized content to over 1,500 clients across the globe. He is also the founder of Estorytellers, Taletel, Bloggism and KalamKagaz.  He has penned seven books on content writing, personal branding and digital marketing, including How to Start Your Own Content Writing Agency and How to Become A Digital Marketing Consultant.

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