Copy or content? Save time and money when you know the difference

Whether you’re a budding freelance writer or a business looking to hire a writer, knowing the difference between copywriting and content writing will undoubtedly save you time and money.

Many people outside the writing industry are unaware of the differences (and scarily, some writers don’t know the difference). This can lead to confusion, costly mistakes and unmet expectations — and no one has time for that, right?

In this article, I will define what copy and content are and give you some examples of where each might be used. Now, you will notice that some forms of writing appear on both lists, which is entirely possible and ultimately depends on the desired outcome of the writing.

So, what is Copywriting?

In short, copywriting is selling with words. That could be selling a product, a service, an idea, anything that involves using words to convince someone to do something.

Some of the most common forms of copywriting include:

  • Website Copy
  • Proposals
  • Brochures
  • Lead Magnets
  • Product Descriptions
  • Email Marketing
  • Blogs
  • Social Media Posts
  • Case Studies
  • Calls to Action

And what is Content Writing?

Well, content writing aims to provide value to the reader. This is usually informative, entertaining or inspirational and includes:

So, how does this save me time and money?

Firstly, you need to know who to hire and whilst many copywriters are also content writers, not all content writers are copywriters. Copywriting is like any other sales role, and not everyone excels or enjoys sales.

Copywriters are often considerably more expensive than content writers as it’s a very different skill level. Do not be surprised if a copywriter quotes per project rather than per word. In fact, I would go as far as to say if a copywriter does quote per word, I would question their level of experience. The whole point of a copywriter is to sell your product/service/idea etc., in as short and concise a way as possible, so quoting per word is not in their best interest. The last thing you want is an inexperienced copywriter trying to expand a 250-word service description into a 500-word service description for the sake of making some additional money. An experienced, professional copywriter will base their proposal on the potential earnings that copy will bring you, the aim of the copy, the research required, and the expected revisions.

Content writers are not so expensive and much more likely to charge per word (although not every content writer does). This word count should be agreed upon at the start of the project. Some content writers also charge per hour to include meetings, research time and revisions. However, again, be wary of content writers charging per hour as it’s not in their best interest to complete the project in as short a time as possible.

The Holy Grail

On one final note, I want to take you back to the beginning, where I talked about the different types of writing that can fall under copy or content and the fact that there are some types on both lists. Things like case studies, blogs or social media posts.

Well, these are some of the most expensive types of writing as a great copywriter will be able to blend copy and content writing together to inform, entertain or inspire your reader whilst also moving them closer to a buying decision.

Similarly to what I have done here. This blog has been to inform the reader (you) about the difference between copy and content writing and how knowing the difference can save time and money — there, I have added value. BUT, it also positions me as an expert in my field, and, hopefully, next time you are considering a copy or content writer, you might just remember this article and drop me an email at emma@copywriterforcoaches.co.uk to discuss your next project :)

So, did you know the difference between copy and content writing? Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful…

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Emma Morris

Emma Morris

I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be

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