With the onset of the pandemic, the need for effective and meaningful digital communication has only increased, making it more important than ever before for brands to understand how to connect with their audience through timely, relevant, and well-crafted content.
Copywriting, content writing, and UX writing are three different forms of digital writing that can help brands establish and maintain a connection with their audience at every stage of the buyer’s journey. However, while the roles they play are related, they are not the same.
Understanding the difference between these unique skillsets is crucial for organizations who wish to build brand awareness and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
What is Copywriting?
Copywriting is a form of writing that aims to create a sense of urgency and evoke a response by efficiently communicating the value or benefit of a product or service. In other words, the purpose of copywriting is to sell.
Copywriting is influential in nature. It’s often short, creative, and memorable. Copywriters can say in ten words what it takes others to say in 50.
For example, several years ago, Ricola cough drops ran an ad campaign about how a misplaced cough could completely alter the meaning of a sentence. Here is an example of one of their ads.
Ad copy: She’s (cough) just a friend.
Tagline: Make sure that good news sounds like good news.
With this simple, yet witty messaging, Ricola was able to address the pain points of their audience in a memorable way, while seamlessly pointing to their product as the solution.
For as long as brands have been trying to sell products, copywriters have been crafting persuasive messaging to influence decision-making. And with the explosive growth of the digital age, the need for great copy has only increased.
What is Content Writing?
If copywriting is a sprint, content writing is a marathon.
Content writing is an ongoing strategic initiative to convert readers to customers.
Unlike copywriting, the main goal of content isn’t to sell (at least, not initially). The goal of content writing is to inform. Content writers seek to answer a specific question or solve a unique problem for their audience. Their mission is to build a relationship rooted in trust, laying the foundation for future sales.
Here are some examples of content marketing blog post titles that effectively promote the value of article to the reader.
- “Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads (And Why You Shouldn’t Either)”
- “9 Marketing Mistakes That Make You Look Like a Rookie”
- “Responsive vs. Adaptive Web Design, Which is Best for You?”
And here is an example of a paragraph from a Concentrix Catalyst contact marketing blog post explaining the secure technology behind contactless payments:
Despite the lack of privacy, contactless payment platforms are more secure than alternative forms of payment due to their method of transaction. Banks use a technique called near-field communication (NFC) to process payments: a customer’s card sends the vendor’s reader a one-time code with information that doesn’t actually reveal the customer’s personal details. These codes are temporary and change with every subsequent purchase from the vendor.
–Fast-tracking contactless payments, Concentrix Catalyst Insights blog, 2020
In addition to being skilled writers, content writers also need exceptional interviewing skills, as they are often not the experts in the field they’re writing about. Writing a piece of content may involve several thought leaders or subject matter experts. The content writer’s job is to funnel the knowledge from these individuals into something helpful, relatable, and discoverable to their audience.
Another important element of content writing is search engine optimization (SEO). A good content writer will understand how the audience is searching for solutions online and ensure specific keywords and phrases are integrated into the content to help it to rank higher in search engines, which in turn will boost traffic and ultimately increase leads.
What is UX Writing?
While copywriting is meant to sell, and content writing is meant to inform, the purpose of UX (or user experience) writing is to guide.
With millions of digital tools and experiences quite literally at our fingertips, it’s important to have clear instructions and guidance as to how to best utilize these products, ensuring users get the most value out of them. Enter, UX writers.
UX writing (sometimes referred to as UX copywriting) is meant to guide the user through the experience of interacting with a digital product. When done well, UX writing helps a user navigate a new software program or platform and understand how to use it. These digital experiences include desktop, mobile, and native apps, as well as games, smart devices, AI, and more.
Here is a great example of UX writing in action from Slack:
“Want to skip all the typing?
We can email you a magic sign-in link that adds all your workspaces at once!”
Button text: Email me a magic link
Secondary button text: I’ll sign in manually
Not only does the copy tell the user exactly what they can expect by taking the next steps, it also uses a clear, concise, and conversational tone.
UX writers must write in a way that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. An app may be impeccably built and designed, but unless the user understands how to use it, it will be unsuccessful.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Most organizations tend to take a one-size-fits-all approach to digital writing, failing to ensure the right people are in place to influence, inform, and guide their target audience.
By gaining a better understanding of the unique role copywriting, content writing, and UX writing play in the digital experience, brands will be better positioned to provide real value to their audience, setting the stage for lasting relationships and continual growth.
Contact us to learn more about creating consistent, clear and compelling digital experiences at scale.
Content Strategy Consultant