Content Marketing

Content Marketing vs Content Writing: Key Differences

content marketing

There is no denying the pivotal role content plays when it comes to marketing your business today. In fact, 90 percent of marketers who used content marketing in 2021 plan to invest the same amount this year. 

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A lot of people use the terms “content writing” and “content marketing” interchangeably. Although both terms are connected, they are not the same, and it is important to understand this. 

While content writing can be a part of content marketing, the latter covers a much broader scope of content types, as well as a wider strategy. 

With that being said, below, we will explain the key differences between content marketing and content writing so you can get a better understanding. This should help you to understand how to use both content marketing and writing in the most effective manner for your business. 

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a full suite of services provided by a content marketing business. There are specialist content marketing agencies available based on the type of business you run, for example, you could hire a SaaS content marketing agency or a healthcare content marketing firm. 

Content marketing is the activity of planning, creating, and distributing useful information, with the purpose of acquiring a clearly-defined audience. Content is used as a marketing tool, yet this is in a subtle and non-promotional manner.

Depending on the nature of your company, the preferences of your audience, and the audience touchpoints, a mixture of audio, written, and visual content can be used across social media, email, organic search, and paid search to drive your consumers from the awareness stage to the final action stages. 

Some of the different examples of content marketing include:

  • Writing LinkedIn articles
  • Running a weekly newsletter
  • Posting videos on YouTube
  • Tracking social media engagement
  • Publishing blog posts 

Content marketing is all about providing free insights and information for your audience so that they feel empowered and compelled to make the most of the services and products you provide. 

It is the A to Z of anything a brand can do when it comes to creating and using content for marketing purposes. 

There can be a number of positive outcomes that come from content marketing. It can build organic traffic, improve a brand’s backlink profile, grow brand authority, build brand recognition, and ultimately, attract new customers. 

What is content writing?

Content writing refers to the process of creating written content that supports all of your content marketing goals. 

Examples of content writing include:

  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Blog posts 

Not only does this include writing engaging content but all of the actions needed to deliver text that is ready to publish, for example, interviewing experts, sourcing images, and conducting research. 

The objective of a content writer is to generate high-quality, valuable content that can be used by the content marketer in their content marketing strategy.

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Therefore, content writing depends on content marketing. A writer is only able to create strategic content once the content marketing strategy has been laid out. 

Clarifying the difference between content writing and content marketing 

When you consider the information provided, the difference between content marketing and content writing is that content writing can be a part of content marketing, yet content marketing cannot be a part of content writing.

Content writing is purely written content creation. However, content marketing can include many different elements, such as:

  • Tracking the performance of written content
  • Promoting written content
  • Publishing written content
  • Creating written content
  • Strategically determining what sort of written content should be created and how to do it

Whenever a marketer uses content for generating awareness and promoting a brand, they are carrying out content marketing. If they also create written content as part of their marketing efforts, then they are using content writing as part of their content marketing. 

It is important to point out that you can write a piece of content without ever sharing it with anyone else. This is still content writing. On the flip side, you can market a brand without ever putting pen to paper and writing content, for example, by using podcast appearances and videos.

Main areas where content writing and content marketing differ

To help you get a better understanding of the difference between content marketing and content writing, let’s separate the differences into categories. 


  • Content writing – The strategy side of things for content writing includes crafting engaging content, which means understanding the audience so you can cater to their needs and adapting the style of your content to suit the purpose.
  • Content marketing – There are a number of different strategies covered when it comes to content marketing. Examples include creating blogs, social media marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and much more. It is all about putting together the perfect strategy, from start to finish, in terms of engaging new customers and turning them into repeat customers. 


  • Content writing – Content writing should not be overly time-consuming if the writer is experienced. The writer needs to have good research skills and an exceptional command of the English language. If this is the case, getting a piece of content ready should not be overly time-consuming. 
  • Content marketing – Content marketing is more of a time-consuming process. Not only does a piece of content need to be well-researched and expertly put together but it also needs to be optimized for search engine result pages. Furthermore, a lot of time and effort is put into the strategy side of things before the content is even created. From using automation tools to determining the social media strategy for the content, there are many more elements that are included in content marketing when compared with content writing. 

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

  • Content writing – Some of the main KPIs for content writing include achieving content that is free of errors, content style, the number of articles, pages, or words, and no plagiarism.
  • Content marketing – Some of the main KPIs for content marketing include search engine ranking, SEO-friendliness, page vows, shares, comments, likes, and the number of email subscribers. 

The category

  • Content writing – There are a number of different categories that fall under content writing, including infomercials, landing pages, sales pages, and direct mail. By posting content on websites and other platforms, you can persuade your audience toward your service or product in a subtle yet powerful manner. 
  • Content marketing – Content marketing can include writing blog posts and articles but it is not limited to this. It can also cover email marketing, podcasts, videos, and infographics. Therefore, not every content writer is able to become a content marketer, s other skills are needed. This is why content marketing agencies tend to include a range of different people who can provide their expertise for different elements of the campaign. 

The goal

  • Content writing – The objective here is to inform, entertain, and engage your audience.
  • Content marketing – The goal here is similar, i.e. to engage and educate your audience. Ultimately, it is about reaching more people online, encouraging new customers, and solidifying existing relationships. 

Bringing content writing and content marketing together 

Content writing and content marketing done correctly mean they should be done together. So long as you comprehend the distinct purpose of each, which you should now, you will have no issue combining forces.

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These services are very much like strawberries and cream. While they taste incredible on their own, they are even better when they are combined. 

After all, you can hire a content marketing company to provide you with a solid and interesting piece of original content. However, if you do not have a compelling headline, you are not giving your audience a reason to click on the piece in the first place. This is where content writers really show their worth.

On the other hand, if your content purely reads just like an ad, it is not going to be enjoyable for the reader. A content marketing service should ensure digestible and valuable content. 

Content marketing and content writing services work together in harmony. When this happens, you will end up with a piece of content that delivers value for the reader while also converting them into customers.

Final words on content marketing vs content writing

As you can see, there are some clear differences between content marketing and content writing. Although a lot of people have a tendency to use these terms interchangeably, they are not the same. 

While content writing can be a part of content marketing, it cannot work the other way around. Also, you do not necessarily need content writing to be part of your content marketing strategy, although it is typically wise to do so.

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Pasquale Mellone

Pasquale is Founder at, a H2H marketing agency based in Dublin, Ireland, and owner at print-on-demand ecommerce Pasquale has worked in Digital Marketing and Account Management since 2004. He currently lives in Dublin with his wife, stepdaughter and cat.