Copywriting vs Content Writing: The Low Down

 In Content Marketing

Freelance writing is a lucrative business and there are a lot of people who are unaware of the difference between writing copy and writing content. While both are essential elements in successful marketing and both require similar skill sets, copywriting and content writing are two distinct disciplines.

Because web content writing is essential in the success of any business, it is important for a writer to be well versed in both fields. I have encountered a number of writers who call themselves copywriters but most of the work they do is actually content writing. The confusion is understandable, as most writers can do both (but not all writers can be great at both). However, it is necessary to know the difference to determine the kind of writing that you actually need for your business.

So, let’s draw the line between the two.


Copywriting is the creation of written content for the primary purpose of advertising, marketing, or selling a brand or product. Copy is content that is driven towards a particular user action such as on a sales page, opt-in page, or advertising material. It can be applied on web and print medium.

With copywriting, it is important to drive your point across in the shortest and simplest way possible. It needs to draw the attention of the reader or user as fast as possible, and evoke emotions that can lead to the targeted behavior (which is ultimately, to buy the product).

The average attention span of a user is 8 seconds, so it is imperative to grab their attention and draw them in in the first 4 to 5 seconds.

As the average attention span of a web user is approximately 8 seconds, brevity is crucial. Compelling headlines, titles, press ads, and captions are usually the forte of copywriters.   This short-form copy, if executed properly, can work seamlessly with the web design and graphics to deliver a successful branding and marketing strategy.

There are a lot of things to consider when writing and advertising copy such as user interface and website design, among others. However, it is of utmost importance to write with a solid voice that is in line with the brand’s personality.

Content Writing

Content writing, on the other hand, is for the purpose of engaging the audience with brand or product by providing constant value. Content is composed to let the user stay longer in a website and educate them about a certain product, service, or topic relevant to the brand. This is usually done through blogs, articles, and the like. Content writing is for the purpose of content marketing.

All marketers and businessmen know for a fact that making a quick sale is not always possible. Because of the accessibility of information through the worldwide web, most users like to be informed about the product they are looking at. They want to understand why they need that product and how it can help them in their day-to-day lives. There is a strong need to build trust with your audience and gain the confidence. This is where content marketing comes in.

Attributes of Content Writing

  1. Search Engine Optimization
  2. Maintaining an online presence
  3. Engaging your audience
  4. Building a relationship with your audience
  5. Educating your audience about certain topics related to your chosen niche
  6. Establishing yourself as an expert or authority in your field
  7. Gaining the trust of customers and clients

Drawing the Line Between Copywriting and Content Writing

Copywriting is a form of web content, as anything you can find online can be considered content in one way or another. On the other hand, not all web content can be considered copy.

The primary goal of copywriting is to sell an idea, product, or service, whereas the objective of content writing is to generate interest and provide information and educate your audience about your brand, product, or service. In short, copywriting tells you to buy a product, and content writing tells you why you should buy, and how you can buy it.

With copywriting, your goal is to make a sale. Period. Meanwhile, the purpose of content marketing is to engage the audience and build a long term relationship. Put the two together and you get a powerful marketing strategy.

Copywriting and content writing are two separate disciplines. While most writers transition from one to the other, not all writers are great at both.

Because the primary objective of content writing is to create content to educate their audience, some content writers merely write informative articles that tend to be impersonal. The good thing about writers who do both, is that they are good at writing content in both short-form and long-form. They can incorporate the principles of copywriting to the articles that they write.

Final Thoughts

Copywriting and content writing work great as a pair. When presenting your brand online, words are the most powerful and effective tool that you can use to build your brand and grow your business.

The evolving importance of content writing has changed the way that copywriters do their job. Yes, copywriting is still a vital aspect in successful business marketing, but content marketing writing is almost right up there nowadays.

So, what do you think? Do you use copywriting and content marketing in your business? Are you a copywriter, content writer, or both?

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