Content Writing, Copywriting, PR: What’s the Difference?

The PR, advertising and marketing fields have seen a completely different landscape from the last decade. And as writers in these fields it’s sometimes hard to tell what type of writing we are doing.

For content writers who write mainly to engage, for example, it’s not the same to write a landing page. Writing a banner ad is definitely not the same as writing a press release.

If you are a writer that understands the difference and you do all three, you don’t have to keep reading.

But if you’re a beginning freelancer writer, or you’ve started but you still get confused at times, read on:

PR Pros

According to an article in Forbes, a PR pro’s role is to “protect, enhance or build their client’s reputations through the media.” To do this PR pros stage events, teach interviewing skills, and a big chunk of what a PR pro does involves the written word. They write mainly press releases to the media, but their role is expanding.

Today, you’ll catch PR pros blogging and managing social media campaigns. That’s because they have entered the social media landscape. Whereas before PR pros depended on journalists to communicate their messages, now, PR pros have the access to reach audiences directly using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on. Protecting, enhancing and building reputations can also be done using other channels.

Copywriters

I like CopyBlogger’s definition of copywriting: the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action. As a copywriter you’re not trying to protect, enhance or build your client’s reputation as PR pros do. Copywriting can surely lead to that. If so, great. But, that’s not the purpose. As a copywriter, you’re straight up trying to get specific action.

Some “calls to action” can be: selling a product, a service, getting people to sign up for email alerts or to raise money through a donation page. Copywriting can be used in video such as with TV or radio ads. And, although you’re not actually saying, “buy this,” you are using other persuasive language to drive that specific result.

Content Marketing Writers

Content marketers write blogs, email autoresponders, social media, newsletters to connect and engage with audiences. Freelancer.com describes a content writer as someone who “provides relevant information for products and services on a website.”

As a content writer you goal is not the PR writer’s goal which is to “protect, enhance or build their client’s reputation,” nor is it the copywriter’s goal which is to get readers to take some form of action. As a content writer, your goal is to inform, engage, and educate to build the trust necessary between customer and product/service/action. Content marketers know that without value, true connection and a sense of community, you can’t get very far with people.

Mixing It Up

If you can, why not? Do all three types of writing. Why?

It’s all connected.

I see many people who call themselves, “copywriters” do PR work and blogging. What’s important is knowing when to use each type.

There is also no doubt that prospects looking for a writer need a mixture of all three types of writing.

Be curious, ask questions, diversify your skills and know that it’s all connected.

 

Why Dating and Websites are the Same

You’re getting website visits, but no one comments, shares or subscribes to your website.

Why is that?

If visitors stumble upon your site, or are redirected there via let’s say a link on Facebook, and they  don’t dig your super awesome site, they will likely go somewhere else in search of the information they are looking for. First impressions are everything. The first impression is nearly impossible to reverse or undo.

So what do you do?

Date your readers.

Sure, this sounds off. But, if you treat your readers like you would someone you have a mad crush on, then your chances of success are high.

Here’s how to start:

1. Make your Website to Look Good.

Your website should be appealing and make a good first impression. Your website should at first glance be easy to read. It should also be visually enticing. You don’t have to have the best web design for this. You can find many inexpensive WordPress themes or some for free to get your site looking amazing.

2. Be Warm and Friendly. 

Write friendly things and find common ground with readers. The copy of your website needs to flow nicely. Use clear, concise and conversational language so that your readers can easily grasp your overall message.  Use short, strong paragraphs and abstain from jargon.

3. Be Generous. Offer something valuable to your readers. You can give free consultations in exchange for your sign ups to your newsletter. Or simply give for nothing in return.  There are endless things you can give to your readers: a cheat sheet on a topic you’re in expert in,  a free 20-minute phone conversations, a 5-day email course, a 10-page guide.

4. Follow up. 

You have a new subscriber. This person signed up to your newsletter. What’s next?

It’s important that you stay in touch. So keep in touch with a weekly email, or by simply emailing them and asking what made them sign up. From there, you can learn how to help your readers.

What I’ve discovered about growing up in the digital era is that at the end of the day, we are humans behind these machines. You have to show people love. Appreciate them. Be generous to them. Take the time. You will see a difference.