What is content writing?

On Point writer Holly assesses the differences between content writing and copywriting.

In 1996 Bill Gates coined the phrase ‘content is king’ in an essay he wrote about the significance that online content will have for companies in the future. More than 25 years on, content – and specifically content writing – is proving itself to be an essential tool to help businesses of all sizes engage with their dream customers.

But what exactly is content writing, and what role should it play in your marketing strategy?

In this article, we’ll explain what content writing is and the benefits it can have for your business. We’ll also explain the different between content writing and copywriting: two marketing techniques which are often confused but serve distinct purposes.

Copywriting vs content writing

Really, content writing can be thought of as a sub category of copywriting. While generally the role of copywriting is to persuade and sell to your target audience, content writing takes a step back – the focus is to educate, entertain and build trust, to create a platform from which to then sell and persuade.

For example, a Facebook advert for a fruit smoothie with copy (aka text) that directly encourages people to buy the product is an example of pure copywriting. However, a blog post created by the same company that explains the benefits of having a healthy, balanced diet is an example of content writing. While both examples seek to connect with the audience, the ad copy does this through persuasion and the blog post does it by sharing information that is likely be of interest to the reader.

The idea is that great content writing will get the attention of your audience and build your credibility as a trusted source of information. Then, when the time is right to make a purchase, people are likely to choose your product.

Different types of content writing and their purpose

Perhaps the best way to explore content writing is by looking at a few different types of content and how it can be used to engage an audience. Let’s look at some examples below:

Blogs are one of the most common forms of content writing, and they can be a great way to connect with your audience by providing useful and engaging information about relevant topics. Although the main focus of the blog is not to explicitly promote your product or service, you can do so subtly by presenting your business as an authoritative, expert voice in the industry.

Blogs are often optimised for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) purposes to make your page show up higher in the rankings on Google, making it easier for people to find your website. Among other techniques, SEO involves adding certain keywords to written content to match what people type in the search bar when looking for a product like yours.

White papers
A white paper is a more in-depth piece of content writing than a blog, and can be thought of as an informative and authoritative document that aims to educate potential customers about a relevant topic. White papers are often presented as PDFs, which are made available for people to download and read – often after they submit their email or contact details.

While white papers focus on a single issue, eBooks usually cover a much broader area. They are often split into chapters, and they can provide lots of value and information for your audience. Producing an eBook requires considerable time and effort, but it can help to position your business as an authoritative and knowledgeable voice within your industry.

Social media posts
Social media content can be a great way to connect with your target audience and increase your company’s visibility. You’ll need to do some research to find out which social media platforms are best suited to your purposes and what type of content is most effective, but if you get it right then social media content can help you to increase audience engagement and interest in your product.

Choosing the right approach for your business

Of course, the list above is not exhaustive and there are many more types of content writing out there. From website copy to how-to guides, email newsletters and more, there are many opportunities to provide value to your dream customers.

However, not all of these methods will suit your business – and it’s also extremely unlikely that you’ll have the time or resources to try all of them! Our advice is to think carefully about your target audience and the kind of content that will engage them most.

For example, a B2B market research company may decide to focus on producing quarterly white papers on the latest market research trends, while it might be more suitable for a recruitment agency to produce blogs and LinkedIn posts on topics like how to create a winning CV.

Using content to generate leads

As well as helping you to build your reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy voice in your industry, content writing can also help you to generate leads more actively. Here are a couple of our favourite examples of how to do this:

  • Include a call to action within each piece of content: A simple sentence at the end of a blog post reminding people that your business is perfectly positioned to help solve their problem will encourage them to get in touch. Remember to add a link to your contact page.
  • Create gated content: This type of content requires the reader to provide some information (usually an email address) before they can access the content. You can then use this data to contact them directly.

Need help creating engaging content?

Content writing can be a great investment in your business that will help you to gain visibility, generate leads and position yourself as an expert within your industry.

If you’d like to discuss a content marketing strategy or learn more about how On Point Copywriting’s team of expert writers can help your business, contact us today for a friendly and informal chat.

Written by Holly.

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Huw Bendon

Huw founded On Point Copywriting and leads the team, allocating the resources you need to achieve your goals. He has been copywriting since 2003 on both the client and agency side. Huw gets involved with all aspects of our service delivery with a particular focus on the planning and quality assurance stages.