When you’re looking at job posts, you may see some that mention content writing. But what’s the difference between copywriting and content writing? Aren’t content and copywriting the same? When it comes to content writing vs. copywriting, is one better than the other? And what should you charge for each?
Many people outside of the writing industry don’t understand the difference (and there are some inside who don’t know either). But it’s important for you to know the difference between copywriting and content writing as you need to show the right samples to your prospective client or employer and discuss your experience with each type.
Differences Between Copywriting and Content Writing
Copywriting is writing designed to sell things to people or persuade them. That may be selling a product or a service, persuading people to take an action, or even convincing people to have a certain perception of a company or person.
Effective copywriting connects people who have a need with the best possible solution to that need. The word choices and ideas are designed to specifically connect and resonate with the target audience. Copywriting is not about being tricky or salesy (in fact, that can seriously backfire!).
Content writing is writing that offers information, inspiration, or entertainment.
Content is articles, blog entries, and social media posts (that is, social media posts that aren’t ads). As a copywriter, you’re bound to find a lot of clients or employers who will offer to pay you to do some content writing. Besides, you’ll see that a lot of what you’ve learned about copywriting will help to make you an even better content writer.
Content gives the reader a reason to visit the website or company’s Instagram feed, YouTube page, etc. again and again. And, of course, the more they interact with the company in these ways, the more likely they are to turn to the company when they would like to purchase something. This builds a relationship between the brand (the client for whom you’re writing) and the reader (the potential buyer).
Using your copywriting skills, it will be up to you to create strategic content that furthers the company’s goals and is useful to the reader.
Watch this video for more on what makes copywriting different than content writing, why content writing is known as a churn-and-burn industry, and how copywriters can charge their full copywriting rates for content projects.
Why Content Writers Make Less Than Copywriters
Content writing can often pay less than copywriting. There are plenty of jobs offering content work at $0.05 a word. (Stay away from these jobs!) Companies have come to expect to get content writing services cheaply.
Part of the reason is the proliferation of unskilled “writers” in the market. Many people erroneously think content writing does not require any expertise. On top of that, companies want (and even expect) to get content writing services cheaply. These companies also don’t even know how to screen for a certain skill level and so, the market is flooded.
Content writing benefits from expertise, too, and if you’re going to do this kind of writing, then you should be charging your copywriting rate.
Content writing can (and should be) strategic, which is where your training as a copywriter comes into play. You know how to focus on benefits, speak to your target audience, and inspire action in your readers—and content that is built with that strategy is more effective.
Why Copywriters Are Paid Well
Copywriting, on the other hand, pays well because it requires a higher level of skill and often directly translates to helping a client increase revenue. Of course, there will ALWAYS be some clients that try to get great copywriters for cheap, just as there are always people trying to get anything for cheap. But in the professional world, clients are generally willing to pay well for good copywriting.
So, all of this is why I teach copywriting: it’s more challenging, more interesting, more versatile and it pays better. If you want to make six figures as a copywriter? It’s absolutely possible.
What Copywriters Charge for Content Writing
Skilled writers produce more effective content than unskilled writers and should command higher rates. So, what does a copywriter charge for content work?
Copywriters writing content should charge their copywriting rates.
Why? Because clients are getting the extra level of strategy and insight that our copywriting training has given us. That insight is now infused into their content and content strategy.
And, just as with your copywriting projects, you should charge for content projects by the project—not by the word.
Professional copywriters do not charge by the word. Why? Because copywriting isn’t 100% about writing: It is one-third concepting, one-third writing, and one-third editing/making revisions. Therefore, charging by the word means you don’t get paid anything for two-thirds of the copywriting work you do!
Just as with copy, writing more for the sake of writing more does not make a piece of content more effective.
Sure, some clients may want to find content from other (read: cheaper) sources. Best of luck to them!. My clients respect my skill and what I have to offer to their company, and they are willing to pay for it. Yours should, too.
You deserve to work with clients who are willing to pay according to your level of skill. Don’t settle for less than you’re worth!
Again, almost all professional copywriters also write content. It brings a welcome variety to your day—and your portfolio!
Becoming a copywriter doesn’t mean that you’ll never write blog posts again if that’s what you like to do. It means that you’ll write them better and you’ll command higher rates for your services. And that’s a win for both you and your client.
If you’re a copywriter looking to add content writing to the services you offer clients, watch this video before getting started. (And, make sure you’re charging your copywriter rates!)
If you’re someone who loves writing, it is possible to offer both copywriting and content writing to your clients. You’ll just want to make sure you have the copywriting training that will enable you to offer your content clients even more value (and be able to charge accordingly!). One Comprehensive Copywriting student, Dori, was a content writer in the travel space before discovering copywriting. Watch here journey here >>
Have you tried both copywriting and content writing? Which do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on May 2, 2023
I just wanted to drop you a line. Your website was recommended to me by someone in a facebook group, and in the 10 minutes I’ve been here I have found invaluable information. I am a ” newbie”, and wow is the volume of info out there overwhelming. With a capital O! Already I have found answers to questions that to an experienced writer may seem simple, but to me… just what I wanted to read.
I have some pretty big “why’s” for making this leap into freelance writing, and they are my biggest influence but it can definitely feel overwhelming at times. Thanks for putting out some great info!!
Nicki Krawczyk says
Thanks for reaching out – I’m so glad you’re finding our site useful! We work very hard to make everything we put out there actionable and helpful. (And if you haven’t yet, sign up for our email list – we send along a lot of resources there, too.)
Any time you start out doing anything new, it will feel overwhelming (and, likely, also frustrating and scary and daunting). That’s actually a pretty good sign that you’re on the right path. All of the best things in life happen outside of our comfort zone.
In which Facebook group were we recommended, do you remember?
Thanks for commenting!