Here you are. What are you reading right now? This online post, formatted as a general informative article, what is it technically? Is it an article, a blog, or a web page? New writers often try to figure out the aspects of differences between copy-writing and content creation. You can find detailed explanations below, but here is a brief one-liner to start. Essentially, content writing refers to a general aspect of the SEO dynamics.
A basic idea about content writing
There is a lot to it, but you can easily understand content writing as the entire gamut of written words on the internet. It consists of articles, blogs, web page content, press releases, research papers, e-books, whitepapers, video transcriptions, classifieds, and news items. You can call copywriting as a specific exercise in the general aspects of content development.
Handwritten by professionals, and not generated by artificially intelligent software, these textual communications serve the primary purpose of connecting with the audience in a positive manner. (As a matter of fact, such software exists but is a strict no-no if you want to be a professional SEO writer. Not only is it a matter of ethics, but also is an outright forbidden practice according to search engines algorithm.) Quite obviously, unless you find it helpful, you would not be reading it, or be paying attention to the suggestions therein!
What is copywriting then?
Search Engine Optimization is a vast topic. However, put simply, it defines a set of evolving methods designed to get a top rank on the preferred search engine, which is Google mostly. These ‘methods’fall into three broad categories, namely developing textual content, website designing, and site promotions. One can collectively call these as ‘optimization’, being at par with the set of quality guidelines from search engines that you can call as ‘algorithm’. Developed on a basic foundation of readability and digital good practices (such as no plagiarism, no repetition, or ‘link farming’), the algorithm constantly evolves organically with deeper and richer participation of people with the internet.
Among the various aspects of this, keyword optimization is a vital thing. It means the incorporation of certain designated words or phrases (that define the nature of search queries) into the body of the article. They serve the purpose of digitally connecting with the visitor when that person would type that particular ‘keyword’ in the search box. For example, take this post. It intends to tell you the whatnot’s and the things to remember about professionally writing online. You liked it up to here, and expect more information from it.
This is general informative content, capable of holding your attention span. It is a blog post, meant to share helpful information. If this had been more specific, and digital marketing oriented, the format and tone of it would have been subtly different. Despite the fact that ‘content writing’ and ‘article writing’ are key-phrases (because people use them to search information about these topics via the search engine), yet it should be more specific to get this format to qualify as copywriting.
Think of organic incorporation of phrases such as ‘copywriting and content writing difference’. You get the idea. In addition, the tone of copywriting is more curt and precise. General blog posts such as this one reach out in a conversational and less formal tone.
It is necessary to understand that the boundaries separating content writing and copywriting are blurry. The latter is only a specific expression of the former, which encapsulates everything that the internet offers to readers. In the professional field, clients typically do not separate between the two while providing the instructions on developing a written piece, unless it has to be something very specific. For example, a key difference between web content and an article is that the former can sport a First-Person tone. The latter has to be general, written typically in the Second Person. Web content refers to the first things you read when you reach a website. You would find the use of ‘I’, ‘We’, or ‘Us’. Whereas in this post, you do not find the writer addressing you in anything else except just ‘YOU’.
An article or a blog post is generally longer than a web page, to maintain the parity with the brief attention span of a reader checking out a site. Certain websites, especially those in the e-commerce niche require very precise marketing-oriented texts, with keyword optimization. Those qualify as web-page copywriting. Remember that it is still content writing, whatever you write anywhere on the internet.
Do’s and Don’ts
Here are a set of general guidelines for content development.
Do not withhold helpful information when you can share it with the world. It is a different matter if you yourself do not have a clear idea about a particular topic. Even then, the internet is a vast archive of information on practically anything. Take some time to do your research, but learn to sharpen your instincts on how to separate the useful from the not-so-useful.
Do not use long sentences unless you cannot avoid them. It tends to become complex and difficult to understand, causing the reader to lose interest. A new writer may not even realize at first that the sentence is getting long. After you write anything, sit back and look it again from the perspective of an outsider. With time, it becomes habitual.
Maintain proper flow of thoughts. Take this post for instance. It starts with a brief general introduction, clarifies the topic subsequently, mentions the specific issues regarding it, and then provides a point-by-point clarification. The main idea is to achieve clarity through the write-up in such a way that you can pass it over to the reader, apparently effortlessly.
Hopefully, a lot of it is clear. It should take some practice and practical experience in the field. In the beginning, things can be somewhat difficult to understand, but soon you get your mind across it. Writing is an engrossing activity and is a source of great creative delight. One should always try to achieve that mental satisfaction of writing something really well.