web writing versus copywriting

Web Writing Versus Copywriting: What’s the Difference?

A couple of months ago, I had lunch with someone who is new to marketing, and she wanted to run a few projects by me that she’s working on. Is there a better way to do this? How should I manage this? Which app or dashboard do you prefer to do X? That kind of stuff.

Anyway, I mentioned in passing that web writing and copywriting are completely different beasts, and she asked why. That kind of caught me off guard – I had never explained the difference out loud before. In fact, I hadn’t even really thought about it, because I just know they’re different.

In recent conversations, I’ve found that most people don’t know either, which is understandable. I mean, if it’s not your area of expertise, of course you don’t know! However, this lack of knowledge can be dangerous. You can’t just write and write and write and then throw words up on your website. That’s like taking all the food that is in your fridge, freezer, and pantry, and combining it into a meal. Do you want to eat that? Because I don’t!

Here’s a look at web writing versus copywriting, starting with the latter:

Copywriting is general marketing writing

Copywriting is about creating marketing content that is useful and relevant for the target market. This covers a pretty wide range of content – blog posts and articles, social media posts, direct mail, email marketing, print and social ads, ebooks, white papers, case studies.

Why does working with a copywriter matter?

One: Succinctness and clarity. We don’t ramble. We get right to the point, expand on it further, and then wrap it up at the end.

Two: We paid attention in English class. We understand grammar and punctuation rules, we have a large vocabulary, and we can easily string concepts together.

Three: General marketing knowledge. We have a working knowledge of branding, marketing, social media, and search engine optimization – and you need that if your content is going to work for you.

Four: We enjoy it. If you hate writing, it will show. If you love it, it will show.

Web writing is very technical

Web writing is specifically for websites. It combines knowledge of website design, development, branding, marketing, social media, search engine optimization, the client’s target market, the client’s specific brand, psychology, and the overall user experience to ensure that visitors to your website find content that is relevant to them – quickly.

This might go without saying, but it’s also a specific skill that not all copywriters have.

Why does working with a web writer matter?

One: Your website is your brand online. You have one chance to make a good first impression, and if you don’t, well, there are plenty of fish in the sea!

Two: Web writing follows a very specific formula, and it combines both art and science (see above for the laundry list of skills it requires).

Does that make sense? Great! Now tell me: What do you love most about your website, whether it’s content, design, or something else?

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