Content Writing vs. SEO Writing vs. Copywriting Jobs: What’s the Difference?

You know you want to be a writer because you are an effective communicator who can explain complex ideas and bring text to life. You also know you want to be a part of a marketing team that can reach a target audience and present that audience with products and services to address their pain points. On the surface, it may seem as though you know the exact career path you would like to pursue. However, based on our experience in creative staffing, there are actually many options for you to consider before getting into this line of work.

When considering writing for a marketing team, you must decide whether you want to look into content writing, SEO writing, or copywriting jobs. While each of these titles may vary depending on the size and needs of a company, these are the titles that will be used throughout this guide for the sake of explaining all of the key differences between them.

Here is what you need to know about each role before deciding on the one you want to pursue:

“Content writing is an all-encompassing term.”

Content writer job

To truly understand the differences between these three types of writing, it must first be understood that content writing is an all-encompassing term. It covers all kinds of writing for marketing purposes, including both SEO and copywriting. Marketing Land defines content writing as using language tailored to a specific audience to address problems, answer questions, and inspire consumers to use your product or service. This can include all types of avenues, from blog posts to Web copy to mailed brochures.

“The struggle many face with online marketing is a misguided impulse to put various tactics into separate boxes instead of seeing each as an aspect of one overarching strategic process,” Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media, and editor-in-chief of Entreproducer, wrote in Marketing Land. “To this day, I see people referring to content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization as three different things — as if each is a tactic that can get you there alone.”

Content writing includes all of these kinds of writing and works across a variety of communications teams, including professionals in advertising, marketing, editorial, and sales departments. Altman Media listed different content types and explained where each writing is typically featured. Because content marketing is all-compassing, the following list combines the types of media that call for some kind of marketing copy.

Where content writing appears:

  • Blogs
  • White papers
  • Social media posts
  • Press releases
  • Videos
  • Web page content
  • Email blasts
  • Direct mail
  • PPC advertisements
  • Other kinds of Internet advertisements
  • Radio advertisements
  • Taglines and headlines
  • Web page content
  • Catalogs and pamphlets
  • Billboards
  • Brochures
  • Sales letters
  • Television or radio commercial scripts.
Content Writing vs. SEO Writing vs. Copywriting Jobs: What's the Difference?
SEO writing involves grabbing the attention of search engines.

SEO writer job

SEO writing can be defined as crafting content, with specific keywords in mind, in a way that will increase your visibility in search engines. Those in search of marketing jobs already know the importance of using keywords throughout an article so their content ranks higher in search results. SEO writers are aware of the importance of meta descriptions, tailoring the description to include the appropriate keywords and keeping the character count within a specific range. By doing so, Google and other search engines are better equipped to recognize their brand as credible and relevant to users.  Another kind of content writer, however, may not possess these skills.

Before an SEO writer begins crafting a blog post or white paper, he or she may first consult with a marketer who has performed research on popular search terms surrounding the company’s service or product. Doing so will not only ensure high placement in search rankings, but it will also provide insight into what kinds of topics the writer can cover. For example, if phrases like “digital marketer description” and “search marketer responsibilities” are popular search terms, an SEO writer might decide to write an article about the differences between the two job duties. Throughout the piece, both search terms can be used to reinforce to search engines that this piece will answer users’ questions and fulfill their needs, which in turn will theoretically cause it to rank highly.

Where SEO writing appears, according to Altman Media:

  • Blogs
  • White papers
  • Social media posts
  • Press releases
  • Videos
  • Web page content.

Copywriter job

Copywriting is slightly different from SEO writing, and focuses mainly on content used for advertising purposes. It can be defined as content used to pitch your brand and sell a product or service. While other types of content writing like blog posts and white papers focus on delivering information to users, copywriting is more of a punchy sales tactic that appeals to consumers’ emotions and pain points. The jingle you hear on the radio or in commercials that you have trouble getting out of your head is an example of copywriting at its finest. The punchy copy you read in a brochure is another example of copywriting.

“Good copywriting gets consumers to trust your brand.”

Search Engine Journal explained that good copywriting involves researching your audience and getting them to trust your brand. When crafting this type of content, writers should use direct, simple verbiage and engaging headlines.

One way to simplify the different kinds of writing even further is to think of it this way: SEO writing requires grabbing the attention of a search engine, copywriting involves using content to attract consumers, and content writing refers to both of them.

Where copywriting appears, according to Altman Media:

  • Email blasts
  • Direct mail
  • PPC advertisements
  • Other kinds of Internet advertisements
  • Radio advertisements
  • Taglines and headlines
  • Web page content
  • Catalogs and pamphlets
  • Billboards
  • Brochures
  • Sales letters
  • Television or radio commercial scripts.

Contract and Direct Hire job openings are updated daily.

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