When it comes to copywriting vs content writing, which one is better? Which should you focus on? If you are a business owner you might be wondering if you should hire a copywriter or a content writer. And those of you who are freelance writers or want to become one might be wondering which of the two leads to better job opportunities, and which is more lucrative.
Whatever your situation may be, you want to make sure to choose what’s best for you.
What you’ll discover, however, is that it’s not actually a question of copywriting vs content writing. Copywriting and content writing are two sides of the same coin, and one doesn’t work quite as well without the other.
Especially in today’s market, the lines between copywriting vs content writing can be blurry. In this article, however, we will point out some key distinctions between the two.
You’ll often see writing that is both content writing and copywriting at the same time. Wondering what that looks like? We’ll discuss some examples below.
When you are trying to decide between copywriting vs content writing, what should you do? You’ll see that it might not be a good idea to decide between them at all.
As a business owner, you need both. You need content writing to warm up your audience, and you need to get actual sales from the copywriting. You can’t really separate them.
As a freelance writer, you want to be able to write both content writing and copywriting, instead of choosing one or the other. If you can write both, you’ll open up better opportunities for yourself, including better-paid writing jobs.
Now, let’s have a look at how copywriting and content writing are typically defined.
Why Do You Need Copywriting?
The purpose of copywriting is to sell. Great copy is written in a way that makes the reader act immediately. So, typical forms of copywriting are sales pages, email newsletters, or Facebook advertisements.
If you run a business, you need copywriters. They understand your marketing plan and help you get your sales message across.
This is especially important if you have an online business. Why? Because the vast majority of communication online is in written form.
But even if your business is in-store, you still need copywriting. The right copywriter might even help you shift your business online.
Know that if you are a freelance writer, copywriting is the most lucrative form of writing you can do. As a copywriter, you get paid based on results – the number of sales your writing generates.
Think about it this way: If your writing generates extra sales, wouldn’t a business owner be happy to pay you more? Let’s imagine you write an email campaign that produces over $15,000 in sales. Don’t you think you can ask to be paid at least $100-200 per email?
That’s why copywriting is so lucrative. But you need to have copywriting skills, so that you can actually create results.
Now you know the purpose of copywriting. But what about content writing?
Why Do You Need Content Writing?
Content writing is any form of writing that doesn’t explicitly sell something. The purpose of content writing is typically to educate or entertain your audience.
Today, most markets are very competitive. That’s why you need to nourish your audience with great content before they buy from you.
Content writing is the best way to provide value to potential customers before they buy anything.
Your best strategy is to provide tons of great content – and thereby create immense value for your target audience. Make your content so good that your clients think, If the free content is this good, I wonder how great their paid products are.Content writing is used to educate, entice or entertain. Copywriting is used to persuade and sell. Click To Tweet
If you are a business owner, you need content. You need a lot of it.
If you are a freelance writer, content writing is easy income for you. The demand for content writing is endless. You’re not usually paid based on results, so you need less convincing. But, it’s also a bit less lucrative than copywriting.
So, when it comes to copywriting vs content writing you could say their purposes are different. Copywriting is for selling.
Content writing usually has one of three goals: entice, educate, or entertain. However, we said content writing and copywriting are actually the same thing.
Copywriting vs Content Writing? Here’s Why They’re The Same
Essentially, content writing is a form of pre-selling. You give value to the reader, yes. But you also warm them up to buy from you at some point.
In an email, for example, you could tell an interesting story. The story is the content part. Yet, the story also explains why your product will make their life easier. You prepare them for the sale and the call-to-action, which is essentially copywriting.
Think about it this way: let’s assume you want to decide on copywriting vs content writing and you decide to only do copywriting.
What would happen is that you’d be pitching your product or service all the time. But you lose sales because your audience isn’t ready.
So, you actually get fewer results, even though you are copywriting. The goal of copywriting is to sell, but copywriting alone (without content writing) means you sell less.
Now let’s look at the other side. Let’s assume you decide to do only content writing. Well, you’d put out lots of valuable content and people would love you.
However, you wouldn’t make any sales as your audience doesn’t even know what you offer. There is no sales message in the copy, and your copy, therefore, does not convert.
As you can see, you need both skills. Copywriting and content writing don’t work without each other.
Two Sides Of The Same Coin
It might be hard to imagine now, but before the internet, copywriting was often very straight to the point.
People had less of a chance to educate themselves on a product or service. They didn’t expect any educational content from an ad.
The internet completely changed that. Today’s buyer is more informed than ever before. Only one Google search allows them to look up anything they might need to know about the product. That’s why you need to nourish them with great content, and build trust.
Imagine the prospect as being extremely cautious, and your content slowly warms them up to the idea of trusting you.
What’s more, users on the internet expect free content. They already expect to get something for free before buying from you. That’s why you see so many businesses and influencers produce valuable content on social media or in other forms.
There is another benefit to educational or entertaining content. It allows you to position yourself as the go-to expert in your niche. If you have valuable content and your competitors have none, you win.
The Surprising Anatomy of Modern Sales Messages
If you take a look at any winning offer online, you’d notice a theme. Products or services that sell amazingly well usually get pitched like this:
They offer you free content first, followed by a “sales pitch” and a call to action which gets you to buy. The sales pitch often doesn’t feel like a pitch at all.
If feels more like a kind offer they bring your attention to. That’s because you’ve been warmed up by the free content. They don’t need to hard-sell you, as you are open to the idea already.
The free content can be anything from a free pdf or free webinar to a free article or e-book. The cool thing is, you can apply exactly the same for your business. All you need to do is shift your thinking. From copywriting vs content writing to copywriting and content writing.
Can You Learn Both?
We sometimes have people asking us if they can learn both skills – content writing and copywriting. Our answer is: yes. You can learn both, and you should.
Usually, it’s best to start with learning copywriting. Why? Because copywriting is more difficult to master. You need more skill because your writing has to be very persuasive.
It’s learnable and there is a system behind it, but you won’t master it overnight. As you get better as a copywriter, however, your content writing naturally gets better too.
Learning to write copy makes you a better content writer. And writing lots of content makes you a better copywriter. For a winning sales message, you need to integrate them with each other.For a winning sales message, you need to combine copywriting and content writing. Click To Tweet
What About SEO Content Writing?
Now you might be thinking how SEO content writing fits into the picture here? Isn’t that very different from copywriting?
It might be true they have very different purposes. The purpose of SEO content writing is to rank a website or page on Google.
It’s a very specific skill set because you need to know how and why a page ranks high on Google. And you need to write in a certain way to make it possible. Writing SEO-friendly content is different from writing a regular article.
But let us ask you, why do you want to rank high on Google? It’s likely because you want your customers to find you online. You want to attract new clients.
So, in the end, SEO content writing and copywriting go hand in hand. What’s more, a good copywriter can usually weave in SEO keywords and still write to sell.
If you set up a website, you want it to rank Google. But you also want it to get people interested in doing business with you.
As a writer, doing both copywriting and SEO content writing might mean you need to work on fine-tuning your skills. But you definitely want to be able to do both.
Good Copy Means Good Content
Copyblogger said it best: “Copywriting without content is a waste of good copy,” and “content without copywriting is a waste of good content.”
Don’t decide between copywriting vs content writing. They enhance each other and create synergy.
A piece of sales copy without any content will be too pitchy and too salesy. You didn’t warm up the buyer. The problem with that is, most people don’t like the feeling of being sold to. There’s a huge difference between being sold to, and enjoying purchasing something.
The content in your copy allows you to give them emotional and logical reasons to buy. It helps them justify their purchase and prevents them from feeling buyer’s remorse.
A good piece of content without copywriting means you lose potential buyers. If a reader enjoys your content, then you should offer them more. They will actually enjoy buying from you as they already like your free words of wisdom.
Copywriting is Persuasion, While Content Writing is Pre-suasion
Are you beginning to see why copywriting and content writing are the same thing? Or at least two sides of the same coin that can’t be separated?
Put differently, content warms up the audience. It’s a form of pre-suasion. It persuades the reader to read on and slowly opens them up to the idea to buy.
Copywriting is persuasion. They are already warmed up from the content, now it’s all about getting them to buy.
For both, you need a deep understanding of your audience. What interests them? What troubles them? The better you understand who your readers are, the better your writing will be.
Your content and your copy need to stand out. We already mentioned that most buyers on the internet expect free content. Because of this, nearly every business has a blog or other platform with free content.
This creates a lot of noise in the marketplace. Make sure your writing isn’t adding more clutter but instead stands out. You want to cut through the noise with exceptionally good content.
Is Long or Short Copy Better?
If you look up the differences between these two forms of writing online, you likely come across this claim:
Content writing is long and copywriting is short. That’s not true. The truth is, both can be long or short. It completely depends.
In copywriting, some sales pages are over 10 pages long. But there are also advertisements which only have three lines of copy.
When it comes to content, here are forms of which are short – for example, Instagram captions. Yet, there are also blog posts that are much longer.
As you see, you can’t categorize them by length. But why do people think that length is important? Here’s why: most people would think copy is short because it has to be very engaging and persuasive.
It’s a lot harder to keep the reader’s attention when it’s a long text – at least that’s what people assume. Here’s the truth:
Copywriting can be long but it should never be long-winded. So, if you are a skilled copywriter (or hire one) it’s very well possible to create long-form copy.
And interestingly enough, long copy sometimes converts better (although it depends on the industry).
Since content writing is pre-suasion, your content has to be compelling and engaging too. That’s why you want both.
How Content Writing and Copywriting Truly Become One
For your writing to be effective you need one critical thing: a strategy.
If you use content or copywriting without a strategy in mind, they both become less effective. They create less synergy and produce fewer results for you.
One strategy could be to do the pre-selling (content) and selling (copy) in the same piece. For example, write a blog post (the content) with a call-to-action at the end (the persuasive copy).
Another strategy would be to give your audience content first. Then send them to a piece of copywriting. You can sometimes see this when you sign up for a free webinar.
They give you free content during the webinar. Then they perhaps have a pitch at the end of the webinar and give you a link to check out their page. And that page is, you guessed it, a piece of copy.
Don’t try to separate the two. They are infinitely more powerful when you use them together.
What Are The Most In-Demand Forms Of Writing Right Now?
Now you know the truth about copywriting vs content writing. You need both, and they are more powerful when used together.
Yet, for both types of writing, there are many different forms. Emails, sales pages, and ads are usually considered copywriting. SEO-friendly blog posts are generally seen as content writing.
Sooner or later you probably want to specialize in one or two types of writing and become an expert at those. But how do you know which are the best forms of writing to focus on?
In his High Income Copywriter (HIC) program, Dan Lok teaches his students about the most lucrative forms of writing. He also teaches the strategies behind outstanding copywriting.
Right now, you can get a 48-hour pass and learn how many writers already earn predictable and recurring income. They are simply leveraging the best-paid forms of writing. Find out more about the 48-hour pass here.