As an aspiring writer, there are a range of paths for you to go into, and 2 prominent ones are content writing and copywriting.
There are several reasons for you to do this occasionally or regularly with one company, but that is a whole other topic.
For now, I am here to highlight the difference between the 2 styles and help you determine which is a better fit for you.
Many people treat these as interchangeable due to their similarities, but this is far from true.
The main difference between them is in their purposes which then affects how you write them.
The goal of content writing is to build loyalty through content in the forms of blogs, articles, scripts etc.
You are improving your brand more indirectly as you aren’t trying to get people to buy a product/service; you are creating more avenues for people to discover the brand and provide more utility for them.
It is possible you may not even mention the company when writing at all to make it seem more organic and less like you are trying to sell them something.
Copywriting is a more direct promotion of the brand, focused on maximising conversion rates and making as many sales as possible.
Everything written is done with the intention of promoting the company you’re writing for.
Their name should be littered throughout, and there should be more calls to action, directly guiding people to using their service or buying the product.
Typically, a content writing piece will be part of a campaign and work in tandem with other media forms to get people involved in the brand.
In the broadest sense, you could say they both have the power to influence and persuade but this is highly simplistic. If you write them in the exact same manner, then you are placing a hard limit on how good you can get.
You need to keep in mind certain differences when writing that will shape your content and on a more macro sense. Which determines which path is better suited for you.
First and foremost is the level of variation and uniqueness. As we mentioned, copywriting is more direct in that it is actively trying to convince you to do something in that article while content writing is more indirect and contributes to an overall effect.
Therefore you are expected to do more with fewer words in respect to copywriting, so you typically have a smaller word count to work with, which some writers may see as inhibitive.
Also, you are representing the brand, so your writing style has to reflect the company much more closely than content writing which doesn’t let your writing personality through.
By comparison, content writing is much more lenient because it gives you a bigger word count, and apart from SEO-related key terms, there isn’t anything you have to put in. As long as the topic is related to the company, you are given a lot of creative liberty.
Speaking of SEO, this is another crucial difference. While you have to be aware of SEO as a copywriter, it isn’t as much of a concern as content writing, where it is the main component.
Like I said, copywriting is usually part of a campaign of sorts, so high-ranking SEO would be excellent, but it isn’t as big a factor.
On the other hand, content writing is all about grabbing attention, and the higher you rank on Google, the more attention you will be grabbing, thus meaning you have to be acutely aware of it.
It is learnable, but obviously, if you are already comfortable, this may be a reason to choose this or the other option.
Another factor is pay, and while it isn’t a cut and dry answer, copywriters tend to make more money.
This is because they are more likely to be contracted with a specific company for an extended period of time, strengthening their endeavours.
Meanwhile, content writing is done more on a piece by piece basis, so you get back as much time as you invest and what is available rather than a consistent sum.
Again, this isn’t the case all the time so take this with a grain of salt, but this is worth taking on board perhaps as a tiebreaker.
Ultimately there is no wrong answer when choosing copywriting and content writing as long as you acknowledge there is a difference between them.
I recommend doing both at least once to get a hands-on feel for them as well as to increase your range and experience as a writer.
Either way, you can’t go wrong – there is no such thing as bad experience, but I hope this has helped you approach a decision.