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Stacey Cavagnetto

Content writer vs copywriter – what’s the difference?

4th May 2020 Content Marketing 4 minutes to read

Are different forms of content writing all just the same thing?

It’s easy to assume that a Content Writer and a Copywriter are both the same thing. They both write words used in online and offline content, so surely they’re just fancy names for what is essentially a writer?

We’d like to explain that’s not entirely the case, as when you break it down, there are some very different aspects to these writing roles and content writing in general. Although they both act as a cornerstone for the other; think of them as two different sides of the same coin, there are also some very clear differences (but also a collection of similarities too).

Let’s explore the answers from a traditional marketing perspective…

What is a Content Writer?

The simple answer (which we’re sure you’ve already come to gather on your own), is that they write content. Content Writers create a range of different content types using written word; usually long form, in depth content that’s also optimised for search engines.

When a Content Writer creates a piece of content, they’ll be considering the use of keywords, meta data, and how shares and links to the piece will amplify their content. A Content Writer can also be known to create ‘evergreen content’; articles, blog posts, newspaper pieces, magazine features, whitepapers and any other types of long form content, off of which have no time limit on their relevancy.

Content Writers can be quite journalistic in nature too, with editorial copy tightly in their remit, generally writing pieces of content with longer word counts and intricate details – these authoritative pieces perform better when being shared online too.

After reading the above you might be wondering how that’s any different from a Copywriter. Let us explain…

What is a Copywriter?

A Copywriter is similar in that they also focus on content writing. However, Copywriters are usually used as advertising vehicles, typically specialising in short form copy, think straplines, headlines or press ads.

Now that’s not to say that Copywriters shouldn’t have long form copy in their arsenal. In fact, what we’re seeing is a transition of Copywriters to Web Writers in marketing, such as display advertising, creating an even stronger online presence. Over time, these will naturally migrate to Content Writers.

Copywriters are praised for the creation and ideation of words in campaigns, where the marketing material is used to persuade a person or a group to think or act a particular way or promote a specific ideology. This is generally achieved in short-form copy or storytelling, evoking emotion and a personal connection with the audience; it also lends itself to a humorous or jovial tone – perfect for straplines or headers. In fact, for a Copywriter, brevity is vital.

That being said, there is a cross over in responsibilities.

How Do Content Writers and Copywriters Work?

Arguably, they’re two of the same and in no uncertain terms is one easier than the other as a profession. However, there are a variety of differences that seem to be overlooked and these can come in handy if perhaps you’re looking to hire a writer for specific work.

Aside from what we’ve already covered, further differences between the two lies with the submittal deadlines. Although this isn’t always definitive, Content Writers appear to have longer lead-times than Copywriters. Their work is a result of well-planned content with the help of road maps, timelines and content calendars. Copywriters can be called on at the last minute to provide copy. Whilst being agile and reactive should be in both skill sets, Copywriters are less likely to plan in their workload as concisely as a Content Writer.

Saying this, Content Writers should not remove working to tight deadlines from their skill set either and Copywriters won’t always have the luxury of a working extension.

Going forward, Content Writers and Copywriters must combine forces to successfully build traffic, create relationships with customers and consumers and ultimately build their brand. So, although they have slightly different responsibilities, it’s vital to consider both when building websites. However, as Copywriters grow to combine strategic writing with great content, they may just have the best of both worlds. As the term Content Writer is still in its infancy, maybe we’ll begin to see a cross over as it evolves further.

What Do You Think?

Do you agree with how these two content writing terms have been split? Are you a writer and feel that it’s more about perspective, or do you think they are much of the same and a Content Writer is just marketing jargon – probably at some point thought up by a Copywriter?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below!

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Stacey Parsons

Content Marketing Executive

You’ll find Stacey shooting hoops on the netball court, that is if she’s not binge watching something on Netflix. She likes to keep herself on her toes, whether it’s from 15 years of ballet, or terrifying herself with a horror movie. Not that any of that would keep her from sleeping; she relates strongly to the ever-drowsy Koala as she’s a big fan of snoozing.

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