affiliate marketing vs copywriting

Affiliate marketing or copywriting? I believe you must have come across this question once as an online entrepreneur and you must have once cast your doubt on which is an effective business model to make money online.

Well, over the years on the internet, I have come to realize that the two most popular internet careers are affiliate marketing and copywriting. What remains vague is which is the better revenue generator between the two.

While the two concepts frequently get mixed up, they have significant similarities and dissimilarities.

Fortunately, you will discover the discrepancies or similarities between them today and can make a well-informed decision on which one to capitalize on.

Along the line of settling the scores between affiliate marketing and copywriting, you’ll discover the following details with enthusiasm:

  • The main distinctions between the two lucrative internet career paths
  • The overlapping elements of Affiliate marketing and copywriting
  • Which one to go for when you are ready to dive in?

Summary on Affiliate marketing vs. Copywriting

Affiliate marketingCopywriting
In affiliate marketing, you promote other people’s products or services by sharing on a website, social media, podcast, email list, blog, etc.The act or profession of writing text or content for marketing or knowledge-sharing purpose is known as copywriting.
An affiliate commission is paid every time a customer uses the unique affiliate link connected to their recommendation to make a purchase.Copywriters are paid by clients whether through hourly rates, by project, or by salaries. 
You have some time freedom as you are not trading your time for money. It is time-dependent. There is a limit to the amount of copywriting tasks you can take on in a month.
Takes time to start making money (livable income)It is a faster way to make money online if you already know how to write.

Ready? Let’s begin right away.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the art or process of creating persuasive promotional and marketing materials that encourage people to take action, such as reading through the content, making a purchase, clicking on a link, donating, or scheduling a consultation.

This could mean anything ranging from signing up for an email list, and picking up coupons, to actually buying products. Written promotions accepted for publication in print or online media can be included in this category.

While the world of copywriting has gone far beyond printed materials, it can also include spoken materials, such as scripts for videos, vlogs, YouTube, or commercials. It is an all-rounder now.

Therefore, the texts in the manuscripts are referred to as “copy,” thus the term “copywriting.” You may not notice it, but the truth is that copywriting is all around you.

Is there any difference between copywriting and content writing?

Some sources you may have read or heard claim that content writing and copywriting are two entirely different things.

There is some truth to this statement, but we’ll explain where the line between the two begins to blur.

Copywriting generally refers to the creation of promotional and marketing materials. In contrast, content writing describes the creation of informative or opinionated pages for web pages, such as blog entries, articles, or product pages.

Each term’s definition is accurate in this passage.

However, some definitions imply that content creation or writing is not copywriting because it is purely informative and lacks a persuasive component.

As a writer and online marketer, I personally reject this distinction for several reasons.

Almost all website pages will contain some sort of call to action or persuasion.

This is especially obvious on all product pages bearing a customized button with “Buy Now!” at the bottom.

What is more, an article on a blog contains subtly worded calls to action, usually hyperlinks to related pages or suggestions for other website sections you might find interesting.

All of these are persuasive strategies. Therefore, it is false to say that copywriting and content writing are separate disciplines.

Like any great copywriting out there, content writing also aims to captivate readers and compel them to act in some way, even if that action is as simple as sticking around to read more of a website.

Content writing is just another form of copywriting.

And you’ll almost undoubtedly find a perfect fit for your skills in the noble copywriting industry, regardless of your background or personal interests.

Copywriting pros and cons

From the preceding, one will realize that copywriting differs from other forms of writing. Crafting compelling ads or marketing content for businesses is essentially what it is. 

While some may believe it to be a simple and easy profession to enter, not everyone is a good fit. Here are some pros and cons of working as a copywriter.


  • Lots of work or gig opportunities
  • Several niches to write on
  • It entails a lot of creativity
  • Flexibility

1. Lots of work or gig opportunities

One of the pros of copywriting is the availability of enough gigs or writing assignments in the industry. Everyone needs written communication, including businesses, organizations, and small businesses. 

And most importantly, business executives are either too busy, dislike writing, or write poorly. Hence, the need to hire in-house writers or independent copywriters to do the writing for them excellently.

2. Several niches to write on

There are many niches in the copywriting industry. You can consider writing about the spotted reddish frog, or you may write about finance, politics, health care, or travel destinations. 

All kinds usually require good writing prowess of organizations. Most copywriters eventually identify a niche, honing their abilities and building a resume in that field.

One of my friends who write copy focuses only on writing for law firms, lawyers, and legal topics. Another one often refers to herself as “The Dental Copywriter,” and I have a fellow writer that enjoys writing for SaaS companies.

3. It entails a lot of fun and creativity.

Even the most boring copywriting projects can be enjoyable if you enjoy writing. Moreover, as the market expands and changes, copywriters, have the chance to acquire the skills necessary for various new writing projects.

Social media was, without doubt, in its infant stage ten years ago, but today, businesses now dedicate entire team positions to writing for social media. Creativity at its peak makes this possible for copywriters.

4. Flexibility

Businesses appoint writers as staff members for their creative divisions, turning copywriting into a full-time position with advantages for many. But freelancing can be just as lucrative, if not more so. 

Copywriters are allowed to work for the clients of their choice on their schedule and from home or one office to another.

5. Your writing skills are your certificate.

The fact that anyone can achieve their goal of becoming a copywriter with enough effort is another clear advantage of copywriting. 

You don’t need a college degree for well-paying work as a copywriter. Take classes, receive feedback, examine various copy forms, and begin compiling a portfolio.


  • Writing fatigue is inevitable
  • Limitation to creativity
  • Project deadlines and submission dates can be tight or stressful.

1. Writing fatigue is unavoidable.

Even when the writing muse is absent, copywriters must keep churning out quality material for their clients or employers. Producing copies daily can become tiresome. This is a fact that no copywriter can deny.

Furthermore, the best writers are aware that they cannot write for hours on end without first replenishing their “creative tank.” The result of this would be burnout and nothing else.

2. Limitations on creativity

Another con of copywriting is the limitation of creativity. Your boss or a client often requires brochure content. You have a fantastic suggestion for a novel strategy. He wants to maintain the organization’s standard viewpoint. 

A good copywriter uses the client’s parameters, not his own, to determine how to fulfill the client’s needs. Copywriters must incorporate their unique preferences into their work.

3. Project deadlines and submission dates can be tight or stressful.

Working as a freelance copywriter can be stressful sometimes. This is usually caused by tight deadlines or early submission dates that are not feasible in the real sense of the word.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a kind of business model that involves promoting other people’s goods, products, or services in exchange for a specific commission on each click, sale, or lead generated.

In essence, affiliate marketing can be best described as the process of promoting someone’s brand ( it could be goods, products, or services) by sharing it on social media platforms, blogs, email lists, podcasts, or websites. 

It is usually done via affiliate networks, from which you can register to promote different companies’ products. Each time someone purchases through the unique affiliate link related to their recommendation, the affiliate receives a commission.

That is to say, it’s a pay-for-performance marketing or promotional arrangement, which means you only earn if your actions result in a sale. Some affiliate programs reward their affiliate publishers with leads, clicks to their blog, free-trial users, or getting free downloads of an app.

Most affiliate marketing programs are totally free to join. If done right, such an affiliate marketing model can metamorphose from a side hustle to a profitable and effective online business idea by giving you a steady and healthy income.

Affiliate commission rates differ depending on the business and the offer. On the low end, you’ll earn about 5% of the sale, but with specific arrangements or plans, you can earn up to 50% of the deal while promoting a class or event. 

In addition, affiliate programs pay a fixed rate per sale rather than a percentage. It is up to you to do your research and understand the arrangements before you register for one.

Some of the famous and highly patronized affiliate networks are Amazon Associates, eBay Partner Network, Clickbank, ShareASale, GiddyUp, etc.

Affiliate marketing pros and cons

A staggering 84% of publishers use affiliate marketing to find new ways to increase website traffic and create unique content.

Affiliate marketing expenditures in the US alone totaled $4.8 billion in 2016, outpacing Belize’s economy by a factor of two, and it is anticipated that this figure will exceed $8 billion by 2022.

Considering these statistics and figures, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of affiliate marketing.


  • Multimillion-dollar business opportunity
  • Low-cost business idea
  • No expertise needed
  • Alternate source of income
  • Convenience and flexibility
  • Flexible work hour schedule

1. Million-dollar Business

As has already been stated earlier, affiliate marketing is a multimillion-dollar industry that is prospering quite well. This, undoubtedly, happens to be one of the main pros of affiliate marketing. 

2. Low-Cost Business Idea

Unquestionably, one of the undisputed benefits of affiliate marketing programs is that there are virtually no entry barriers, making it a relatively straightforward industry. It just comes down to what you decide to do.

To become an affiliate marketer, you might build an affiliate marketing site (although you can also do it without one), select an interesting niche, and then select a specific product or product that is appropriate for you to market. 

Then, all you need to do to get started is sign up for a particular affiliate marketing program. Simple, isn’t it?

3. No Expertise Needed 

To become an affiliate, you don’t immediately need to be an expert in marketing. The good thing about it is that you can pick up tips along the line by experimenting with different paid and organic campaigns. 

4. Alternate Source of Income

You don’t necessarily have to quit your current job to start working as an affiliate marketer. You can work on it as a side hustle and see how much you can get from it within the first few months.

5. Convenience and Flexibility

In practice, you can set up multiple campaigns on various affiliate websites to promote your affiliate links to abandon the poor performers and optimize the winners.

You also don’t have to limit yourself to just one affiliate marketing opportunity. Choose a few products from a specific niche (or test several niches if you’re unsure which one to promote) and start promoting them.

6. Flexible Working Schedule

With a work-from-home business, you create your daily working schedule and favorable framework. So, if something unexpected arises, such as a friend’s wedding or family errands, you can make time for it.


  • No control over affiliate program
  • No control over your competition
  • You can’t build a customer base

1. You have little or no control over affiliate marketing programs.

Because you do not own affiliate networks, you must rely on existing ones. In this manner, you rely entirely on your merchant’s rules and must adhere to their terms.

A program that appears appealing at first may become less competitive over time, but you’ll not be able to change the terms yourself; all you can do is communicate the need for additional adjustments relating to the affiliate offers. Then wait for the merchant to make the necessary changes.

I have had some of my affiliate partners cancel or shut down their programs, this is just one of the downsides of affiliate marketing.

2. You have no control over your competition.

The level of competition varies by industry. Many dive into affiliate marketing because it offers many advantages, including low investment costs, high-profit potential, and no expertise required. 

The fierce competition among highly skilled affiliate marketers in the same niche is an obvious threat to your performance and a significant disadvantage.

But you shouldn’t be alarmed by this. Have in mind that you will always find a lower competitive niche.

3. You Can’t Build a Customer Base

The truth is that a repeat customer will never buy from you again once a referral is made. Of course, he’ll go to the affiliate vendor directly to repeat the previous transaction. 

That is the effect of affiliate marketing. You commit to generating new leads regularly unless you market affiliate products that offer recurring commissions.

How much money can you make with affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the great ways to make a passive and recurring income online. With affiliate-oriented brands like Wirecutter sold for $30 million or thereabouts, it’s pretty simple to understand why.

But the question is, how much money can one make as an average affiliate marketer? I will provide a statistically backed answer to this question today.

But before then, let’s begin by outlining how affiliate marketing allows you to make money. 

To begin with, the owners of the affiliate marketing program will inform you of the requirements for commission earning after you sign up for it. 

For instance, it might be urging someone to download a free trial, sign up for newsletters, make an appointment, or, most of the time, purchase a good or service.

You’ll also receive a one-of-a-kind affiliate link to add to your content. When someone clicks on the affiliate link and completes the required action, the program owner will be notified that the buyer came from you. 

You will be paid based on the action taken by the customer and the type of commission or incentive plan you agreed upon.

Now, it is essential to state that there are two distinct ways to be compensated for your efforts:

Percentage of sales – You are paid a portion of the sale amount whenever people click on the affiliate link and make purchases or services. The amount varies according to the business, program plan, and product price.

 Flat fee: You earn a specific amount of money (usually fixed) for each customer or lead you generate. It looks pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? The issues arise when comparing commission rates between various niches and even programs in the same industry, as the rates can vary greatly.

If we look at a few SaaS and software affiliate programs, we will discover that commission fees of $50 to $100 are by no means unusual.

For example, the web hosting company Kinsta offers up to $500 for each referral in addition to a 10% recurring percentage for as long as the client or consumer buys their services. 

The commission rates for banking services are also quite alluring; CIT Bank pays its affiliates $100 for each qualified lead they refer.

What about physical goods? The commission rates here might appear so low that they’re practically unprofitable. For instance, you can make between 1% and 10% commission with Amazon, depending on the product type. In the fitness and health market, commission rates range from 1% to 50%.

We’ll get to the numbers now; how much does an affiliate typically make in a year? According to PayScale, an affiliate marketer typically earns $51,700 annually. The top affiliates earn around $71k annually, compared to low-tier marketers’ average earnings of $38k.

Glassdoor’s studies provide even higher figures for affiliate marketing earnings. The lower end of the range is $42,00 per year, and the upper end is $83k per year. The average basic salary is $65,356 per year. 

And in this case, we are only discussing the typical affiliate income. Top affiliate earners like Pat Flynn, Missy Wards, and Finch Sells make significantly more money than that.

How much money can you make with copywriting? 

I can attest that copywriting is a respectable and lucrative career path because I have friends who have earned six figures in the industry as a freelancer. Your income, like that of all professions, will typically depend on a few different things. 

Specifically, your years of experience, where you live, and the career path you select (freelance, agency, or in-house). 

Additionally, you can anticipate making more money if you write for well-known companies or influential individuals than if you write for sole proprietors or small businesses.

For example, since 1997, Clayton Makepeace has consistently made $3 million from copywriting royalties.

And more so, in the US, the median pay for copywriters is $52,348 per year, according to data from But The Balance also conducted a study to gauge the pay range of copywriters. 

They discovered that the average annual wage for the leading 10% of copywriters is $118,760 ($57.10/hour). However, the least paid 10% of copywriters typically make around $30,520 per year ($14.67 per hour).

Which should you go for?

Both copywriting and affiliate marketing have the potential to grow one idea into a successful business model with sound and recurring revenue streams. But which should you pursue?

Copywriting could be a good fit if you enjoy coming up with original ideas and are good at writing persuasively.

You can work for a business as an in-house copywriter or freelancer. And once you have a strong portfolio of samples, it’s not too difficult to find work.

For instance, websites like Indeed, Fiverr, Upwork, etc., have many high-paying copywriting jobs.

Affiliate marketing might be a better fit for you if you enjoy finding and promoting products and are more concerned with its business aspect.

You can launch an affiliate marketing site and advertise goods from various businesses.

Additionally, you can sign up for affiliate programs and build brand awareness for companies on your social media platforms.

Copywriting and affiliate marketing both make excellent sources of income. Which is better and ideal for you depends on your interests, abilities, and goals.

Why don’t you try both if you’re unsure where to begin? Until you discover which one you prefer most, you can always work as a freelancer with one and pursue it full-time with the other.

The verdict on affiliate marketing vs copywriting

Here’s the deal if you’re trying to determine and choose the best online career for yourself between copywriting and affiliate marketing:

The best passive income comes from affiliate marketing. You essentially market a product, earn commissions, and keep doing it. Contrarily, copywriting necessitates constant effort to continue making money. 

I don’t mean to imply that you wouldn’t work while developing an affiliate business; there is just a line of demarcation between the two in this regard.

Affiliate marketing will be a perfect fit for you if you want to develop a wide range of practical business skills and generate passive income. On the other hand, copywriting is a faster way to start making money online right away. 

If you want to begin your affiliate marketing journey, you can watch this free affiliate marketing training.

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