Content Writing: What It Is and What It Is Not
To cut it short.
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Content production and fruition
It is hard to imagine a world in which we have not lived or have lived for a very short time and therefore we can barely remember how things worked before and how tasks and jobs were done. The advent of the Internet has changed the way we do several things, but perhaps one thing above all has been completely revolutionized. Communication. And here we’re talking about communication as a whole, which means everything that concerns the word, written, spoken, performed, illustrated. Nowadays, we have access to a massive amount of content available on the Internet, on a daily basis, that it is hard even to imagine it. In fact, an average person spends around 7 hours consuming online content. This content can be anything: from webpages to social media posts, from news and press releases to blog or journal articles, from companies’ white papers to brochures of an event or conference, from e-books to podcasts. By the way, have you ever wondered who writes all this stuff? Exactly, a content writer. No, wait…a copywriter? Aren’t they the same person? Well no, a content writer writes, while a copywriter…writes too. Ugh, what a mess. Time to clear things up and make some order.
What is content writing and what are the differences with copywriting
Content writing and copywriting both serve in the digital marketing niche. While copywriting writes copy that sells, content writing is the process of creating, writing, editing and distributing relevant and valuable content on the web to educate, entertain, and engage a clearly defined audience. Here comes the first difference between content writing and copywriting. Content writing’s goal is to inform and entertain the audience. Copywriting’s aim is to persuade and sell. This is the main reason why the type of content these two professional figures write is different in terms of length and structure. Copywriters most of the time create short-form copy: social media ads, landing pages, advertising copy, sales emails, brochures, taglines. The structure of these types of copy is simple, clear and easy, because they are built to grab readers’ attention, persuade them and finally sell them something in a very fast and straightforward way. Content writers instead mostly write long-form content: blog articles, newsletters, companies’ white papers, tutorials, press releases, video or podcast scripts. These kinds of content require more time to read, therefore their purpose is first of all to inform and educate readers, but on the long haul, they are used to build trust, credibility and customer retention, which all eventually lead to a sale.
A content writer’s skills
So, length, type and purpose of the copy are the main differences between these two professional figures. The skills required to be a copywriter or a content writer also might be the same. But of course, the differences listed above influence the right skills to do the job. Let’s see what are the ones that a content writer must certainly have. Writing is a skill, essential to any business, that requires a lot of practice and dedication. But being good at writing is not enough.
- A content writer’s job is to understand their audience and write for them. The best content writers know how to adapt their writing style to suit the expectations of their target audience.
- Research, research and more research. Every kind of copy, but especially long-form copy, requires careful planning, research, and editing. If it is not well structured, organized in a hierarchy, reporting fact-based information and consistent all the way, from the beginning to the ending, it will be useless and worthless. Content writers need to know what they’re talking about, and they need to prove the knowledge they’re sharing. Statistics, data and metrics exist because they give content credibility and support the writer’s claims. Period.
- This also leads to the company or business’ credibility. A good content writer must produce high-quality content, because it will make them an authority in their own field and they will gain the audience’s trust.
- These professionals can write content optimized for both a human audience and search engine algorithms, so they surely need to have SEO knowledge and know how to use the right keywords.
- Content writers have to know how to keep the same tone throughout the content. They have to write a compelling headline in order to grab readers’ attention, then they have to write the first sentence of the body copy so as to arouse curiosity and sound interesting in order to keep them reading, and finally, they need to keep the pace by maintaining the same tone throughout the rest of the text, otherwise they will stop reading. This is why they need to give content a proper structure, like I said a few lines above.
- If you want to be a content writer you will need to find your voice and write with it. This reflects the company or business, its values and its personality. Sure, it has to adapt to your target audience and to your goals, but it has to be unique and speak about you.
- If you want to do this job you will also have to write your content. This means you don’t have to look at the others’. Well, of course you can look for analysis and research purposes. But don’t use other people’s words. We’re talking about your reputation here and the one of your company or business. Use your own words. Your content has to be original. Also because if it is not, Google will notice and penalize you and your content. Your call.
- Content writers are thorough people. They check and edit their writing over and over again. If you do that as a content writer, you will realize that your content gets a better form and structure during this process.
- Finally, content writers are friendly, polite and active on social media. Here they can sponsor their work, but also meet people and create their community. The business or company can gain lots of new users and customers through social media’s word of mouth.
It’s all about trust. Once a content writer has gained people’s trust, their high-quality content will also make readers more likely to come back to them and more interested in reading other content produced by the same content writer. If they start reading the newsletter, they will want to read the press release next or listen to a podcast. In this way, content writers’ first and foremost responsibility and task is to drive organic traffic and keep engaging with them. Using content writing to communicate with a vast audience means taking the opportunities the Internet has to offer and use them at your service. In this case, content writing gives businesses and companies the chance to create something unique, which belongs exclusively to them.
Creating this kind of content is different from the one crafted by a copywriter. Of course, the two jobs are kind of related. Like father and son. They look alike, but they’re not the same person. Their basic skills might be similar, but their purpose and aim in the world is different.
Both are exciting, satisfying and challenging jobs. You just have to pick a side. In one aspect only they are the same. Both copywriters and content writers have the same weapon at their disposal: Storykube’s AI for all their writing production. May the AI be with you too.