Content writing or copywriting? Learn the difference – and how to pick the right professional for the job

From blogposts to email campaigns and websites to ad posters, it’s clear that successful marketing requires text. A lot of text. And people to write it. But did you know that there are (at least) two types of professional involved in this: content writers and copywriters? We’ll demonstrate the differences and explain how to identify the crème de la crème of each profession.

They both create copy, and they’re both part of the marketing business. They have similar jobs, but the devil is in the details. So who are content writers and copywriters, and why do we need them both?

In a nutshell: because different texts have different goals. Whether you’re a company looking for content creation services or a freelancer trying to get a foothold in the business, it helps to know what each service aims to achieve. That’s the easiest way to ensure you’re getting marketing texts that are perfectly tailored to your needs – or to sell them.

So what exactly is the difference between the two jobs? And which professional is right for which goal? Never fear: we’ve got an overview for you.

Content writer vs. copywriter: the differences

So what does this mean for me?

Which professional you choose will depend on the purpose of your text. What effect do you want to have on readers? Do you want to provide them with information as a service, and to gradually approach leads over a longer period of time? Or do you need to convince customers of your product or idea immediately and motivate them to make a purchase or get in contact?

Each service focuses on a different stage in the marketing funnel. Take this blogpost: it’s the perfect example of content writing. It informs readers while creating awareness and interest in the topic, which means that we’re right at the top of the funnel. Copywriting belongs lower down, where the audience is already considering a purchase. At this stage, you can create desire and action with a banner ad, for example.

Copywriting on its own is pushy. Content writing on its own won’t get readers buying. So for a successful content marketing strategy, you’ll need both (and possibly a UX professional as well, depending on where your texts are being used).

In general, the more content and value you’re offering and the more loyal your target group already is to your brand, the better your sales pitch will work. In other words, the content writer makes the copywriter’s job easier, while the copywriter offers the extra persuasive push that gets customers over the line.

And what skills do they each need?

Content writers and copywriters have differing aims, which means differing specializations, talents and mindsets. But there are also a few key similarities: both are marketing professionals with top-notch writing skills. And both understand the brand’s identity, language and target group down to the ground.

Content writers keep readers on board for the long haul. They know how to write compelling content, and have both broad and deep knowledge of a range of subjects, a talent for research and strong SEO expertise.

Copywriters, on the other hand, get readers moving – usually towards the “Add to cart” button. Their copy is like a snack – it’s quick and easy to consume, and it gives readers what they need in the moment. It gets your message across, even when space is limited. To achieve that, copywriters require empathy with their audience and a ton of creative ideas.

While there are a few unicorns out there who have mastered both content writing and copywriting, our experience shows that most people tend to be stronger in one area. Recognizing those strengths makes it easier for both buyers and providers to find the perfect match for their needs.

So who’s going to write your success story? Get in touch with us and we’ll find out together.

Cover image via iStock

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