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Should I Become a Copywriter or a Content Writer? Here Are The Key Differences

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You’re here because you want to explore the potentials of a career in freelance copywriting and/or content writing. But do you know the difference between the two? Copywriting and content writing both offer your future clients fantastic assets to their business and could help turn their brand around. But, right now, it’s about you. So, I’m going to help you make a choice. Copywriter or content writer? 

What is Copywriting? 

We’ll start with the basics. There are a whole host of courses, articles, and podcasts out there that try to explain what copywriting is. But, with so many definitions circling the internet, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and confused. So, here’s my definition of copywriting in the simplest of terms: 

Copywriting is any writing with a purpose of conversion. 

Some definitions claim that copywriting is “words that sell”. And, to an extent, that’s right. But it’s not always about selling at that very moment. That’s direct response copywritingWhen I say “conversion”, I don’t always mean financial conversion.  It could be turning a website visitor into an email subscriber.  It could be turning an email subscriber into a member. Conversion is taking somebody from one phase of the buyer’s journey into the next. And that’s what copywriting does. Well. The good stuff does, anyway. 

What is Content Writing?

If copywriting is words that convert, then what’s content writing?  Unlike copywriting, which aims to convert people into the next buyer phase, content writing doesn’t aim for conversion.

The purpose of content writing is either to:

  • Educate
  • Entertain
  • Inspire
  • Motivate 

It doesn’t primarily sell. It could have a secondary focus of selling, but it’s very much secondary. The dominant aim is one of the four mentioned above. 

What’s The Point In Content Writing? 

So, if it doesn’t sell – what’s the point? It comes down to something that, without it, a business wouldn’t be able to function. Trust. Good content writing that achieves any of the aims set out above will result in higher levels of trust. The brand becomes the go-to in the industry. Competitors are no longer even considered. So, while the aim of content is not to sell, over time, it will convert to sales. Content writing plays the long game. 

Which is Right For Me? Copywriting or Content Writing?

With that in mind, how do you choose the right path for you? Is freelance copywriting calling you? Or would you thrive as a content writer? Here’s a few ways in which you can decide. 

What Do You Like Writing? 

First and foremost, you need to assess what you enjoy most. 

Copywriters tend to write any of the following: 

  • Websites
  • Marketing emails 
  • Sales pages
  • Landing pages 
  • Direct mail (ie: sales letters)
  • Billboards 
  • Commercials

Content writers, on the other hand, spend their time writing:

  • Blog articles 
  • Newsletters 
  • Social media captions
  • White papers
  • Case studies 
  • Video scripts 

If there are deliverables you prefer in either list, make sure to note them down. These will play a large role in your final choice. 

What Are You Good At? 

Second to what you enjoy most, your strengths and skills should play a huge part in your choice between copywriting and content writing.  If you’re skilled at SEO, you’ll be able to use these skills when creating blog content. If you’re gifted with copious empathy, copywriting is a great route for you. Determine your skillset and match them up with copywriting, content writing, or both. 

What Aligns With Your Goals? 

Finally, you’ll need to envision your future goals. Where do you want your career to take you? Do you want to open up your own copywriting business? Are you more open to teaching new writers how to write? Write down your picture-perfect future. Then, determine whether copywriting or content writing will help you get there. 

Regardless of Your Choice, You’re Making a Fantastic Decision

Whether you choose to become a copywriter, a content writer, or both (yes, it’s possible), you’re making such a great decision. So, take the time you need to weigh up both options. Consider the pros and cons of each, your natural skillset, what you enjoy most, and how you envision your future. Then, make your decision. Remember, you can always grow into offering both services as you build your copywriting portfolio!

Liz Slyman

Over the past decade, Liz Slyman has worked as a copywriter and digital marketing executive for a multitude of companies from startups to mid-sized businesses to working as the VP of marketing for award-winning, platinum-selling artists and is now teaching copywriting courses. Leveraging an understanding of the nuance of language in marketing, Liz founded Amplihigher, a content marketing and copywriting agency, designed to connect consumers to companies in a way that results in next-level brand expansion.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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