Understanding Content Copywriting

Understanding Content Copywriting

A lot of students ask us about the difference between content writers and copywriters. Since this often creates confusion, we looked to a couple of our instructors for some clarity. 

Lauren Ventura, who has written content for brands that include Petco and Volcom shared her thoughts:

Ah, this is an enigma to many job posters, and hiring managers, too, sadly. I would like to share a great delineation that I found through one of my favorite copy-centric sites, CopyBlogger.

They really nail it:

"Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers — and customers into repeat buyers."

Whereas: 

"Copywriting gets a reader to take a specific action. Sometimes that’s making a purchase, but it can also be subscribing to your email list, signing up for your content library, or calling you for more information."

The takeaway? Content marketing is blogs, podcasts, and email autoresponders. Copywriting is sales pages, ads, and direct mail.

But why does understanding the difference between copywriting and content writing really matter? 

Jeff Horn who has written for The Mirage, Sony and Qualcomm explains: 

Distinguishing between content and copy is a crucial skill for writing in the digital world. Some instances require factual, informative text, devoid of persuasion or a sales pitch.

He references the sales funnel: 

You might hear advertisers refer to the sales funnel as the “sales cycle” or the “consumer journey.” Simply put, the sales funnel is like a roadmap intended to guide customers toward a sale and brand loyalty. Many ad agencies use different terms and designs to show their sales funnel. One of the more typical examples is shown in the graphic here.

If we understand where our customer is within the sales funnel, we can tailor a more effective message based on their level of knowledge with your product or service.

If you know your customer is only in the awareness stage, you don't want to present them with highly technical product details. You want to explain the overall benefit of your product or service to elicit curiosity and deepen their consideration.

By the same token, if you know your customer is in the purchase stage, you don't want to repeat the same old benefits they've been hearing all along. Instead you might want to explain some more detailed uses for their product, or a specific product feature that will amplify their experience. 

As copywriters, doing our job effectively means knowing as much as possible about the context and purpose of our messages. Understanding the who, what, when, where, why and how much of it can change how we approach our audiences.

With more than 75% of businesses utilizing content marketing, this pivotal skill's importance can't be overstated.

B2C Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America

B2C Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America

The Content Marketing Institute, a leading global content marketing education organization, asked organizations about their upcoming priorities for content creation.

That leaves writers with a clear directive: Get a superior content marketing education so that you can help businesses build an effective online presence and at the same time market yourself for this rapidly changing and growing field. 


Interested in expanding your content writing skills? Our Content Copywriting Course will build the essential skills and use long-form writing techniques to create full-blown, integrated marketing campaigns.

Portfolio Studio is the creative hub that brings ambitious students together with working pros for training and portfolio building. We offer courses for Copywriters, Graphic and Web Designers, Art Directors and Digital Strategists. Contact us for more information, or take a look at our current courses.

Related articles: 

Portfolio Advice from a Working Copywriter

Characteristics of Some of the Best Copywriting Schools

BtoC Content Marketing