Should You Hire a Copywriter or a Content Writer?
Updated: Feb 15
It’s time to set your content marketing strategy in motion. But you don’t have time to write. There are too many tasks on your to-do list, and this type of work requires full concentration.
So you look online for help. You know you need a writer, but what kind? Do you need to hire a copywriter or a content writer?
The answer is—it depends. 😉
The title of copywriter or content writer doesn’t really matter. You just need a writer who can create the deliverables you have in mind.
What Does a Copywriter Do?
Merriam-Webster defines a copywriter as “a writer of advertising or publicity copy.” The dictionary characterizes copy as “text especially of an advertisement.” In other words, a copywriter’s job is to persuade their audience. They write words to prompt readers to act.
In digital marketing, your company’s goal is to move buyers along a journey that leads to a purchase. By using compelling language, a copywriter helps prospects learn about, consider, and decide on your product or service.
Ads for Facebook, Google, and other platforms are examples of copywriting. Emails, social media posts, and website copy also fall into this category. If you’re looking for messaging that gets buyers to engage with your business, you need to hire a copywriter.
What Does a Content Writer Do?
You won’t find the definition of a content writer in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. But Wikipedia states “a web content writer is a person who specializes in providing relevant content for websites.” The encyclopedia defines content as “the information contained within communication media.” In simple terms, a content writer’s duty is to inform their audience. They write words to give readers knowledge.
Building trust and authority is a key component of digital marketing. By sharing valuable information, a content writer helps prospects see your company as a credible source to answer their questions.
Articles, blog posts, and ebooks are types of content writing. Case studies, white papers, and infographics are also considered content. If you aim to educate buyers so that they’ll come to know, like, and trust your brand, you need to hire a content writer.
Different Perceptions of Copywriting vs. Content Writing
Copywriting and content writing are technically two distinct skill sets. But these writing skills can also blend and work together to meet digital marketing goals.
For example, suppose I write a blog post for a dog training school that teaches readers how to potty train their puppies. The skill set I’m using is content writing. But, at the end of the post, I add a call-to-action (CTA) encouraging readers to click on related posts on the dog training school’s blog. I’m now using my copywriting skill set.
Or let’s say I write an ad for the dog training school to get readers to sign up for a series of classes. I target most of the language toward getting registrations, so I’m writing copy. But I also include a few quick tips on how to get your dog to sit. Now I’ve switched to writing content.
It’s easy to blur the line between copywriting and content writing. Even digital marketers have different perceptions of these roles.
Here are a few email excerpts I’ve received from clients requesting my services:
“We're looking for some additional copywriting assistance for client blog posts.”
“Do you have any interest and experience working on creating the website copy and SEO strategy/best practices for new websites?”
“I was wondering if you would be interested in writing for a content marketing agency…”
“We are currently hiring content writers…”
I think of myself as a content writer because I focus on long-form pieces such as blog posts, ebooks, and white papers. I even optimized my website and social media profiles with “content writer” as the primary keyword. But as I’ve received more inquiries about copywriting that mention blog posts, I realized many people categorize my type of work under the copywriting umbrella.
It’s Not About Titles—It’s About the Deliverables
Ultimately, content writing in digital marketing is another form of copywriting. As a content writer, my long-term goals are the same as a copywriter’s short team goals: attract leads, get conversions, and make sales.
So call it what you want. It doesn’t matter to me whether you need to hire a content writer or a copywriter—as long as I know which deliverables you need.
What do you think? Are there differences between copywriting and content writing? Are you strict about these definitions? Or do you believe most people understand the terms overlap? Let me know on Twitter.
By the way, I ended up adding “copywriter” and “copywriting” to my website and social media profiles to cover all my bases. 😉