copywriter for coaches

The ACTUAL Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing — and Why it Matters

Strategic Marketing

August 5, 2021

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I write for a living—so the difference between copywriting and content writing is obvious to me (I’ve done both for many years). But—understandably!—it isn’t to most…

I always see these terms being used interchangeably and am often asked what—if anything—is the actual difference between copywriting and content writing?

Spoiler alert: The difference is major!

So today, I’m breaking these two terms down to explain the key differences, where you’re likely already using copywriting and content writing, and how to improve both.

Let’s do this! 😍

Free Conversion Copywriting Checklist

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is literally the practice writing of “copy”—which is basically text that’s been written with one intention → converting.

But while the goal of copywriting is to convert, it’s important to note that doesn’t just mean sales. Sure, it can be monetary conversions, but copy can also be written with the goal of…

  • Booking a discovery call
  • Signing up for a freebie
  • Joining an email list
  • Etc.

When someone is writing copy, they want something in return from their reader. Copywriters intentionally craft messaging to persuade a reader to follow through with whatever that want is.

Here are some places you might see the work of a copywriter: 

  • Ads (both online and off, such as on a website or on a billboard)
  • Websites
  • Email campaigns
  • Brochures
  • Sales pages (the pages where a program or master class is sold)
  • Landing pages (the pages where you promote your free event or lead magnet)
  • Slogans
  • Taglines
  • Social media (sometimes—especially when describing a program or other call to action)

In short, copywriting is the art of selling.

Copywrite vs. copyright?! 

As covered above, copywriting involves the process of writing copy that sells something.

On the other hand, copyrighting involves legally trademarking something as your own.

 Though they sound the same, they’re two completely different words with COMPLETELY different meanings. 

Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing

What is content writing?

Content writing is the art of providing value to readers either through information, storytelling, entertainment, or education. 

Though there might be a goal for the piece (like establishing a relationship with the author in hopes that you will become a client,) content writing doesn’t involve a conversion-based call to action. 

Here are some places you might see content writing:

  • Blog posts and articles (like the one you’re reading now 😉)
  • Email newsletters (not campaigns)
  • Infographics
  • Ebooks
  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • Press releases
  • Product descriptions
  • Social media (sometimes)

The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing

The major difference between copywriting and content writing is the goal of each. 

The goal of copywriting is to motivate the reader to take action (such as buy something, sign up for a freebie, book a call, etc.). 

The goal of content writing, on the other hand, is to provide value—to educate and inform the reader.

Here’s a quick example of each:

As a copywriter for coaches, when I write copy for my clients, the goal is to sell that brand to its specific target audience. 

So, for instance, if I’m working on a sales page, the purpose of what I’m writing is to inspire someone to take action and buy that product or sign up for that program. 

Alternatively, when I write content to provide value to the reader, I’m NOT looking for a conversion of any kind. 

The goal is to educate, entertain, or inform the reader for the purpose of gaining their trust or establishing my credibility 

While I may include a call to action encouraging engagement (“comment below if you feel the same!”-type thing) I’m not writing this piece of content to directly encourage a transaction of any kind (a sale, exchanging an email address for a freebie, etc.).

Make sense? 

copywriting and content writing

Here’s another real-life look at each to help clarify the difference:

Copywriting Example from my Website

If you want to take your coaching biz to the next level…your current unstructured website copy written with zero strategy will not cut it. Let me say that again—it just won’t get you there.  

For high-end clients and prospects to take you seriously and feel good about your signature offers, you need a website that reflects those high-end transformational results that you produce in your biz. 

Quit holding yourself back and start seeing the massive difference a website that tells your story and naturally takes readers on the journey from basic browser to brand-obsessed can make in your biz.

SHOW ME THE SALES!

Conversion Copywriting Checklist

Content Writing Example from my Website

Each launch-related email you send your list will have a specific role with a specific purpose. Whether you’re using an email to showcase social proof and build trust or to elicit a sense of urgency or scarcity, every email you send should have a goal.

With that being said, all those emails can be broken down into three different phases. 

Here are the three types of emails you should be implementing to take your next launch from so-so to sold out:

The difference…

For each of the pieces of text above, the end goal is to gain clients. 

HOWEVER, the first passage directly motivates the reader to take action while the second warms the reader up to the idea via education and connection.

Though the terms copywriting and content writing are often used interchangeably, there’s a big difference between the two when you start to get technical.

It’s important to keep this distinction in mind when you’re…

1) Planning branded copy or content. 

2) Writing copy or content of your own.

3) Looking for someone to write copy or content for you.

What Now?

If you’re completely stuck when it comes to copywriting, don’t stress—I gotchu! 

Here are some action steps to take next:

  1. Ensure your copy is ready to publish and, more importantly, ready to convert, by downloading this freebie >>> Your Conversion Copywriting Checklist.

    This bad boy will help you feel confident when putting your words out into the world to be read by potential clients!
  2. For more juicy insight on how to make land clients, increase conversions, and build your brand with copywriting, explore the rest of the blog!
  3. Ready to quit the small talk and start seeing results? Book a FREE Copy Consult Call with me!

    Let’s chat and see where conversion copy will make the biggest difference in your biz 🥂

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Love Notes

"Wowza! I knew from previously working with Mackenzie, that she’s a true expert at her craft, but she continues to blow me away.

We’ve trusted Mack for every phase of a launch, and let me tell you—the natural humor & wit Mack is able to seamlessly weave into our copy in a way that instantly lets the reader know we *get* them WHILE remaining clear and strategic, is unlike anything I’ve seen before. 

Plus, not only is what Mack delivers packed with the perfect punch of personality (gifs and all), but it usually requires no edits.
She nails it with the first draft, saving us tons of time.

shannon matson
 founder of the social bungalow

Basically, working with Mack is a total game-changer.

If you’re looking for that upper echelon sales copy that positions your offer as *the* one, you need to work with the Hot Copy Haus."

“After I met Mackenzie, I realized that writing and copywriting is not the same thing.
One will make you bank money and the other won’t. 

After only a 90-minute breakdown call, Mack was able to write copy that encapsulates my personality and who I am and transmitted that to my people. I just can't recommend her enough. 

Don't think about it. I thought about it for too long and I honestly regret not having invested in her a year ago.

Anna-Christina Gustafson | Business coach

It’s such a sound investment and you're going to get back every penny that you invest.”

“If you’ve been sitting in the copywriting spiral wishing that someone could jump into your brain and just get it, Mackenzie is your answer—trust me, she fucking gets it! Wow did she deliver and then some!  

I had worked with previous copywriters and was worried she wouldn’t be able to nail my voice—that my authenticity wouldn’t show through. But Mack absolutely smashed it.

Nicole Cienne | Bliss Coach

My copy sounded exactly like me but soooo much better.
 Mack brought life to my true voice AND the voice I’d been afraid to use!”

I couldn’t be more grateful for her expertise and inspiration to show up as my baddie-boss-betch self. Also, she makes me literally LOL which makes the entire writing process fun and enjoyable (instead of painful and overwhelming). 

Seriously, her services/offers are THE best business investments I’ve ever made, hands fucking down.

kierstin cifelli | fitness & nutrition coach

Mackenzie is above and beyond amazing at putting my ideas into words that ATTRACT and SELL.
She over-delivers EVERY. Damn. Time. 

“This was the first time that I had outsourced copywriting, so I was very nervous to make this investment but it was 100% worth it. Every single penny.

Lauren Taylar | Website Designer

I was just blown away. Mackenzie really knows how to capture your brand voice, really make it sound like you, and pack it with personality. 

So if you're thinking of working with Mackenzie, you should totally do it. She's amazing. She's super talented, and it's going to be a really great investment.”

“When it comes to copywriting, Mackenzie knows exactly how to get clarity on your brand voice and how to convey that in your messaging. 

Megumi fujita | embodiment coach

Mack’s able to meet and bridge that gap of where my audiences are and what I want to convey. 

And there's nothing more exciting than to know that someone cares SO much about what you're producing that they make it their own job—they make it a priority to show up and to make it pizzazz and succeed

So what else could I say about Mackenzie except that she is phenomenal and you would be a sucker to not hire her.”

She’s such a genius with all things messaging, positioning, the nitty gritty of specific types of sales copy that you need in your business. 

And honestly, there’s just nobody who sums up better and more succinctly and actionably exactly how to formulate words that sell and copy that converts.

CAIT SCUDDER | BUSINESS COACH

“Mackenzie is literally one of the most genius copy/messaging magicians of anybody that I’ve worked with in the online space. 

This woman, everything that she touches turns to gold.
I highly recommend!”

Investing in 1:1 coaching with Mack has been the best thing I’ve done for my business. After silently stalking her for a while, I reached out and immediately knew my business would never be the same again.

kait cozzens | copywriter

As a copywriter myself, I was looking to learn from THE best.
And Mack’s it.

Her wit, passion, and knowledge are unmatched. Also, she’s just so much fucking fun!

I have so much more confidence in my abilities and she has been a huge part of that. I can’t think of a reason you wouldn’t invest in her coaching.