I write for a living—so the difference between copywriting and content writing is obvious to me (I’ve done both for many years). But—understandably!—it isn’t to most…
I always see these terms being used interchangeably and am often asked what—if anything—is the actual difference between copywriting and content writing?
Spoiler alert: The difference is major!
So today, I’m breaking these two terms down to explain the key differences, where you’re likely already using copywriting and content writing, and how to improve both.
Let’s do this! 😍
What is copywriting?
Copywriting is literally the practice writing of “copy”—which is basically text that’s been written with one intention → converting.
But while the goal of copywriting is to convert, it’s important to note that doesn’t just mean sales. Sure, it can be monetary conversions, but copy can also be written with the goal of…
- Booking a discovery call
- Signing up for a freebie
- Joining an email list
When someone is writing copy, they want something in return from their reader. Copywriters intentionally craft messaging to persuade a reader to follow through with whatever that want is.
Here are some places you might see the work of a copywriter:
- Ads (both online and off, such as on a website or on a billboard)
- Email campaigns
- Sales pages (the pages where a program or master class is sold)
- Landing pages (the pages where you promote your free event or lead magnet)
- Social media (sometimes—especially when describing a program or other call to action)
In short, copywriting is the art of selling.
Copywrite vs. copyright?!
As covered above, copywriting involves the process of writing copy that sells something.
On the other hand, copyrighting involves legally trademarking something as your own.
Though they sound the same, they’re two completely different words with COMPLETELY different meanings.
What is content writing?
Content writing is the art of providing value to readers either through information, storytelling, entertainment, or education.
Though there might be a goal for the piece (like establishing a relationship with the author in hopes that you will become a client,) content writing doesn’t involve a conversion-based call to action.
Here are some places you might see content writing:
- Blog posts and articles (like the one you’re reading now 😉)
- Email newsletters (not campaigns)
- White papers
- Case studies
- Press releases
- Product descriptions
- Social media (sometimes)
The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing
The major difference between copywriting and content writing is the goal of each.
The goal of copywriting is to motivate the reader to take action (such as buy something, sign up for a freebie, book a call, etc.).
The goal of content writing, on the other hand, is to provide value—to educate and inform the reader.
Here’s a quick example of each:
As a copywriter for coaches, when I write copy for my clients, the goal is to sell that brand to its specific target audience.
So, for instance, if I’m working on a sales page, the purpose of what I’m writing is to inspire someone to take action and buy that product or sign up for that program.
Alternatively, when I write content to provide value to the reader, I’m NOT looking for a conversion of any kind.
The goal is to educate, entertain, or inform the reader for the purpose of gaining their trust or establishing my credibility
While I may include a call to action encouraging engagement (“comment below if you feel the same!”-type thing) I’m not writing this piece of content to directly encourage a transaction of any kind (a sale, exchanging an email address for a freebie, etc.).
Here’s another real-life look at each to help clarify the difference:
Copywriting Example from my Website
If you want to take your coaching biz to the next level…your current unstructured website copy written with zero strategy will not cut it. Let me say that again—it just won’t get you there.
For high-end clients and prospects to take you seriously and feel good about your signature offers, you need a website that reflects those high-end transformational results that you produce in your biz.
Quit holding yourself back and start seeing the massive difference a website that tells your story and naturally takes readers on the journey from basic browser to brand-obsessed can make in your biz.
SHOW ME THE SALES!
Content Writing Example from my Website
Each launch-related email you send your list will have a specific role with a specific purpose. Whether you’re using an email to showcase social proof and build trust or to elicit a sense of urgency or scarcity, every email you send should have a goal.
With that being said, all those emails can be broken down into three different phases.
Here are the three types of emails you should be implementing to take your next launch from so-so to sold out:
For each of the pieces of text above, the end goal is to gain clients.
HOWEVER, the first passage directly motivates the reader to take action while the second warms the reader up to the idea via education and connection.
Though the terms copywriting and content writing are often used interchangeably, there’s a big difference between the two when you start to get technical.
It’s important to keep this distinction in mind when you’re…
1) Planning branded copy or content.
2) Writing copy or content of your own.
3) Looking for someone to write copy or content for you.
If you’re completely stuck when it comes to copywriting, don’t stress—I gotchu!
Here are some action steps to take next:
- Ensure your copy is ready to publish and, more importantly, ready to convert, by downloading this freebie >>> Your Conversion Copywriting Checklist.
This bad boy will help you feel confident when putting your words out into the world to be read by potential clients!
- For more juicy insight on how to make land clients, increase conversions, and build your brand with copywriting, explore the rest of the blog!
- Ready to quit the small talk and start seeing results? Book a FREE Copy Consult Call with me!
Let’s chat and see where conversion copy will make the biggest difference in your biz 🥂