When words should speak louder than actions: Content Writing

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: April 19th, 2022 | Updated: August 17th, 2022

How is content writing different from copywriting or creative writing? Is copywriting plagiarism or copying? Is all of them just under the umbrella of content writing? Is it a matter of form and substance? Let’s find out.

Content Writing vs. Copywriting: The Nexus and Divorce

According to Forbes, not all forms of content creation are similar. Content writing and copywriting are different. If you’re a ghostwriter for a company or a one-man digital promoter and marketer of your start-up business then you should know the fine distinction between the two. It could just be a measly, fragile line between both types of content creation.

Content writing: creating of textual content to inform or entertain readers. Depending on the tone, mood, or the nature of the topic in general, it may appeal to some readers or not. It may increase sales, too, but it’s not the main purpose. Content writing form aims to be authoritative, so it’s backed by scientific research and input. 

Is it enough to just be authoritative with lots of attribution? No. Not all scientific research is valuable to your purpose or subject matter. 

While there’s really no original content per se, the writer may inject valuable inputs to make it high-quality content but of course based on facts and not just simple conjecture. Applying concepts and technical jargon in daily life scenarios. A balance between theoretical and empirical research. You could be casual or formal in your delivery depending on the industry or overall tone of the SEO or digital marketing campaign or company you’re working with. 

The following are examples of content writing:

  • Feature/News Articles
  • Blog posts
  • E-books
  • How-to Guides
  • Evergreen articles
  • Email newsletter
  • Social Media Posts/Campaign
  • Case/Comparative Studies

Copywriting: creating of textual content to persuade readers to take a specific action associated with the business’s sales procedure. Obviously, if you’re in the digital marketing scene, you’ll need to convince prospective customers that it’s worth buying.

But again, here’s the nuanced part. Convincing is different from persuading, commonly. Convincing pertains to causing someone to believe that something is true or valid. Here comes the confusion between copywriting and content writing because content writing’s objective is to educate right? So in copywriting, you also need factual basis backed by studies and reports from, for example, Natural Science and other fields of discipline. 

Persuading pertains to causing someone to take action by asking, provoking, or doling out reasons to believe in your brand or cause to drive sales.

The following are examples of copywriting:

  • Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC ads)
  • Social media ads
  • Website sales copy
  • Short message Service (SMS) ads
  • Product pages
  • Sales emails

Here’s more of the Nexus

As has been said, the distinction is subtle between content writing and copywriting which means they can be incorporated in one digital marketing campaign. You just need to balance the amounts of content for each form.

If the primary purpose is to introduce a commercial product, used by several companies with just different innovations and upgrades, including both its pros and cons then the chunks of text or paragraphs should be clearly about educating or entertaining the target readers. The last 2 paragraphs at least should be dedicated to selling it to customers. In business, there’s always the sales pitch. Two to three lines could also be enough if you want to mention the company you’re promoting to add to search traffic.

How long should the content be?

This is more addressed to the writers and editors because the length may not really matter to the readers. It’s a matter of going back to the purpose again. 

Naturally, content writing ranges from 500 to 3,000 words because the purpose is to inform, educate, and entertain.

You can’t possibly inform, educate, and entertain if you’re using only two sentences or one paragraph, at most. The logic is quite simple. In blog posts and articles, there are only other topic titles, pictures, and ads you can see, so the reader can focus more on the valuable content.

Copywriting is more appropriate in social media ads or product pages, for instance, because it’s shorter in words. It’s more on the visual packaging or aesthetics of the product design plus the videos. Also, readers are browsers on social media. They hop on to the next big ad or product that catches their eye, so no point in being kilometric or use rambling prolixity in texts. 

How should they appeal to emotions?

If this was a drama in an English play, copywriting is the one that incite an emotional response, while content writing does not. According to scholastic research from Harvard, 9 out of 10 consumer transactions are influenced by emotion.

Fear of getting stuck in a failed relationship, for example, may force or convince a consumer to sell his/her wedding ring. With the economy that’s designed to be depressing so we’ll never be fully satisfied, many users and customers of businesses and services now feel the need to buy all these cosmetic products, waist-shaping or fat-reducing devices, and self-help books because of course, they’re led to believe they need help.

Additional tip, if you’re writing about divorce or cancer, inject humor because it can drain out or weigh more for actual divorcee or cancer patient readers.

Are perfect Grammar skills required?

For content writing, grammar is extremely important because it’s supposed to be educational, entertaining, and long. It’s supposed to make readers read until the end, for the takeaway.

Typos, run-on sentences, parallelisms, and misplaced modifiers are just some common grammatical errors. There are always the editors and proofreaders, so these are checked. Sometimes, full-on standard English grammar may not be needed, depending on the usual tone and content of your company’s blog articles. Just refresh on your past English lessons, once in a while. 

Creative writing: To be creatively informative, you can use anecdotes or literary devices. This is a style of writing to link content writing and copywriting.

Copywriting doesn’t need flawless grammar to attain its purpose. Fragments and incomplete sentences may even be more effective sometimes for this content type. Most digital advertising portals also have a cap on how many words you can include in a text ad. To make sure you get to deliver the ad’s message, removing redundant words and punctuation may be required. As long as they’re cohesive and easy on the reader’s eyes then it’s enough.

The takeaway is content writing and copywriting are different, but they can be merged into one content. The former means you get to educate or entertain while the latter means you get to persuade and convince. Content writing is usually preferred for generating organic website content while copywriting is chosen for generating paid ads and other bits of sponsored text content. You’ll typically perform content writing when creating organic website content.