content writing vs. copywriting

Content Writing vs. Copywriting – What You Need to Know

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There are millions of unread words online and that number’s growing. This happens for one of two reasons: your message is bland or irrelevant or no one can find your content. This post reviews the main differences between content writing vs. copywriting and how to use each one to market your nutrition business. Let’s dive in.

What is Content Writing?

Think of your content like a student practically falling off their chair to answer a question in the Google classroom. Multiply that by a million (and then some) and you have the Internet. Google will take everyone’s answers and rank them based on how good they are. This is nice when we are the ones with the question, but it can be rough if we want people to see our answers.

Content writing is the writing you do to attract attention, inform readers, and build a relationship with your audience. It’s part of your inbound marketing.

What are Examples of Content Writing?

  • Blog writing
  • Video scripts
  • Social media
  • Digital Newsletters
  • Podcast scripts

Blog Writing

Blog writing is basically writing blog posts or articles for your website. This post you’re reading now is an example of blog writing. Blog posts are also how most people find brands online when they do a Google search.

A lot of people in health and wellness prefer social media content over blog content. Which is fine…until your social media account gets locked, the algorithm changes, or someone impersonates you and steals your traffic. 

I think of social media like a car. It has a far reach, but you don’t want to live in your car. And when it breaks down, you need a place to bring it home.

Home is your website.

How Do People Find Your Blog?

The short answer is that your blog post offers the best answer for someone’s question but, Google can still turn up millions of articles for a single search. Posts that rank high on Google’s rankings tend to be:

Long Form Content

Long form is considered 2,000+ words. Not every post on page 1 of Google is over 2,000 words though. The idea behind writing long form content is that if you’re writing more, you’re probably writing in more depth. And that will answer someone’s question better. In the past, people used to write gibberish just to throw up a long post. Thankfully, Google has picked up on this keyword stuffing tactic.

Optimized for Search Engines (SEO)

Catchy Headlines

catchy headline recipe - copywriting vs. content writing

Answer the Search Intent (what you really want from a post)

People used to write nonsense or use all sorts of “hacks” for the sake of ranking. And it worked. But the content was garbage and of little value to the reader. Google has wised up to this and no longer rewards sites for having long form content or spammy SEO. In fact, Google’s latest update says they’re now focused on the user experience, but they’ve been moving in this direction for a while.

Content writing that answers the reader’s search intent ranks higher. And that brings in more traffic to your website. More traffic is good because more eyes means more clients, more authority, and more passive income opportunities.

Katie Dodd: Blog Writing for Passive Income Case Study

Katie Dodd is one of the best examples I can think of what blog writing can do for your nutrition business. She runs The Geriatric Dietitian and the Dietitian Side Hustle websites and offers the Blogging Accelerator Program.

The Geriatric Dietitian blog generated $39,149.39 in 2021. Here you can find the breakdown of her passive income streams.

So the next time someone tells you blog writing is useless, keep Katie in mind.

Now, blog writing is one way to attract your audience and inform them. But our Gen Z friends search for content in other ways.

Video Scripts

A lot of people don’t think of video when they think of content writing. But if you’re writing video scripts, then that’s content writing.

YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are the top 3 places for video content. Then you also have webinars and blog videos.

The downside to social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok is that they get millions of uploads a day. But you need to go where your audience is most present.

While unscripted video has its time and place in your content marketing, intentional video is on the rise. That’s where video scripts come in.

Unpopular opinion: Good videos are really “good enough” because viewers are used to average video content.

However, as more people flock to video, you’ll need scripted and engaging videos to be discoverable and grow your audience.

Successful video content:

  • Has a catchy hook
  • Offers value concisely
  • Understands the audience (including their level of awareness)
  • Encourages people to take action

It’s important that you script your videos with the platform in mind though.

YouTube Video Scripts

People go to YouTube to watch clips and to learn. At this stage, I can’t think of any good reason to have unscripted YouTube videos unless you’re making a reaction video or a short.

Businesses and creators are beginning to realize that they need to script their videos if they want to grow.

Tons of people are stuck in what I call the $5 script mindset though. They invest the equivalent of $5 into their script despite pouring thousands of dollars into their recording space and their recording equipment. Then they wonder why they’re not raking in the dough.

“Hey, welcome to my channel!” is one of the most common ways to start a YouTube video. It’s also boring. Think of your YouTube videos like an in-person presentation.

Try this approach instead:

  • Engaging hook
  • Clear statement about what the video is about
  • Cohesion between sections
  • Focus on “you” (the audience)
  • Call to action
  • Table of contents so people can skip to the exact part they want to watch

Another thing people forget about when they write a YouTube video script is the visuals. Video is an audio-visual experience. This is what a script should look like. If you use the AV script format, you have one column for the visuals and one for the audio:

sample video script - copywriting vs. content writing

Social Media

Instagram

Instagram videos are a mix between informative and entertaining. Reels, Live, Stories and IGTV are the 4 types of videos you can use on this platform.

TikTok

TikTok is now for both entertainment and information. It’s a search engine. Especially for lifestyle content. And nutrition is part of lifestyle, so TikTok seems like a great place to be if you want to build an audience for your nutrition business. The catch is you need to have engaging content to stop the scroll. So you need a great hook to catch someone’s attention as they scroll through their feed.

Digital Newsletters

You can also use video within your digital newsletter for email marketing. Adding video gives your audience more ways to engage with your content.

Your newsletter counts as content writing too.

Podcast scripts

It’s important to have an outline for your podcast episodes to help create a guide or bird’s eye view of what will be happening in that episode. Also, it will help to keeps you on track and it ensures you hit all the right points. It will also help you prepare for transitions in the episode.

Why You Might Want to Be a Content Writer

Businesses need content writers.

That means there is steady demand. And who doesn’t like steady income?

It’s easy to get started.

If you’re new to content writing, here are 25 brilliant blog topics for beginners to get you started.

Why You Might Want to Hire a Content Writer

Simply put, content writing is time consuming.


So content writing helps you build an audience and authority by giving your audience the information they want. Once you have the audience, you want them to take action. You are a business after all. How do you get them to do this?

With your copy.

What is Copywriting?

People use copywriting to mean anything from writing a website to a blog post, but copywriting has a different goal from content writing.

What are Examples of Copywriting?

  • Email copywriting
  • Ad copywriting
  • Video script copywriting
  • Website copywriting
  • Sales page copywriting
  • UX copywriting

Email copywriting

Email marketing and newsletters are different. The easiest way to remember the different is to remember the purpose.

Newsletters and content emails give information and value to your readers.

Email marketing tries to get value (usually in the form of sales) from the reader.

Ad copywriting

An ad can be a static image or a short video clip, but the goal is direct sales.

Video scripts

Website copywriting

Writing digital content for web pages, product pages, blog posts, and all the other copy on a website is website copywriting. Compelling and engaging copy can keep your visitors reading and scrolling and ultimately lead them to “click” and take actions for your products and services.

Sales page copywriting

This is essentially the art of convincing people, in a non salesy way, to purchase your product or service by presenting them with information that will get them to take action.

Sales pages have one goal. That’s to sell.

UX copywriting

This is the new kid on the copywriting block. Copyhackers defines UX copywriting as, “UX copywriting, or user-experience copywriting, is the act of writing and structuring copy that moves digital users, like visitors.”

Instead of focusing just on words to sell, UX copywriting is about making the user’s whole experience easier through both words and design. This can be achieved through things like microcopy about how long something takes to read, directions on how to move through a process, or looking at where to put a button for a seamless experience.

Why You Should Become a Copywriter

If you’re persistent, you can become a copywriter.

  • This is where the money is at (easily earn 6 figures)
  • Easy to get into
  • Flexible working conditions (agency, freelance)

Why You Might Want to Hire a Copywriter

Copy is more than words on paper. It’s like having a digital sales person 24/7. But that salesperson can either be a high-performer or a flop (which costs you money).

Persuasive copy will:

  • Attract your perfect audience
  • Make you money through conversions
  • Raise brand awareness and authority
  • Save time

Unpersuasive copy:

  • Confuses (and drives people away)
  • Gives people facts and features (when they want the benefits)
  • Focuses on you, not your target audience (save that for your “about me” page)

Can you write your own copy? Absolutely. The real question is do you have the time to invest so you can write good copy. For a lot of business owners, the answer is no. Copywriting is more than words on paper, so it takes time to write well.


copywriting vs. content writing

So, to wrap things up, there are some key differences between content writing vs. copywriting. Below is a graphic to recap some of the main differences. In short, there is a fine line between these two forms of writing: content writing vs. copywriting. Here’s a really filtered down way to remember what it comes down to: content writing is all about informing, educating, or entertaining, and copywriting is all about persuading and selling.

*This article was co-written by Ame Proietti, student in The Dietitian Editor Volunteer Program and Mentorship, along with Liz Jalkiewicz, author of The Dietitian Editor blog. Note: The article was originally written in Summer 2022. Liz Jalkiewicz updated the article on 1/25/23.

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