SEO Content Writing vs. Creative Content Writing
Content writing has many roles. It persuades, informs, ignites and entertains. However, not every piece of writing can fit the mold, especially online. SEO content writing and creative content writing are sought-after skills in the modern world, but they aren’t the same thing. Some people think that a good writer can easily succeed in either field, but that’s sort of like saying a football player should automatically be good at badminton. Football players are not automatically good at badminton; their shoulders are too broad to swing the tiny rackets.
Being creative can help with SEO article writing, but there are many elements that go into generating SEO content. On the other hand, creative content writing requires a lot of thought and passion. So, what’s the difference between the two? When you do use one and not the other? Each is unique, but we’re here to tell you how both styles can enhance your writing and benefit your company.
What is SEO Content Writing?
So what is the definition of SEO content writing? SEO content writing is the art of creating engaging, readable content that ranks highly on search engines. This involves using keywords, headers and bullet points to portray valuable advice that answers search queries.
Optimization is the focus of SEO content writing. Each article, product description or social media post is uniquely written to attract users. Concise wording, careful keyword placement and attractive formatting all must reach a certain standard to start receiving big results.
Why Use SEO in Content Writing?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a key part of effective digital marketing. When users search the internet, they are looking for resources or services that fulfill their needs. Google does the work to find quality content that can answer their specific search queries.
Complex Google algorithms study website content and determine whether those articles would be a good fit or not. To help users the most, search engines look for high-quality SEO content writing. This kind of content writing is heavily based on keywords, meta content and quality writing. It provides detailed information that is easy to find and straight to the point, making it an ideal resource for curious readers.
SEO content writers have a goal in mind when they write. They don’t use fancy, flowery words or go on long tangents; they intentionally place words and format content to adhere to Google’s algorithm. Of course, quality writing plays a key, but these writers use SEO best practices to create content that shows up on search engines and can be found by potential customers.
How is SEO Content Writing Used?
Businesses will use SEO content writing strategically to generate leads and increase traffic on their websites. Because writing this kind of content is a valuable skill, many writers work with companies as SEO content writers. They can find work on their own as freelancers, or join content writing teams to learn a diverse set of marketing and writing skills. When you contract with an SEO content writing company, you immediately have access to this plethora of SEO wordsmiths.
Traditionally, SEO content writing centers around content put up on your own website as well as content you distribute on other websites. The SEO content writing for your own website would include (but is not limited to the following):
- Web pages
- Blog posts
- Product/Category Pages
- Landing Pages
Most businesses at least engage in content writing for SEO by continually adding to their blog. Writing long-form, evergreen, educational blog posts is one of the quickest ways to start ranking for keywords and driving traffic to your site. In a blog setting, you can target many different topics/keywords/queries and continually expand your reach.
For SEO content writing examples centered around distribution on other sites you’ll frequently find the following content types:
- Guest Blog Posts
- White Papers
- Press Releases
One of the primary goals of this type of SEO content writing is to get your content posted on other industry sites to get a backlink to your website as well as increase the number of shares/readers that engage with your brand. Some types of SEO content writing, like E-books, are meant primarily as a way to bring in leads directly.
What Makes Good SEO Content Writing?
As a company or influencer, how do you use SEO content writing to stand out among competitors? Implement these key aspects to distinguish your work and get noticed by readers:
- Be Authoritative. SEO content should always contain something useful to readers, but first, they need to trust your business as an expert in the field. This is done by backing up your data, providing honest opinions without trying to sell something and writing with a confident tone and voice.
- Stay Relevant. You won’t pick up any long-lasting traffic without being relevant. Pick and choose wisely the topics you use and be sure to connect them with your industry or business. Try to keep your content evergreen, meaning that your topic will be relevant for years to come. To find the best content ideas, many businesses gather data on both their target audiences and trending topics.
- Answer Questions. SEO content writing is all about adapting to the needs of readers. Adjust your content to answer search queries, and stick to those questions the whole way through.
- Create Comprehensible Content. Keywords are a vital way to get on Google’s radar, but don’t let them overwhelm the content. Keyword stuffing is never a good idea. Write articles that are engaging, easy to follow and focus on your topic.
There’s a lot more to SEO content writing, but generally, this kind of content is intentional, concise and strategic. Now let’s move on to a different kind of writing.
What is Creative Content Writing?
Creative content writing covers a range of writing styles that focus on imagination and originality. The purpose of creative content is to express emotions, thoughts or ideas through description and literary devices. A few common forms of creative writing include poetry, fiction, songs and plays. This kind of content can be fiction or non-fiction, depending on the story the writer creates.
More and more creative writing is being published through blogging platforms and social media. Similarly, more readers are using ebooks versus standard printed books than ever before.
Why Engage in Creative Writing?
Although SEO content writing is developed for readers, creative content writing is created simply for the enjoyment of readers. There’s no selling involved, and the writing is more focused on persuasion and rhetoric. Like any good form of entertainment, it is designed and developed to immerse the audience. Creative writing can be made purely for entertainment, or it can enforce a message or ideal. Either way, writers can use their personality to form works of art that tug on the heartstrings of their readers.
Engaging content is something that many people search for. According to WordPress, over 409 million people look at WordPress content every month. As readership grows, so do the blogs. Users are now creating over 70 million new posts each month.
What Makes Good Creative Writing?
One of the best parts of creative writing is that there is a lot of freedom in writing than there is for SEO content writing. There are multiple ways to create quality content that touches readers. Some writers chose to use similes, metaphors and symbolism to portray certain ideas while others use imagery and literal writing.
Creative writing may be one of the easiest types of content to start creating. Although more experienced writers tend to write more compelling content, creative writing is mostly based on your own creativity and individuality. That being said, here are a few things that make creative writing exceptional:
- Good Ideas. Although the possibilities seem endless, good ideas can make the difference in creative writing. Be sure that whatever you create focuses on complete ideas and doesn’t leave the readers hanging in the wrong way.
- Story Fluency. No matter what you write about, the sentences and topic need to flow freely. Sentence fluency helps readers stay immersed while reading without getting confused or tripped up with poor writing.
- Compelling Writing. The best content is the type that catches the reader’s attention. Use your personality to enhance what you write, and make it jump out of the page.
There are thousands of directions you can take with your writing, and with enough originality and talent, your story can become popular among readers. If you’re planning on becoming the next J. K. Rowling, creative writing is the way to go.
How Is Creative Writing Used?
The most popular career path for creative content writers is to become a published author. This can take a lot of work, especially if you’ve never published a book before. However, the skills a creative writer gains can be useful in other careers such as journalism and content writing. Talented creative writers can find a place in the SEO content writing world. They can combine creative skills with strategic writing to create powerful content that rises above mediocre work.
The Differences Between SEO Content Writing and Creative Content Writing
At first glance, these two styles of writing seem very alike. Although they have similarities, there are some stark differences between the two. Perhaps one of the biggest differences is the reason why content is being written. A writer’s intention can completely change the type of writing.
We can explain this by comparing writing once again to sports. As a football player, your goal is to get a touchdown. This includes tackling, passing and throwing the ball towards the end zone. Ultimately, you want to get enough touchdowns to beat the other team and win the game.
On the other hand, if you’re playing badminton, you’re not going to try to score a touchdown. Your goal is to swing the racket and get the shuttlecock over the net (comment below if you knew what a shuttlecock was). Although both games are exciting and competitive, you have different ways of winning. To go further, football players will be using different strategies than badminton players. Both tactics work effectively in their respective games but aren’t really interchangeable.
Why the Differences Matter
The same goes for SEO content writing and creative content writing. SEO writing is mainly focused on marketing to potential leads. How do you reach customers? You use content that is concise, informative and persuasive. You use keywords and metadata to boost your google rankings, and you use every facet of digital advertising to score a marketing touchdown.
Creative content writing is created for different reasons. Creative writers capture the art of writing. They inspire, inform and explore literary devices that have been used for centuries. Creative writing doesn’t put a cap on the descriptions and imagery, and it doesn’t always have a purpose besides entertainment.
So when reading a piece of content, can you tell the difference? Here are three of the biggest differences you can identify when studying the two styles of writing.
1. Word Usage
Every good writer should have a collection of synonyms. When writers don’t know how to use synonyms, their writing can sound dull. But with SEO content writing, masterfully utilizing interchangeable words is vital. It’s not just that you need to be able to vary your sentences and sound professional, but you also have to limit the number of times you use certain words.
To illustrate this point, let’s compare a short story about a loan shark to a 300-word article with the keyword “loan.” The short story could have a sentence that reads, “When Lucy the Loan Shark called about a loan that was past due, she always made sure Loan Me a Dime was playing in the background.” Not the best phrasing, but passable. In the SEO article, that sentence is murder. You’ve exhausted your use of “loan” in just 26 words, and the keyword spacing is ghastly. If you don’t want the client asking for a rewrite, you’ll need to do some serious synonymizing.
2. Point of View
Part of the appeal of creative writing is sharing your own thoughts and opinions. If you have a strong opinion on a controversial topic and want the world to know, you may write a few rage-filled articles sharing your opinion. When writing a technical article that’s meant to drive traffic to a certain site, your aversion to this topic needs to be left out of your work. SEO content writers almost always have to avoid writing negative content, so it’s important that you’re able to set personal biases aside.
If you’re writing specifically for a client’s website or blog, then you’ll need to purposely take the point of view of the client you’re writing for. The ability to mimic a tone and voice and use verbiage and vocabulary the company would use is crucial in creating a congruent brand message throughout. There also is some research required in understanding products, target consumers and even competitors of the client you’re ghostwriting for. SEO content writing requires a lot of research for both topic and style.
3. Specific Styling
A lot of factors play into the style of an SEO article. Different companies want different things, so you have to know what’s acceptable when it comes to format and wording. You might love using italics to stress words, or maybe you feel that a numbered list is the best way to achieve the following:
- Numerical Shenanigans
Unfortunately, these elements have to be avoided in some articles. You may need to use your creative skills to find another way to get your point across. Your client’s style guide always has the final say, so you might have to kill some of your darlings.
The Similarities Between SEO Content Writing and Creative Content Writing
Although there may be some stark differences between the styles, combining the skills of SEO content writing and creative content writing can amp your writing to the next level. Are they really so different from each other? Here are three strengths that these two writing styles share.
1. Good Quality Writing
Whether you publish creative writing or SEO content, your writing must be of high quality to receive recognition and admiration from readers. This means grammar and format need to be neat and tidy, with the exception of certain styles of poetry. When readers catch several of your grammar mistakes and struggle to interpret the format, they’ll bounce from your website in less than a minute.
Along with good grammar, readability is important to both styles. How well can a reader follow your writing structure and understand the information you present? Both SEO content writers and creative content writers need to keep in mind the audience they are targeting. If your content contains college-level words and a professional tone, the middle school students you’re catering to won’t be interested in what you say, even if it’s about how to create trending Tik-Tok videos.
Both types of writers should take their target market into consideration while writing. Word choice, certain themes and level of professionalism are all affected by the people receiving the content. Readability may be one of the biggest factors in how people react to your content, especially for SEO content writing.
2. Engaging to Readers
SEO and creative content are aimed at hooking readers. Google tries to evaluate data the same way a reader would, making the need for reader engagement even more important in content. Your search rank is partially dependent on how well visitors are receiving your post. Is it beneficial to them? Do they share it with friends, comment below or link back to it? These are all signs of engagement in the digital world, and engagement means traffic.
For creative content writers, a story needs to be loved by the audience. This requires a lot of hard work, and many writers take extra measures to spread awareness of their content, such as advertising, book signings or social media marketing. If creative writing is posted online, SEO comes into play. You need readers to find your content, and this can be done by optimizing your website and ranking for keywords.
Both styles have a fundamental need for engagement and involvement. The central reason why content is created is so that it can reach potential readers and benefit them. These practices aim to be interesting and appealing.
3. Advocates Writing
In a world where technology is uprooting traditional libraries and videos are being chosen over literature, SEO content writing and creative content writing show the power of words. Each serves its purpose in compelling readers and achieving goals. SEO content writing is a priceless asset to any marketing plan because of the traffic it generates and the power it adds to any website. Even social media uses the power of content marketing to reach users.
Creative content writing has always done its job well. Stories can make readers cry, laugh, think and discover. They can also bring across points and raise questions about current issues. The internet is chock-full of creative writing from people of all backgrounds and talents. And now, more and more creative devices are used in journalism, marketing and lifestyle writing.
The Future of SEO Content Writing and Creative Content Writing
We’ve established that SEO content writing and creative content writing are two completely different sports. One is used strategically, the other more creatively. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use skills from both to create hybrid content that soars over the heads of competitors. The tactics for football and badminton are different, but what if you combined the agility that one gains from swinging a racket with the speed and power of a football player? You’re not necessarily going to play harder, but rather play smarter.
The same goes for content writing. Although each style of writing has its respective place in the world, it’s getting harder and harder to deny the benefits of both. As marketing continues to evolve, writing is becoming more fluid and interesting to read. Creative content writers are starting to optimize their work and use SEO best practices to promote work online. SEO content writers are creating better content by using creative techniques.
SEO Content Writing vs. Creative Writing: Use Them Both!
The world is changing, and so is the way we see content. Creative writing and SEO content writing are two very different beasts. Nevertheless, learning how to write both can absolutely make you a more competent writer. Marketing strategy and effective storytelling have never worked hand in hand better than they do today.
Looking for SEO content writers who incorporate creativity and quality into their writing? Check out our content shop and learn more about how we can help you.