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Copywriting VS. Content Writing – Why You Need Both

Which do you need to pay more attention to, copywriting or content writing? The answer is simple – both. One can’t exist without the other. They’re intertwined.

The advertising of products and services has a long history. Just think back to ancient Pompeii, where archaeologists have discovered on the walls of an “ante litteram” fast food shop, paintings of the ready-made meals they sold from the premises.

In medieval times, bundles of wheat painted on hanging wooden boards advertised taverns. Some services were even advertised by saints. The image of St. Christopher indicated a ferry for crossing a river. Saint Julian the Hospitaler was the medieval equivalent of a flashing motel sign.

Domenico Ghirlandaio (1448-1494), Saint Christopher and the Infant Christ

These are the origins of today’s billboards, TV advertising, radio jingles, taglines, slogans. Images and written captions vie for our attention, making us constantly aware of products and services.

For those of us starting out on the thrilling journey of creating a business, there’s more to creating a winning marketing strategy than choosing an image and adding a simple caption. If you want to break the mould, you need good copywriting skills as well as a talent for content writing.

The purpose of copywriting is to sell. Effective copy is written in a way that prompts the reader to act immediately (CTA). If you’re in business, you need a copywriter because most communication is in written form. A copywriter will help you create a marketing plan and help to get your message across. This is important whether you have an online business or more traditional bricks-and-mortar premises.

A copywriter is somebody who can skilfully write:

  • Ads, both on and offline

  • Slogans and taglines

  • Web page content

  • SEO content

  • Email campaigns

  • Scripts for TV or radio commercials

  • Scripts for video

  • Press releases

  • White papers

  • Catalogues

  • Billboards

  • Brochures

  • Postcards

  • Sales letters

  • Direct mail letters

  • Jingle lyrics

  • Social media

…and much more.

Content writing is any form of writing that doesn’t explicitly sell something. Content writing is about sharing information about the product or service. The aim is to educate, entertain and inform the target audience. Content writing is the best way to provide value to potential customers before they buy anything.

A content writer can produce content for:

  • Blog posts

  • Newspaper articles

  • Magazine features

  • White papers

  • Email newsletters

  • E-books

  • Books

  • Print magazines

  • Social media posts

  • Podcasts

  • Television

  • Film

  • Radio

…and more.

As Copyblogger (link) said: “Copywriting without content is a waste of good copy”, and “content without copywriting is a waste of good content”. Copywriting and content writing just can’t be separated!

Good content engages your audience, motivates the reader to take an interest, and slowly, gently steers them into buying your product or service.

Copywriting is conversion. Once your audience becomes interested in your content, copywriting creates the Call to Action.

But to be effective in your communication, you have to know your target audience – who they are, what their interests are, and what solutions they are looking for.

Learning how to write good copy and content takes time and understanding who your audience is the first step towards good writing!


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