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Copywriting vs. Content Writing: A Breakdown

Here’s how to spot the difference between Copywriting and Content Writing, and how to use both to drive sales.

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In the digital marketing world, you may hear the words “content writer” and “copywriter” used interchangeably. Isn’t copy CONTENT? And isn’t content COPY? Well, yes. And no. 

What’s the Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing?

Copywriting is action-driven with the sole purpose of promoting your brand. It is enticing, clever, and appeals to emotions. Copywriting means writing for the sake of getting an audience to do something and do it now. But barely know this brand. That’s where content plays in.

Content writing aims to build a relationship with potential clients. Usually, this is in the form of blogs, social media posts, e-books, or even podcasts. Sometimes it’s a tool, like a white paper. Content tells a relatable story to encourage prospective clients to engage more with your brand. The goal is to foster trust and show potential customers that you’re the real deal.

What Do Content and Copywriting Look Like?

For a great illustration of content writing vs. copywriting, look no further than your favorite infomercials. As corny as they are, infomercials are perfect examples of relatable content paired with heavy-duty copywriting. 

For example: before the ubiquitous Snuggie infomercial hit the screens, did you even realize how annoying regular blankets are? When the infomercial portrayed ALL OF US having to reach out from under our warm, toasty blankie into the frigid air to grab the remote, we felt that. As soon as we finished commiserating with the frustrated woman constantly tugging her unruly blanket back over her freezing cold toes (content), we were hit with some hard-in-the-paint copy: there are literally only six Snuggies left, so your chilly self better buy one in the next 45 seconds. 

The takeaway:

  • Content writing accentuates the prospect’s needs, tells a story in a relatable fashion, and outlines a solution.
  • Copywriting pushes them towards the call-to-action.

You don’t want to go full-Snuggie with your content writing and copywriting, but it’s a great guide to follow.

Content or Copy? 

The first thing to consider is: where in the sales funnel is the reader likely to be?

If they’re in the top half of the funnel—just becoming aware of or interested in your brand—use content writing.

As we mentioned earlier, this would include things like blog posts, social media, subscription-based emails, and informative pages. Leave the “selling” out and focus on “telling.” Wouldn’t it be weird if we suddenly wrote, “CONTACT TOBE AGENCY AND START WORKING WITH US RIGHT NOW” in the middle of this nice content blog post? Yeah, that’s weird. Don’t make it weird. 

If the client is in the bottom half of the sales funnel and is ready to purchase, use copywriting. This includes anything around the call-to-action, such as sales pages, demo downloads, free trial info, etc.

A good rule of thumb is that if you want the prospect to DO SOMETHING, it’s copy time. 

In-House or Hire Out?

Many factors play into this decision, but here’s one constant: there is SO MUCH to be written, and never enough people to write it all. 

Content writing is well-suited for an in-house job because nobody knows your brand and customers like your team does. In the case of overflow (and as your business thrives, there WILL be overflow), don’t be afraid to hire out! Check out sites like UpWork, Scripted, and Freelancer. Look for someone who knows enough about SEO and marketing, and A LOT about writing a great story.

Copywriters are often hired out for a pretty penny because their work is directly tied to revenue. High-stakes situations, like launches or spendy new campaigns, are a good time to bring in the big guns. An expert copywriter has extensive knowledge of the sales process, a keen creative flair, a knack for analysis, and an understanding of psychology. Not every good content writer possesses all those skills.

A final consideration: there is such a thing as being TOO close to your brand. Similarly to how every parent is convinced they have the cutest baby on earth, you may not be the best person to create OBJECTIVE content for your company. As entrepreneurs, we tend to try to do it all ourselves. It’s in our nature. But a second set of hands that can produce excellent content and copy can work wonders!

Want to learn more? 

Are you interested in learning more about the difference between content writing and copywriting, and how to use them to drive sales? Contact Tobe today for a free consult.

Andrew Hong

Andrew Hong

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