Copywriting and content writing are two very different things. 

And, while they’re both tied together, they require completely different approaches, skill sets, and strategies. 

That’s why, if you become a copywriter, you’re not automatically a content writer, too. Likewise, you’re not automatically a copywriter if you are a content writer. 

So, what’s the difference between copywriting and content writing? And, more importantly, which career is the best one for you?  Read Other Useful Content: How to add sitemap in blogger

What’s The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing? 

To choose the right career path, you need to have a crystal clear understanding of the difference between copywriting and content writing. 

You may have noticed, when reading through your copywriting books, that there’s little mention of blogs, social media captions, or white papers. Why? Because those deliverables are not examples of copywriting. 

They are, instead, content writing. 

You’ll find copywriting:

  • On websites
  • In marketing emails 
  • On sales/landing pages
  • In commercials 
  • In online ads 
  • In direct mail (sales letters) 

On the contrary, you’ll find content writing:

  • Blog articles
  • White papers (PDFs and resources) 
  • Social media captions
  • Case studies
  • Video scripts 

But the differences don’t solely revolve around the format.

The difference between copywriting and content writing is actually very simple:

Copywriting is written to convert. 

Content writing is written to educate, inspire, entertain, or motivate. 

What Is Conversion? 

The whole aim for any piece of copywriting is to convert. But what exactly does “conversion” mean? 

You’ll see definitions of copywriting scattered around the internet that define it as “words that sell”. 

While that’s true to a certain extent, it’s also misleading.

Because this suggests that copywriting sells right there and then, which is only appropriate for direct response copywriting.

Instead, conversion is just about getting someone to take action. This action should then place that person one step closer to making a purchase. 

So, there could be a landing page that promotes a business’s latest freebie. This landing page will consist of copywriting, despite there being no “sale”, because the product is free. 

However, once the visitor signs up for that freebie, they’re placed on an email list and sold to over time. So, that action they took to get on the email list (which was encouraged by solid copywriting) will eventually “sell.” But that wasn’t the prime aim. The aim, instead, was to convert. 

Content writing doesn’t aim to convert.

What’s The Point In Content Writing?

So, if a business owner doesn’t aim to sell or convert with content writing, what’s the point? 

The phrase “content is king” has circled the marketing world for years. And it still holds up today. 

Because content writing revolves around something far more important than sales:

Trust. 

Educating, inspiring, motivating, and entertaining the right people will win a business’s trust. With that trust comes sales, but also becoming a household name, which – for many brands – is the ultimate goal.

When this happens, the brand stands out from their competitors, they have a loyal following, and a far more engaged audience to sell to. 

Which Is More In Demand: Copywriting or Content Writing?

If you’re hoping to make your decision based on the type of writing that’s more in demand, I’m about to disappoint you. 

Because they are both as important – both as “in demand” – as each other. 

A business cannot hope to thrive without strategic, well-written copy. 

However, they also can’t scale without excellent content.  Read Other Related Content: Hostinger Black Friday Sale

Neither one reigns over the other. It’s when they work together, in tandem, that the magic happens. 

Can You Be a Copywriter And a Content Writer? 

You can be a copywriter and a content writer. There’s nothing stopping you.

However, my advice? If you’re brand new to this, try to master one before you take on another. 

Copywriting is a whole different ball game to content writing.

It’s similar to basketball and soccer. Both are sports, and both use a ball. But they’re played completely differently. 

If you’ve been either a copywriter or a content writer for some time now and you want to add services to your content writing or copywriting business, then there’s nothing preventing you from doing so.

Just make sure you understand all you need to know about both forms of writing. 

Responsibilities of a Copywriter vs Content Writer  

If you’re still struggling to decide between becoming a copywriter or a content writer, it’ll be useful to note the tasks each role requires.

A copywriter:

  • Does a lot of research (audience, market, competitor, tone of voice – the lot) 
  • Takes part in Discovery and Kick Off calls
  • Follows a brief 
  • Split tests certain components 
  • Measures data and creates a narrative from numbers 
  • Responds to feedback and provides redrafts 
  • Follows certain frameworks that have been trialed and tested (no need to reinvent the wheel!) 
  • Manages multiple projects and clients at any given time
  • Creates words that convert for websites, emails, sales/landing pages, and online ads.

A content writer:

  • Optimizes blog articles for SEO
  • Creates various articles surrounding different content pillars (or topics) 
  • Repurposes existing content 
  • Writes content with a word count appropriate to the format
  • Generally writes multiple pieces for a client under one project 
  • Must manage multiple projects and clients at any given time
  • Doesn’t need to follow a framework quite as rigorously 
  • Responds to feedback and provides redrafts/edits 
  • Writes pieces that educate, entertain, inspire, or motivate

You’ll spot that some of these responsibilities are carried over to the other, but there are distinct differences, too. 

Which Pays Better: Copywriting or Content Writing? 

If your decision hangs on which type of writing will get you more 0’s added to your bank statement, I may have to disappoint you once again. Because, as a freelance copywriter or content writer, you set your own prices. So, you’re very much in charge of how much you earn per month. 

That said, there are a few slight differences in terms of payment.

A copywriter, once they have some high-performing pieces in their copywriting portfolio, will be able to charge big bucks fairly quickly. 

However, a content writer can provide a retainer service, which is harder for copywriters. 

A retainer is when a client pays a set amount of money on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Most prefer to pay monthly.

In the world of content writing, a client would receive a set amount of deliverables, (say, for example, 4 blog articles) per month. They’ll pay for those articles at the end of every month, and they’ll be working with you on a “retainer” basis. That adds extra security, as you know they’re working with you until their contract ends. 

It’s easier to sell a retainer service to a client with content writing than it is with copywriting. The reason is because content is never ending. There isn’t a start and end date to a blog. They’ll always need more articles. 

However, once a website has been written, it very rarely needs to be changed. So, it’s slightly trickier to gain retainer clients with copywriting. 

So, in terms of income, they both level out. If you’re looking for higher invoices but less stability, copywriting is a great choice.

If stability is more important to you, then content writing might be the right match. 

Copywriting vs Content Writing

If you have a love for language, determination and drive, and you’re ready to invest in your development, you’ll make a great copywriter or content writer.  Either way, you’re about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. We writers are biased, but we’ll all agree that it’s the best job in the world.

By Liz Slyman

Over the past decade, Liz Slyman has worked as a copywriter and digital marketing executive for a multitude of companies from startups to mid-sized businesses to working as the VP of marketing for award-winning, platinum-selling artists and is now teaching copywriting courses. Leveraging an understanding of the nuance of language in marketing, Liz founded Amplihigher, a content marketing and copywriting agency, designed to connect consumers to companies in a way that results in next-level brand expansion.

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