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The Difference Between Copywriting, Content, and SEO Writing

content writing copywriting seo writing

More and more businesses are realizing the value of content. Since not every business owner is a writer, they often seek professionals to create content for them. However, there are actually many writing disciplines and not every writer is skilled in each of them. Sometimes, you may need to hire a person proficient in each. 

In this article, I’m going to compare and contrast three vital disciplines of writing: content writing, copywriting, and SEO writing. You need to make use of all three if you wish to see better results with your marketing efforts.

What Is Content Writing?

Content writing is the art of creating written content. The ability to collect and compile information in such a way that provides value to the reader, gains their trust, and retains their attention.

Content writers are responsible for creating a variety of content such as blog posts, white papers, ebooks, social media posts, and more.

Understanding the target audience and the purpose of content is key to delivering high-quality work. Content needs to be relevant, researched, well-written, creatively conceived, as well as speak to the target audience in a way that they will be able to understand and connect with. Therefore, content writers need to know who their target audience is, what their education and comprehension level is, what drives them, and similar.

What Is Copywriting?

While content writing is the discipline of creating content, copywriting is the discipline of selling. This is the writing that you see on the sales pages of websites, like amazon.com.

The goal is to illuminate the value of a conceptual product or service. Then, to emotionally engage the target audience to act, in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes copywriting leads one to buy something. Other times, it leads them to, perhaps, follow a page on Twitter.

When you study copywriting, you’ll find yourself sinking into the realm that exists between neuroscience and psychology. The term for it is neuromarketing.

Though neuromarketing isn’t entirely about copywriting, copywriting engages the fundamental principles that deal with the two different cognitive systems of the human brain that pertain to customer decision making.

In a nutshell, consumers make the decision to buy something either logically or emotionally.

System 1 pertains to the emotional response; system 2 pertains to the logical response. Most often, on a daily basis, humans make decisions based on system 1. And marketing, as a whole, has shaped to respond to it.

The efficacy of copywriting has some objectively measurable facets to it, unlike literature—which is largely (though not entirely) subjectively judged.

For instance, you could take two pay-per-click ads that have the same picture but different copywriting. Then, you observe the metrics of how many more people click on that ad over the other. This concept is called A/B split testing, which is a method of experimentation for marketers.

What Is SEO Writing?

With copywriting, you have to understand how the human brain works whereas with SEO writing, you have to understand how search engine bots work.

Search engine bots crawl your website. Then, they scan and analyze a myriad of facts about it. As a result, they give a numerical value to your website on a logarithmic scale.

That number tells the artificial intelligence (AI) of search engines (e.g. Google, Bing) how to rank you above or below other websites on the Internet. Especially your competitors.

This is also one of the primary contributing factors that made blogging so important for a company’s presence on the Internet.

Throughout the years, marketers have used varying tactics to get their websites to rank higher on the search engines, by fooling the system. In the beginning, they did it by ways like filling a web page with the words that the marketer would be trying to rank for. Even if it meant making the writing seem inhuman.

But as the search engines progressively advance to be ever more efficient, they are able to more accurately judge websites by how truly informative, credible, and well-written they are while keeping in mind what’s called keyword density.

Keyword density is how often a keyword that the marketer is trying to rank for appears in any given article. Search engine bots also use other factors, such as words that aren’t necessarily the target keywords, but are relevant to them and tell the bots what a website is about, and how to categorize it.

What a Business Owner Needs to Know

If any business owner wants to sell their product or service online, they’re going to need all three styles of writing. To drive web traffic and lead them with calls-to-action (CTAs) to follow them on social media, buy from them, etc.

A CTA is a variant of copywriting that drives readers to do something.

For example, this very paragraph is a CTA, because when I say: be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook if you’d like to learn more about Internet marketing strategy and how you can use it to help you sell your products and services, I am driving you to do just that.

Together with SEO writing, it will help you rank on search engines. This then will help you to build a following to which you can pitch your products or services to and make money from. 

Finally, remember that you can’t focus on solely one writing discipline. To efficiently market your business you’ll need to utilize all three: copywriting, content writing, and SEO writing.

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