Content marketing and copywriting: what the heck is the difference?

For anyone that’s not intimately involved in the world of online marketing, the two may seem totally interchangeable.

The truth? The two are similar, and one can’t work without the other.

But they’re two very, very different animals, each of which has its own intricacies and benefits.

Read on to learn more.

copywriting and content marketing

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a school of marketing that takes content (in the form of visuals, articles, textual content, videos, etc.) and uses it to market a product, brand, idea, or topic.

Today, virtually all brands use content marketing, and virtually all customers interact with it on a near-daily basis, whether they know it or not. 60% of modern marketers create and distribute at least a single piece of content each day and, two years ago, 57% of marketers stated that the development of custom content was their top marketing priority. Since then, this number has only grown.

Right now, brands are using content marketing in a myriad of ways, and the variety of the examples might surprise you. While many people believe that content marketing is simply the use of blog posts or infographics to gain consumer attention, it goes so much deeper than that.

For example, content marketing is Rolex’s beautifully curated and photographed Pinterest page:

rolex content marketing

Whole Foods’ informative and targeted blog:

Whole Foods Screenshot

and Innocent Drinks’ hilarious Twitter feed:

Innocent Drinks

Content marketing is a critical marketing tactic, and it’s appearing across the web in the hands of various companies.

Through the use of content marketing, brands everywhere are building their voices, setting themselves apart from the crowd with funny social media posts, high-quality images, and informative blogs, and developing unique, devoted, and loyal bases of customers who would not leave them come hell or high water.

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is a piece of content marketing but it’s far from being the whole picture. Copywriting is the practice of actually writing online copy – the type that would appear in a product ad, a blog post, a white paper, an infographic, or a social media post.

As the popularity of content marketing has risen with brands, so, too, has the popularity of copywriting services.

Since copywriting is a critical piece of any brand’s online success, many companies currently hire out professional copywriting services to help them populate their websites, build out their blogs, and create the unique content that is later used in the big picture of content marketing.

In addition to supplying websites and marketers with on-site content, copywriting also serves another important purpose: to boost a company’s visibility in the online environment.

Through the help of good, high-quality, reputable, well-researched copywriting, brands can secure high Google rankings, help customers learn new information or solve problems, and appear prominently to people searching online for a certain product, good or service.

In this way, good copywriting is a powerful SEO tool that is widely regarded as the single most effective way for modern brands to rank well without utilizing the spammy, black-hat SEO tactics of yesteryear.

How Copywriting and Content Marketing Work Together

Without content, there can be no content marketing.

Because of this, content marketing and copywriting are closer than two peas in a pod.

Even when people understand what content marketing is, few people truly understand how integral copywriting is in making it happen.

While most people interact with ads, visuals, infographics, social media, and blogs (all of the trappings of content marketing) on a daily basis, few people realize that it is copywriting that makes this all possible.

In most business settings, a company has a team of in-house or outsourced content writers.

When the company needs a piece of content, be it a blog or a web page, they give the writers a set of details, a keyword or two, and then they turn them loose.

In time, the writers craft a piece of online content that’s meant to appeal to both writers and search engines.

Once it’s finished, the company takes it back and uses it to enhance and support their overall content marketing strategy. In many cases, the content that a writer produces will spearhead or support an entire chain of content marketing.

For example, an idea that starts as a heavily researched, long-form blog post may become an infographic, a series of tweets, a SlideShare presentation, and a podcast.

In this way, copywriting is largely responsible for giving birth to all of content marketing’s various facades and offshoots.

Without good copywriting, there can be no good content marketing, and the ads, blogs, infographics, and social profiles that customers love all grow up from the marriage between these two things.

Content Marketing & Copywriting: a Critical Partnership

Without the help of copywriting, content marketing would not survive, and without the help of content marketing, copywriting wouldn’t be the major industry that it is today.

A critical partnership that’s managed to bring value, relevance, and informative material to millions of people around the world, content marketing and copywriting team up to comprise the current face of marketing around the world.

As humans get increasingly digital and we carry out more and more of our interactions online, it’s safe to say that the importance of content marketing and copywriting will only increase.

What’s more, the product content marketing and copywriting combine to create will change.

While there’s currently a push for more story-driven online content, we can expect to see this morph into the norm over the next few years.

These change, combined with the increasing focus on user convenience and high-quality online material, will create an environment where all consumers around the world have access to relevant online material at the click of a button.

So there you have it – while content marketing and copywriting aren’t the same thing, they do work together to create digital marketing as we know and love it today.

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