Explained: The difference between content marketing and content writing

Written by dartera
December 17, 2021

Content marketing has been all the rage for a few years now, and if you browse through online job boards, you'll find that many SaaS, edtech, and other companies are looking for a content writer, a content marketer, a copywriter, or a content strategist, but when you open the job descriptions, it's hard to tell the difference between them.

Although content marketing has become an increasingly important part of digital marketing over the past decade, there is still some confusion when it comes to the terminology used. This can cause problems when you are trying to hire the right people for your team or divide tasks among team members.

If your job ad doesn't have the right job title, you're missing out on great candidates, and if you assign someone a task that's not part of their job role, they may not perform at their best.

In this post, we will discuss the difference between content marketing and content writing and how the tasks of content marketers differ from those of content writers.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation, publishing, and promotion of any type of content with the goal of attracting new qualified leads. It is conducted by content marketers and includes:

  • Publishing blog posts.
  • Tracking social media engagement.
  • Posting YouTube videos.
  • Publish a weekly newsletter.
  • Writing Linkedin articles.

Content marketing encompasses everything from creating a content strategy to ensuring that the content published is seen and read. It's the A to Z of everything a brand can do when using content for marketing purposes.

Content marketing can also have several positive effects. It can boost a brand's recognition, increase its authority, improve its backlink profile and organic traffic, but the ultimate goal of the content marketer is always the same: attract potential customers.

What is content writing?

Content writing includes writing engaging content as well as all the actions required to create text that is ready for publication, such as researching, sourcing images, and interviewing experts.

It is carried out by editors and can also include optimizing the content for the particular channel on which it will be published. This mainly involves optimizing blog articles for good search engine rankings, but can also mean writing a whitepaper in the right format or an ebook in an easily digestible form.

A content writer's goal is to write a great article or other high-quality content that educates, entertains, or otherwise engages the reader.

Typical examples of content writing include:

  • Blog Posts.
  • Whitepapers.
  • Books.

What about copywriting?

Copywriting is any type of text that is designed to persuade the reader to take immediate action and enter the sales process. The terms "content writing" and "copywriting" are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference.

A good content writer will often use copywriting techniques to get readers to click on the call-to-action at the end of an article, for example, but not always. Content writing can be purely informative or entertaining. Copywriting, on the other hand, is always aimed at getting people to take a certain action.

Typical examples of advertising copy are:

  • Sales pages
  • PPC ads
  • Direct mail

As for the difference between copywriting and content marketing, they are two different things, and you could see copywriting as a persuasion tool that content marketers can (and should) use.

The difference between content marketing and content writing

Considering the above definitions, the difference between content writing and content marketing is that content writing can be part of content marketing, but not the other way around. Content writing is the pure creation of written content, while content marketing includes:

  • Strategically deciding what type of written content to create and how to
  • Creation of this written content
  • Publication of the written content
  • Advertising for this written content
  • Tracking the performance of this written content

Whenever marketers use content to raise awareness and promote a brand, they are engaging in content marketing. If they are also creating written content as part of this marketing strategy, they are using content writing as part of their content marketing.

Note that you can write a piece of content without ever putting it out into the world. That's still writing content. And you can market your brand without writing any kind of content. For example, through video-only and podcast appearances.

For example, through video-only and podcast appearances.

A content marketer is someone who oversees the entire content marketing process. Depending on the size of their team, content marketers may be solely responsible for creating and executing the content marketing strategy, or they may be responsible for executing (some parts of) that strategy.

A content strategist is someone who performs market, competitor and keyword analysis to determine what types of content should be created. The term "content strategist" is most often used to describe search engine optimization experts who set the strategy for a company's blog.

A content writer creates content based on the instructions given by either the content marketer or, ideally, the content strategist. They are experts at creating content such as blog articles and often, but not always, specialize in a particular topic or industry.

Depending on the size of a company, these tasks can be performed by one and the same person. However, this is not an ideal situation, as both content creation and marketing are very time-consuming.

No great content marketing without great content writing

As we've seen, content marketing and content writing often go hand in hand. Because Google is such an important source of organic leads and social media channels are such a great way to get your brand noticed, many brands create one or more forms of written content as part of their content strategy.

However, this is a time-consuming process. For successful content marketing, you need a content strategist with knowledge of search engine optimization who can figure out exactly what type of content to create, a content writer who can write blog posts to your specifications, and a solid method to continually track and improve results.

If your team is not yet large enough to take on this task, or you are not sure how to achieve the best possible results, get in touch. At Dartera, we develop custom content strategies that help brands rank in Google, and we can do the same for you.