The difference between digital content creation and copywriting

Digital content creation and copywriting — it’s all the same, right?

No, they are definitely not the same. It’s not exactly the difference between an orange and an apple – more like an orange and naartjie.

For inspiring creatives who find great interest in writing, it’s important to know the differences between the two skills.

Each represents a unique set of challenges and skills to do well. Here, we pinpoint the major differences between content creation and copywriting.

What is digital content creation?

Content is anything valuable, interesting and useful a brand creates to help it connect with its target audience without selling the brand in an upfront pushy way. It’s not advertising.

Content creation is all about strategically and consistently creating and distributing content to help build up a relationship with an audience.

If this is done well, it results in better sales, improved engagement and stronger relationships. 

Content comes in a number of formats, including but not limited to:

  • Short-form text: Brief text snippets, like social media posts, comments, and mobile messages (headlines and subject lines can also count)
  • Long-form text: Longer written pieces like blog articles, research papers, or email newsletters 
  • Images: Visual content like photos, icons, diagrams, illustrations, or complex images like infographics 
  • Audio: Sounds without video, such as podcasts, songs, or audiobooks 
  • Video: Content videos, animations, and other visual clips
  • Interactive games: Engaging interactive widgets, tools or games that can run in-browser or as separate programs.
  • Chatbots: Automated programmes that can interact with users and give them useful information while creating the feeling of talking to a real person. 

Any piece of content you create will need to be predicated on a few common elements:

  • The brand personality, voice and tone
  • The audience 
  • The concept 
  • The visuals 
  • The copy 
  • The impression on the consumer 
  • How consumers respond to the content


One of the most important parts of digital content; whether it’s a simple hashtag, a video, a podcast script, or an article, is the copy. Copywriting is a skill of its own.

The purpose of any writing, including copywriting, is to persuade, inform and entertain. 

Naturally, the focus of copywriting often tends towards persuasion. Copywriters want people to buy a product, sign up for a service, or choose one brand over another. 

Before the advent of the internet and digital technology, there were only traditional copywriters. They strictly wrote print media copy for advertising promotional materials such as brochures, billboards, catalogues, newspapers and magazines.

The world communicates differently now, and so do copywriters. We now have digital copywriters. 

What do digital copywriters do?

  • Produce written copy for content. Remember content comes in a number of formats (see above).
  • Have an advantage over traditional copywriters as they have more tools at their disposal to show them how their copy is performing. 
  • Go by a few names. Content writers, content specialists or digital writers. 
  • Are expected to know Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and User Experience (UX). 

It’s important for creatives to understand the relationship and difference between content creation and copywriting. 

Content creation and copywriting are critical skills to any marketing strategy. 

In order to execute a successful strategy, businesses and brands need to create quality content that has persuasive engaging copy and a Call-To-Action. 

(FYI a Call-To-Action, also known as CTA is a marketing term used in the form of words or phrases to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale)

Unfortunately in South Africa, we are at a shortage of both – digital content creators and copywriters.  This means more opportunity for YOU!

At Red & Yellow we offer a full-time NQF level 7 Advanced Diploma in Copywriting, as well a Digital Content and Copywriting online short course. Both of these prepare you with the skills you need to be a digital content creator and copywriter in order to build strong, trusting brand-consumer relationships and drive sales.