What’s the Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing?

Writing for a living is a dream come true! Growing up, I was a voracious reader (my dad built us a 4-story treehouse and included a little reading nook, just for me), but I never imagined I’d be making a living through words.

But what does it mean to be a “writer”?

Am I a novelist? A memoirist? An academic? A journalist? A technical writer? A copywriter? A content writer? An AI prompt engineer?

Talk to anyone who writes for a living, and we’ll give you a different answer as to how we define our vocation. Little did I know when I launched Emily Writes full-time in June 2019 that I’d have to actually define what kind of writing I would do.

I like to say that I can write engaging content about anything and everything, and my portfolio certainly reflects that diversity. Over time, I’ve really owned the title of “content writer” because it encompasses the kind of writing I typically do, yet I still enjoy copywriting work. I know it’s confusing! 

In today’s blog, I provide a content writing definition as well as a copywriting definition to help you distinguish the type of writing you’ll employ on any given project. This will help you when hiring a writer or entering the field yourself. 

In researching this article, I referenced this excellent guide from Neil Patel. Take a look if you’d like to learn more about copywriting vs. content writing!

What is Content Writing?

A content writer creates written content for the purpose of providing value to readers. This content is produced for marketing or thought leadership purposes, typically within a larger strategic vision for the organization.

Types of content writing include:

  •       Articles (online, print)
  •       Blogs
  •       Case studies / White papers
  •       ebooks
  •       Infographics
  •       Newsletters (email, print)
  •       Podcasts
  •       Value-driven social media posts
  •       Websites*

What is Copywriting?

A copywriter creates written content for the purpose of persuading readers. This content is produced for marketing and sales purposes, often for a shorter-term goal or campaign.

Types of copywriting include:

  •       Advertising (online, print, billboard)
  •       Calls to action
  •       Email marketing
  •       Landing / Sales pages
  •       Mailers
  •       Promotional social media posts
  •       Slogans/Taglines
  •       Websites*

What is the Difference Between a Content Writer and a Copywriter?

I love this definition from the Neil Patel article: “The main difference between copywriting and content writing is the purpose of the content. Copywriting is written to persuade or sell, while content writing is written to educate or build relationships.”

Here’s another great way to look at it:

content writing v. copywriting

Does a Website Need a Copywriter or a Content Writer?

*But what about websites?

In considering the strict definition of content writing vs. copywriting, I believe websites are a combination of both. Writing websites is one of my favorite projects to take on, and I’ve found that it requires a skill set that blurs the lines between “content” and “copy.”

Take my homepage, for example.

Here’s a great example of “copy”:

At Emily Writes, our superpower is seamlessly fitting into your brand voice. We craft compelling, irresistible content that inspires, engages, and converts!

And here’s a great example of “content”:

How Are You Showing Up Online?

Are you trying to get more online exposure but aren’t sure where to begin? Does the thought of writing stress you out – or worse, put you into a perfectionist tailspin? 

Maybe your website is stale and uninspiring. Or your social media presence is scattered and unfocused. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to write a blog but keep putting it off.

No matter your content conundrum, Emily Writes can help. We work with a wide variety of brands because we are multi-passionate writers! We specialize in websites, blogs, email marketing, and social media. Let us help you create a professional online presence through personalized content writing.

Do you see the difference?

In the first example, I crafted a short, compelling message that encompasses the essence of my business. My goal is to persuade the reader to work with me – or at the very least, to continue reading my website. 

In the second example, I shared more about the mission of Emily Writes, and how we solve a problem on behalf of our clients. My goal is to educate the reader about who I am and what I do, and show them how I can help solve a gap in their business.  

Get the Support of an Experienced Content Writer… Who Also Does Copywriting!

Now that you know the difference between content writing vs. copywriting, I hope you can see the value of BOTH types of content in your business. Please schedule a free consultation with me if you’d like to discuss how my team can meet your needs!