The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing

The Key Differences Between Copywriting and Content Writing

As a copywriting agency, we get this question a lot. You probably know what outcome you want from your project, but not necessarily you should call the writing it will take to do it. That’s okay!

Let’s break it down!

What Is Copywriting?

That jingle you heard on the radio that you can’t get out of your head? Copywriting.

That commercial for the newest toy your kid is begging for? Copywriting.

The text message you got from your favorite boutique offering a special discount? Copywriting.

Ads you find in your social media feed for things you searched for yesterday? Copywriting.

The flyer on your car at the gym? The billboard? The park bench? All copywriting. 

Copywriting is everywhere! You see it every day without even realizing it! 

Copywriting is information that elicits a desired action. It’s made up of words that are carefully designed to move the reader towards a decision. 

There is a significant amount of psychology behind copywriting. The intent is to appeal to the emotions of the reader, to engage them beyond the “thinking mind,” and to capture their desires, fears, wants, and needs. 

What do they need to hear to move forward in their decision-making process? What are their emotional triggers?

  • General fear or FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Positive desires (success, appearance, outcome, etc.)
  • Urgency (gotta have it now!)
  • Ease (stop struggling, get unstuck)
  • Security (it’s what everyone else is doing — it’s working!)

Use of voice and perspective is key in copywriting. The goal is to spark a connection with the reader. Copy is often written as if the author was speaking directly to the reader with the intent of creating a personal, authentic connection that inspires curiosity and trust in the person or brand. 

The “Ask” of Copywriting 

Copywriting is written to build up to something. You get hooked with the title or subject line, and this piques your curiosity, and you click or keep reading. Then there is a shocking or teasing hook that sparks even more interest. 

Next may be a relatable story that resonates with the intended audience and inspires trust in the author. Proof that they really do know what they’re talking about is served up on a silver platter, ripe for the savoring.

And it’s all building up to the ask — the thing you want the reader to do. In the biz, we call this the call-to-action or the CTA. 

The call to action response is what drives your marketing metrics. How many conversions did your ad campaign yield? How many sales did you make? How many people downloaded your lead magnet?

If you’re getting the conversions, sales, and leads you need, then your copy is doing its job. If not, it might be time to level up your copy and get better results. 

Examples of a Call to Action 

Usually, there is a call to action within the text that is designed to inspire you to take the desired action. Desired actions could be to sign up, download, schedule, click, or buy, but they’re always tied to the desire or emotion being appealed to. 

  • Call now to take advantage of the incredible savings!
  • Click here to join the waitlist today before the slots fill up!
  • Download this free resource NOW!
  • Register today and start your transformation!
  • This is a one-time offer! Get yours now before they’re gone!

Copywriting is something every business needs, but few understand the value it brings to the table. 

What Is Content Writing?

Content writing differs from copywriting in its intent. There is usually no “ask” or call to action in content, or if there is, it’s much softer. 

This type of writing doesn’t immediately inspire a direct action but rather serves to educate and cultivate a trusting relationship with the author. In the biz, we call this nurturing. 

Examples of Content Writing

Any information that is designed to educate, delight, or engage is classified as content. 

  • eBooks
  • Blog articles
  • Press releases
  • Product descriptions
  • Newsletters
  • Social media posts 

Content or content marketing is the backbone of any SEO strategy. Search engines are crawling for articles and resources to satisfy intentional searches based on keywords and other boring SEO stats. 

It’s difficult to establish your authority as an expert in your industry if you don’t have content out there that reflects your knowledge and ability. One of the most definitive ways to take your place as a thought leader is by literally writing the book on your topic of choice. 

The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing

Content writing engages audiences by nurturing them along the sales journey and building a connection of trust and credibility. Copywriting persuades readers into taking action through strategic psychological appeal.

Which one do you need for your business to succeed? The answer is both, in the right context.