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Copywriting vs Content Writing: The 4 Key Differences and How to Know Which One to Pursue?

Guest Writer
Guest Writer

Table of Contents

Want to stop waking up every morning and commuting to your 9 to 5 that you hate?

You’re not alone with this. Many people are in jobs that they’re not passionate about.

Besides the traditional jobs you learned about in school, there are a lot of options for work.

With technological advances, the freelance market is expanding, and companies are bringing in external support to help them with their digital content. This means there’s never been a better time to start a freelance writing career.

So what are companies looking for?

The short answer is copywriters and content writers. Copywriters and content writers have different but equally essential roles in digital marketing.

So if you’re looking to start a freelance writing career, you must know the difference between these two forms of writing.


Because you’ll need to know the details to find and connect with the right clients to build your freelancing business.

Before we dive into four critical differences between copywriting vs content writing, let’s look at some of the commonalities between them.

Copywriting vs Content Writing

Regardless of whether you are a copywriter or a content writer, there are a few things you need to do as you write:

  • Write unique headlines and calls to action that grab the reader’s attention.
  • Use storytelling to engage the reader and take them on a journey through the piece of copy.
  • Follow the brand voice and messaging of the company so that everything builds brand recognition and trust.
  • Understand the goal of the writing piece so you can deliver on purpose.
  • Know who you’re writing to (the buyer persona), so you can use language that speaks directly to them.

Whether you’re writing three sentences or 3,000 words, these writing fundamentals will increase your chances of getting hired.

What are the differences between Copywriting vs Content writing?

See also: What Is the Importance of SEO Content?

The goals

The goal of copywriting is persuasion to create a sale.

Copywriting can sometimes be referred to as conversion or sales copy and include things like a webinar script, a sales page, sales emails, or ad copy. Anything that is written to create a conversion.

Content writing aims to engage readers by inspiring, entertaining, or educating them on a particular topic. It can include blog posts, videos, social media posts, infographics, or captions.

The strategy

Copywriting is a short-term strategy.

The effectiveness of the copy can be measured quickly from when someone clicks on an ad or lands on the sales page to when the conversion happens (aka when they buy the offer).

Content writing is part of a long-term strategy. It can take longer to warm up potential buyers or see results from SEO efforts.

See also: UX Writing and UX Design: How to Combine?

Creative freedom

Copywriting can be referred to as one-directional.

There is a clear strategy and intention behind the piece, and it has one problem, one solution, one purpose, and one call to action, and that call to action are typical of buying or opt-in to an email list.

There is an explicit emphasis on moving the reader through a buying journey with every sentence.

Content writing is less strategic and more conversational.

You can take a single topic in multiple directions.

The tone can be more playful and engaging and will often pose various questions to the reader.

One post may have several links and resources and could even have more than one call to action.

See also: Here Are 11 Tips for Writing a Great Research Paper

The process

A lot of research goes into copywriting because it is a very strategic and intentional process.

A copywriter will do market research, the voice of customer research, and past interview buyers to better understand the buyer persona.

To ensure each sentence makes an impact, they dive into sales psychology while crafting the copy.

Headlines, examples, and details about the offer are all strategically placed throughout the piece of copy, and there are often a few rounds of revisions.

Writing content is more conversational, so there’s less research, and you rarely need to interview past buyers, unless you’re writing a case study.

There is more leeway with sentences, and headlines are often related to the next point or step as the reader moves throughout the piece.

Often, the copy does not need to sell, so this results in fewer revisions and less pressure.

While these processes are drastically different, they can be fun; it depends on what you enjoy.

Each freelance writer has different styles, tones, techniques, and personalities, which will determine your type.

See also: UX Writing: Rules for Writing and Designing Text about Products


It is common to use the terms copywriting and content writing interchangeably, but they have key differences.

One form of writing isn’t any “better” or “more important” than the other.

Every business needs content writing, and copywriting businesses are growing and thriving.

You can have a successful, lucrative freelance writing business with either form of writing.

At the end of the day, it comes down to your writing style and skills and what you enjoy writing.

Do you enjoy coming up with short, punchy one-liners? Or are you someone who likes to create a conversation around the topics you write about?

Play around with writing different types of copy. Have fun and figure out what you love. Then build a freelance writing career around something you love.

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Liz Slyman

Over the past decade, Liz Slyman has worked as a copywriter and digital marketing executive for many 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. Now Liz turns over a decade of copywriting experience into copywriting courses, coaching, tools, and resources for new and established copywriters.

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