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  • Writer's pictureLucie

Content vs Copy - What's the Difference?

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

When looking for a writer to help support your brand, you may come across a couple of options. Namely, copy and content writers. But what's the difference? And does it matter?

Starting from scratch, a copywriter is someone who generally writes in short form for advertising purposes. This writing is snappy, eye-catching and compelling, designed to make the reader take action. Whether it's signing up for a seminar, visiting a brand's website or buying a new product, there will always be a clear call to action. For example, a billboard ad is copy, often with a direct instruction for the reader to take action.

Content writing revolves more around storytelling to educate and entertain the reader. There's not always a clear call to action at the end, other than the aim of imparting knowledge to the reader. It may still lead to sales, but in a more indirect way. For example, a brand might share a newsletter with its followers each month. Off the back of this content in the newsletter, the reader may be inspired to engage with the brand and buy a product or service. But they won't necessarily have been asked to do this directly in the newsletter.

And are the two mutually exclusive? No. They both interlink and interchange. At the end of the day, content writing, though not always pushing a direct call to action, is still geared to an end result and brand agenda.

It's easy to split the two apart by thinking of copy as 'selling' and content as 'telling.' In other terms, think about the content that sits on YouTube. The ads you watch at the start of a video are very much selling you a product and likely written by copywriters. The content you then watch, whether it's a cooking video or learning how to make a table, is all likely written by a content writer. This content might be based around scripts, weaving in the brand story, whilst also taking the viewer on a journey.

Some writers will specialise in either content or copy, but it's not unusual for writers to span both skillsets. I have written both copy and content for clients across the likes of adverts and product descriptions to blogs and newsletters. And of course the two can crossover. Homepage and website content is all written to inspire a call to action from the consumer, but also to develop a relationship between the reader and the brand.

Generally speaking though, it's likely any writer you work with will have a preferred focus. Personally, I tend to find the longer form pieces of content more interesting. Sitting down and researching the history of cocktails or the latest at-home cooking trends, is both a passion and a professional focus.

So next time you're looking for a writer to support your marketing efforts, there's one good question to ask yourself. Do I want to tell my customer a story about my brand or do I want to sell a product or service more directly? Then you'll have your answer and be able to brief in your chosen writer clearly to deliver the best work for you - whether it's copy or content orientated.

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