Copywriting vs. Content Writing: Is There a Difference?

Table of contents

“Just do it” - What does this tagline remind you of? Mostly, immediately, Nike. These three words propelled Nike to the path where you see it today.

Likewise, you might have also seen opinion pieces such as The New York Times Op-Eds or other journalistic content pieces that shake up the world and challenge the norm.

Both types of content are essential for brands and the world in general. The first is a classic example of copywriting, and the second is content writing.

However, is one better than the other, or do they hold the same value? Can the person who wrote the popular tagline write a well-researched content research piece as well? Or is there any difference at all in how these content items are written?

Copywriting vs. content writing, what is the difference? This is a popular question, and it is still confusing. In this blog, let’s explore the details and what makes copywriting different from content writing.

Table Of Contents

What is Copywriting?

At its core, copywriting can be described as the art of persuasion on paper (or screen). It's a specialized form of writing that focuses on compelling the reader to take a specific action, such as making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or engaging with a brand.

Here is an example of copywriting from the famous brand Dollar Shave Club.

Copywriting example from Dollar Shave Club

The banner ad's impactful tagline, "SHAVE TIME. SAVE MONEY." creatively replaces "Save" with "Shave" to grab attention and deliver the message effectively. The brand's bold approach to copywriting showcases its expertise in establishing a powerful brand voice.

Goals of copywriting:

Copywriting usually serves three purposes - persuade, sell, and convert.

Copywriting aims to persuade readers to take action, sell a product or service, or convert a curious browser to a buyer or an observer to a subscriber.

Key characteristics of copywriting:

Copywriting distinguishes itself from content writing with the following elements:

Emotional Triggers: Uses emotional hooks such as fear of missing out (FOMO), security, and instant gratification to persuade readers.

Compelling CTAs: Features clear and compelling calls to action (CTAs) that guide readers on the next steps.

Brevity and Impact: Focused on short, impactful messages that grab attention and prompt immediate action.

Persuasive Language: Employs persuasive language and techniques to influence reader decisions.

Examples and applications of copywriting:

Advertising: PPC ads, social media ads, and product pages.

Marketing Materials: Sales emails, video scripts, and promotional content.

Website Elements: Landing pages, CTAs, and pop-up messages.

Understanding the nuances of copywriting is crucial for anyone looking to influence consumer behavior or drive sales through written content.

It's a blend of psychology, marketing, and creative writing designed to engage readers emotionally and motivate them to act. Integrating effective copywriting techniques can significantly enhance your conversion rates and overall marketing success, whether creating an ad campaign, updating your website, or sending out a newsletter.

What is Content Writing?

While copywriting is all about the immediate call to action, content writing takes a longer yet equally crucial approach.

Content writing is the art of educating, entertaining, and engaging your audience, establishing a bedrock of trust and credibility that sets the stage for future sales.

Content writing usually aims to inform, educate, and captivate readers, offering valuable information, insights, and entertainment. Its focus lies in providing in-depth knowledge, building brand authority, and connecting with the audience rather than directly promoting or selling a product or service.

For example, the Writesonic Blog is an example of content writing. Here, there are several helpful blog posts for the readers to understand the product and several aspects of marketing including content writing, SEO and AI chatbots.

Content writing example from Writesonic blog 

Key characteristics of content writing:

  1. Informative and Educational: Focuses on providing in-depth information, insights, and analysis to educate and enlighten the audience.
  2. Storytelling and Narrative: Utilizes storytelling techniques to captivate and engage readers, fostering a deeper connection and understanding of the subject matter.
  3. Long-Form and Comprehensive: Emphasizes detailed and comprehensive content that thoroughly explores topics, trends, and industry insights.
  4. Authentic and Relatable Tone: Aims to establish authenticity and relatability through its tone and style, building trust and credibility with the audience.

Examples and applications of content writing:

  1. Blog Posts and Articles: In-depth articles, thought leadership pieces, and industry analysis that provide valuable insights and information.
  2. Educational Content: How-to guides, tutorials, and informative resources that aim to educate and empower the audience.
  3. Thought Leadership Pieces: Opinion pieces, expert interviews, and commentary that contribute to industry discourse and knowledge sharing.
  4. Brand Storytelling: This involves compelling narratives, brand stories, and case studies that showcase the brand's values and impact.

Understanding the nuances of content writing is essential for creating valuable, informative, and engaging content that resonates with the audience and contributes to brand authority and thought leadership.

What are the key differences between copywriting and content writing?

Copywriting and content writing are important elements of digital marketing. However, it is essential to understand the difference between copywriting and content writing to know how to use them well.

Here are some differences:

Copy sells, content informs

A copy is written to sell a product or service, but content writing aims to educate, inform, or entertain the audience.

Copy creates urgency, content inspires emotions

The main objective of copy is to make readers take the desired action, whereas the objective of content is to build an engaged audience.

Copy is generally short form, content is long-form

Copywriters write copy for ads, billboards, product catalogs, social media, emails, and more, whereas content writers write content for blog posts, articles, press releases, magazines, and more.

Copywriting is concise, content is comprehensive

Copywriting employs short-form copy for quick attention-grabbing, while content writing produces long-form pieces with an engaging storytelling style.

Copywriting prioritizes conversion, content prioritizes SEO

Copywriting emphasizes conversion over SEO, while content writing strategically incorporates SEO to improve search rankings and drive organic traffic.

Copywriting rewards conviction, content rewards expertise

Copywriting offers higher earning potential in dynamic agency settings, while content writing demands specialized knowledge for establishing thought leadership.

Copywriting converts, content sustains

Copywriting helps you convert scrollers by hooking them with a few words. However, to retain the reader, you need content to sustain their interest.

Knowing when to use copywriting versus content writing is crucial for achieving your marketing goals. By leveraging the strengths of each approach, you can drive sales with a compelling copy or build a loyal audience with informative content.

What is common between copywriting and content writing?

It doesn’t always have to be copywriting vs. content writing; both overlap and complement each other. Here’s how:

Ultimate objective: Both aim to convert customers or generate sales, albeit through different pathways. Copywriting directly prompts action, while content writing nurtures the relationship, leading to conversions.

Engagement and value: Both writing styles emphasize the need to engage the audience and provide value. Engaging the reader is paramount, whether through persuasive sales copy or informative content.

Comprehensive marketing approach: Using copywriting and content writing in a marketing strategy allows for a more comprehensive approach. This dual strategy engages customers at different journey stages, from awareness and consideration to decision-making.

Although there is a difference between copywriting and content writing, this combined approach helps you reach more people and build stronger connections with your audience, leading to longer-lasting engagement and more conversions.

When to Use Copywriting and When to Use Content Writing?

Should you write a blog to help bring in more conversion or should you run an ad campaign? How do you decide?

Whether to use copywriting or content writing in your marketing strategy hinges on your business goals. Here's a breakdown to help you make the right choice:

Let’s assume your goal is to increase sales or leads:

Your best choice here is copywriting.


Copywriting is crafted to drive immediate action. It's the go-to option when your primary objective is to boost sales, generate leads, or prompt any direct response from your audience. This approach uses compelling call to action (CTA) and compelling calls to action (CTAs) to convert readers into customers or subscribers swiftly.

Now let’s assume your goal is to build relationships and establish thought leadership:

Now your best choice would be content writing


Aim to cultivate a long-term relationship with your audience and position your brand as a credible authority. Content writing should be your strategy of choice. You can attract and retain an audience through informative, engaging, and SEO-optimized long-form content, fostering trust and credibility over time.

Other goals and their content format:

Copywriting Content Writing
Goals Aims for immediate action Builds trust and credibility
Focuses on conversions and sales Engages the audience with valuable information
Utilizes short-form, persuasive content Employs long-form, SEO-friendly content

How to create effective content for copywriting and content writing?

Whether it is copywriting or content writing, quality is always a top priority. To help you in this process, we have some tools that collaborate with you.

Chatsonic is our generative AI tool that can help you create any form of content.

Create taglines

Chatsonic example for taglines
Chatsonic example for taglines

Here are the results.

Chatsonic example for taglines
Chatsonic example for taglines

Isn’t that simple? Now you have a starting point for your content and can tweak it from here with your expertise.

Create email subject lines

Chatsonic example for subject lines
Chatsonic example for subject lines

Create CTAs

Chatsonic example for CTA
Chatsonic example for CTA

What about content writing? We have several tools to help you do that too.

Create blog post

Article Writer 6 is our AI blog writer than can help your content experts create blog posts along with AI as a collaborator. They can use it to create helpful articles and edit it as needed.

Here is the first step of creating the article. You have to follow all the steps provided on the left hand side.

Article Writer 6
Article Writer 6 

Article Writer 6
Article Writer 6 

Once you complete all the steps, read here for a detailed explanation of the steps. You will see a well-written, professional blog written based on your input. You can then click on "Start Editing" and further make changes. optimize for SEO, use Chatsonic to add more content, and so on. It is like your very own article writing assistant from the first step to the last.

Article Writer 6
Article Writer 6

Create landing pages

Landing page generation using Writesonic
Incorporating video on landing pages can enhance conversions by as much as 80%.

Writesonic has 100+ templates for you to create content of multiple formats. Try it for free and explore it yourself!

Examples of copywriting and content writing

Here are some amazing examples of copywriting and content writing done well.

First up, we have this billboard from Spotify.

Copywriting example from Spotify
Source: AdWeek

Here is a tagline by Barkbox, a pet product subscription brand.

Barkbox copywriting example from the website
Source: BarkBox

Trello’s landing page copy that conveys everything important

Copywriting example from Trello
Source: Trello

Now for some content writing examples.

Here is Lenny’s Newsletter. This product newsletter is packed with information and is a buzzing success.

Content writing example from Lenny's Newsletter
Content writing example from Lenny's Newsletter

ChatGPT Alternatives blog by Writesonic that generates thousands in traffic every month and helps readers explore alternatives beyond ChatGPT.

Blog example from Writesonic's ChatGPT Alternatives
Blog example from Writesonic's ChatGPT Alternatives

Ebook by Hubspot about Instagram for Business which is detailed and extremely helpful for social media marketers and small businesses.

Ebook example from Hubspot
Ebook example from Hubspot

How do the metrics differ in measuring success in copywriting and content writing?

Copywriting and content writing are used for different content purposes, and the metrics used to measure the effectiveness of the content pieces are also different.

Metrics to measure success in copywriting:

Click-Through Rate (CTR): It measures the percentage of people who click on a link after viewing a piece of copy. A higher CTR indicates that the copy effectively motivated the audience to take action.

Did you know that headlines with questions can boost website traffic by as much as 480%?

Conversion Rate: It tracks the percentage of people who completed a specific action after interacting with the copy, such as purchasing or signing up for a newsletter. A higher conversion rate signifies that the copy persuades the audience to take the desired action.

Engagement Metrics (Likes, Shares, Comments): It indicate audience interaction and interest in the copy. Higher engagement metrics reflect the effectiveness of the copy in capturing and retaining the audience's attention.

Ensure your blog is optimized for mobile devices, as over 90% of users access content via mobile

Bounce Rate: It measures the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. A lower bounce rate suggests the copy effectively engages visitors and encourages them to explore further.

Metrics to measure success in content writing:

Page Views and Unique Visitors: These metrics track the number of times a page has been viewed and the number of distinct individuals who visited the page. Higher page views and unique visitors indicate the effectiveness of the content in attracting an audience.

Average Time on Page: This measures visitors' average time on a page. A higher average time on the page suggests that the content is engaging and valuable to the audience.

Social Shares and Backlinks: They reflect how the content is shared on social media and linked to other websites. Higher social shares and backlinks indicate that the content resonates with the audience and provides value.

SEO Performance (Keyword Rankings, Organic Traffic): This tracks the rankings of targeted keywords and the amount of organic traffic the content generates. Improved SEO performance signifies that the content is effectively optimized for search engines and attracting relevant traffic.

Integration of Copywriting and Content Writing in a Marketing Strategy

Email Marketing Campaigns:

In email marketing, compelling copywriting is strategically woven into subject lines, body content, and calls to action to entice recipients to open emails and take desired actions. Content writing, in the form of long-form content like newsletters and informative articles, enriches the email body with valuable insights, positioning the company as an industry authority.

Email newsletter from Writesonic
Email newsletter from Writesonic

Social Media Marketing:

For social media, concise copywriting is utilized in posts to engage the audience and drive click-throughs. Content writing shines through visually appealing content such as infographics, videos, and blog posts shared to inform, entertain, and educate the audience.

Social media carousel post from Writesonic
Social media carousel post from Writesonic

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising:

In SEM and PPC campaigns, persuasive ad copy entices users to click and visit landing pages. Content writing on landing pages provides detailed product/service information, addressing customer needs and guiding them toward conversions.

PPC example from Brand24
PPC example from Brand24

Which leads to a landing page using content writing dedicated to this solution.

Landing page example from Brand24
Landing page example from Brand24

Website Content:

Compelling copywriting in headlines, taglines, and product descriptions captures visitors' attention and drives actions. Informative content writing in blog articles, guides, and FAQs offers valuable information, answers queries, and boosts search engine visibility.

Website content example from Writesonic
Website content example from Writesonic

By seamlessly integrating copywriting and content writing across marketing channels, businesses can craft a cohesive narrative that resonates with their audience, fosters engagement, and drives conversions and brand loyalty.

How to allocate resources between copywriting and content writing efforts (especially with limited resources available)?

When it comes to deciding how to allocate resources between copywriting and content writing efforts, especially when resources are limited, businesses can consider the following strategies:

Understanding Marketing Goals

It's important to start by understanding the specific marketing goals and objectives. For instance, if the primary goal is to increase brand awareness and engagement, then it may be more beneficial to focus on content writing to create informative and shareable content. On the other hand, if the goal is to drive immediate conversions, then giving priority to copywriting for persuasive ad copy and landing pages might be more effective.

Analyzing the Audience

Understanding the target audience and their preferences is crucial. If the audience prefers in-depth, long-form content, it might make sense to allocate more resources to content writing. Conversely, if they respond well to succinct, compelling messaging, then prioritizing copywriting efforts could be more effective.

Strategic Content Planning

Developing a content calendar and planning content creation efforts strategically is key. This approach allows for a balanced allocation of resources over time, ensuring that both copywriting and content-writing needs are addressed as part of a cohesive strategy.

Flexibility in Resource Allocation

Considering resource flexibility is essential. For instance, during peak sales seasons, it may be wise to allocate more resources to copywriting for promotional materials and product descriptions. At other times, the focus may shift to content writing for evergreen content and thought leadership pieces.

Outsourcing and Collaboration

When internal resources are limited, businesses can consider outsourcing certain aspects of copywriting or content writing to freelancers or agencies. This can help maintain a balance without overburdening the existing team.

Performance Monitoring and Iteration

Continuously monitoring the performance of both copywriting and content writing efforts is crucial. Based on the performance data, adjusting the allocation of resources to focus on the areas that are delivering the best results can be beneficial.

Cross-Training and Skill Development

Encouraging cross-training and skill development within the team allows team members to contribute to both copywriting and content writing efforts, maximizing the available resources.

Budget Allocation

It is important to allocate the budget based on the specific needs and goals. For example, if paid advertising is needed, a portion of the budget may be allocated to copywriting for ad creatives and landing pages.

By considering these strategies, businesses with limited resources can make informed decisions about allocating their time, budget, and personnel between copywriting and content writing efforts to maximize their impact and achieve their marketing goals.

What pays more: copywriting or content writing?

When comparing the earning potential of copywriting and content writing, it's essential to understand that they serve different purposes in the marketing and communication world. Although both involve writing, their focus, style, and impact on a brand's objectives differ.

Let's discuss the money side of things. The average salary for a copywriter in the US is $73,000, and a content writer's is $70,000.

Copywriting, which involves creating persuasive and action-oriented content, generally pays more than content writing. For instance, an American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI) survey revealed that experienced direct-response copywriters reported significantly higher incomes than generalist writers or content creators.

Now, why the pay gap?

Copywriting is directly tied to driving conversions and sales, making the impact of compelling copy on a company's revenue more tangible and, thus, more valued.

Also, copywriters often deal with short-form content like ad copy and taglines, where the success of the content is quickly seen, demonstrating the direct value of copywriting.

But hold on, content writing can also be a lucrative gig!

In fact, it can pay even better than many copywriting jobs. How is that possible?

Content writing often requires knowledge of specialized technology, finance, healthcare, and law. Because of the complexity and specificity of their content, writers with expertise in these fields can command higher compensation.

Moreover, content writing can involve creating in-depth articles, whitepapers, and guides. Well-researched long-form and evergreen content that provides substantial value to readers is highly sought after and can command higher rates.

And let's not forget about the importance of SEO-optimized content. Content writers with strong SEO skills who can create content that ranks well in search engines are in high demand and often receive higher compensation.

So, as you can see, both copywriting and content writing have their strengths and opportunities, and it's all about finding the right fit for your skills and expertise!

Copywriting and content writing - The ultimate duo for achieving marketing success

In wrapping up, it's clear that both copywriting and content writing play vital roles in a comprehensive content marketing strategy. A skilled copywriter brings persuasive finesse, while a proficient content writer delivers well-researched, engaging content that drives conversions and captivates audiences.

Let's face it, creating any type of content can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is where AI can step in as a valuable ally in the content creation process. Tools like Writesonic and Chatsonic can support skilled content writers and copywriters by helping generate ideas, refine language, and elevate overall content quality. Businesses can blend human creativity with AI's analytical capabilities to supercharge their content marketing endeavors by teaming up with AI as a content partner.

Ready to experience the power of AI in content creation?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do content writing and copywriting compare in terms of their purpose?

Content writing and copywriting serve different functions. Copywriting is crafted with the intent to persuade an audience, aid conversion, or promote sales, whereas content writing aims to educate readers or foster relationships. Both are valuable tools in marketing and should be employed thoughtfully and with a strategic approach.

What are some typical errors that copywriters should avoid?

Copywriters should be cautious of several pitfalls, including a failure to understand their target audience, creating weak headlines and subheadings, neglecting the use of storytelling, presenting dense blocks of text, omitting a clear call-to-action (CTA), ignoring the inclusion of customer testimonials and social proof, and not highlighting a unique selling proposition (USP).

In terms of earnings, do copywriters have an advantage over content writers?

Generally, copywriters tend to earn more than content writers. This is attributed to copywriters' direct impact on driving sales and generating revenue within a business, which is often reflected in their compensation.

Is the field of copywriting becoming too crowded?

Copywriting has surged in popularity over recent years, largely due to the rise of social media. While many try their hand at this profession, only a select few sustain success over the long term. From my experience as a copywriter who has collaborated with various clients, the market can be described as oversaturated sometimes but there is always room for work once you figure out your niche.

How do copywriting and content writing contribute to a brand's overall marketing strategy?

Copywriting creates convincing content for advertisements, websites, and promotional materials, driving sales and brand awareness. Content writing provides valuable, informative content like blog posts and articles, enhancing credibility and SEO.

What skills are required for copywriting versus content writing?

Copywriting requires creativity, effective writing, consumer psychology understanding, and impactful messaging. Content writing demands research, engaging writing, SEO knowledge, adaptability, and content marketing understanding.

How can businesses leverage AI to enhance both copywriting and content writing strategies?

Businesses can use AI for content generation, personalization, SEO optimization, content curation, and language processing to streamline content creation, improve quality, and connect with their audience.

Preethi Anchan

Content writer and seasoned marketer @Writesonic. I specialize in storytelling with long-form product-led content, converting the language of machines into the language of people.

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