What’s the difference between a content writer and a copywriter?

If you need some fresh content for your website or blog, want to re-vamp your product descriptions, or are planning some new marketing materials, you might be wondering whether you need to hire a content writer or a copywriter.

The good news is that our content writing services cover both content writing and copywriting, so you can just send us your requirements and we’ll work out the rest for you.

However, if you want to understand the difference between content writing and copywriting services, all is about to become clear.

Website content writing and copywriting

The main difference between a content writer and a copywriter

While both content writers and copywriters are responsible for producing content, the difference lies in the purpose of the content they produce.

A content writer produces content aimed at engaging and informing readers, often as part of a content marketing strategy to attract people to a website. This can be in the form of blog posts, articles, whitepapers, press releases, and many other kinds of content. They’ll usually write with SEO in mind, too.

A copywriter, on the other hand, focuses much more on advertising and conventional marketing. The purpose of their writing is to directly promote a brand and its products or services. This could include things like product descriptions, landing pages, email marketing, catalogues, and paid ads – generally much shorter pieces. A copywriter needs to grab the attention of readers and then entice them to take a particular action, all without being too wordy.

The role of a copywriter

Copywriters must be skilled at writing persuasively to achieve a particular result – be it a sale, an email signup or a webinar registration. They are, essentially, advertising and selling through writing.

It’s not enough for a copywriter just to say something interesting or thought-provoking, as a content writer might. In addition to that, copy needs to use the brand voice to steer the reader towards a call to action. Achieving this can be tough when space (and the attention span of the reader) is limited.

The role of a content writer

You could liken content writing to traditional journalism. Content writers must identify a story or hook for their piece, craft their content, and present it in a way which makes it interesting to read and – if they are any good – builds them a following of interested readers.

When it comes to the online world, content writers are usually tasked with writing content in line with a company’s content marketing strategy. Companies employ content writers to help them grow their audience and build their authority as a brand. They want content that is shareable and has the potential to go viral.

Whereas copywriting is all about snappy straplines and persuasive sales techniques, web content is much more subtle in the way it contributes to a company’s bottom line. Customers don’t want to see pushy, salesy copy everywhere they look.

A company that seems totally focused on selling its products and nothing else will just put people off.

Consumers demand added value in this digital age where options are plentiful.

The role of a content writer, then, is to demonstrate that a brand is knowledgeable, credible, and worth following. Regularly producing interesting, useful content encourages audience engagement and establishes brand authority. By keeping your company in people’s minds like this, they are more likely to turn to you when they do need a product or service you can provide.

Do I need a content writer or a copywriter?

Yes, you do.

Oh, you mean which one do you need? Probably both, but that doesn’t necessarily mean hiring two separate people. Increasingly, the lines are blurring between the roles of content writers and copywriters, and people who are skilled at writing compelling sales copy are expanding into the field of long-form content.

A big benefit of having the same person writing your copy and creating your web content is that they will deliver a consistent tone of voice for your company. If you get one person to write your product descriptions, one to do your landing page, another to compile your emails and yet another to publish your company blog, there is bound to be some discord between these channels. The solution, if you do need this many people writing for your company, is to run all your content and copy past an in-house brand guru before it is put before the eyes of the public.

Anyway, the point is that you need both well-crafted sales copy and informative content for your website if you want to keep your audience happy.

Think of the difference between content writing and copywriting like this:

Content writing is like dating. Your partner needs time to get to know you, to find out what makes you tick, to build up confidence in you. If they like what they see, they might sign up for your newsletter – that’s the equivalent of changing their Facebook status to “in a relationship” or introducing you to their family.

Then your copywriting comes in. Things get more serious. You start making plans for the future and in the end you get engaged to seal the deal.

You wouldn’t propose to someone on a first date (well you might, but you could expect a pretty low success rate), and in the same way you shouldn’t bombard customers with sales copy as soon as they arrive on your website or sign up to your emails.

Both elements work together to establish a meaningful relationship that will, hopefully, be long-lasting and fruitful.

Take it easy, show them all the things that make your company great (without being pushy), and gradually you’ll win them over.

You may now understand the difference between a content writer and a copywriter, but that doesn’t mean your content is sorted. If you’ve hit a brick wall with either the copywriting or content writing for your website (or both!), don’t despair; check out our content writing services to see if Stuff With Words could be the content solution you’re after.