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Content Writer vs Copywriter: 3 Reasons Why They Are One And The Same 

The “content writer vs copywriter” debate has been going on for years. Each side constantly reminding the business world what sets each apart from one another. 

content-writer-vs-copywriterImage by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay 

Are you familiar with both concepts? Do you know the roles of both the content writer and the copywriter? If you do not, I have selected two articles you can read that cover this topic. 

The first article is “Copywriting vs. Content Writing: What’s the Difference Between the Two?”. Written by Emily E. Steck for Quietly, this article presents the argument that the differences between copywriters and content writers are comparable to those between oranges and tangerines. The article also points out that marketers need the help of both, so they are both as important to the marketing department as the other. 

Constant Content published our second article in 2018, titled “The Differences Between a Copywriter, Content Writer, and Content Strategist”. The article points out the differences that set the content writer apart from the copywriter, as well as the role of the content strategist in your marketing campaigns. 

Content Writer vs Copywriter 

Even though the resources I presented to you state that there are clear differences between a copywriter and a content writer, I don’t believe that’s the case. I believe the term “content writer” was created as a way to differentiate brand copywriters from direct response copywriters. 

Drawing from the information in the articles mentioned above, as well as my experience as a direct response copywriter, here are three reasons why the “content writer vs copywriter” debate is more of a “brand copywriter vs direct response copywriter” debate: 

The Goal 

One of the (supposed) main differences between content writers and copywriters is that copywriters look to sell stuff while content writers want to engage an audience. But truly, they both look to achieve the same goal: to persuade an audience. 

The copywriter might be known for using the written word to sell products and services – but they do so much more. Copywriters sell ideas, companies, and causes while selling their offers. They look to connect with their market at once, so they can engage in a negotiation. While the content writer – who may not be looking to sell anything – also presents ideas or causes in their writing, looking to connect and engage with their audience. 

If you take a sales letter (written by a copywriter) and an article (written by a content writer) about personal finance, you’ll see that the premise of pieces is the same: knowing about personal finance is good to develop a better lifestyle. What sets them apart: the copywriter will present you with a helpful product or service that is for sale, while the content writer will ask a question for people to answer. 

Copywriters and content writers may go about it a bit differently, but they both look to achieve the same goal at the end – to have you believe in a certain concept. 

The Technique 

Despite what the content writing community might say, both copywriters and content writers use the same techniques when writing their pieces. They both use headlines, lead/introductory paragraphs, body copy, and closing statements. 

That’s because content writers and copywriters present INFORMATION to their audiences. Therefore, they must present it in a format that grabs attention, sparks interest, generates a desire, and invites the audience to act. 

Can you tell if the headline “How Safe Is Your Family’s Land from Developers with Powerful Friends?” was written by a copywriter or a content writer? Not without any context. And the same goes for the lead paragraphs and body copy. 

A great blog post will sound just like a sales letter. It will draw you in with the headline, spark interest and desire with its body, and ask you to do something at the end. Because that’s the successful formula for all skillful writing. 

The Skills 

Speaking of skillful – if you think that it takes a separate set of skills to be a content writer than a copywriter, you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether you are drafting a white paper, a VSL, or a blog post… there are three things you must know how to do to create great writing: 

  1. Inform 
  1. Inspire 
  1. Entertain 

You could have the greatest idea in the world – if you don’t tell people about it, they won’t know. If you don’t tell your audience how it works, they will never understand it. And if you don’t make it interesting, people will just not care. 

Think of your writing as a pitch on Shark Tank – you have to let the sharks (your audience) know what your idea is, why it is important to them, and how to make it work.  

Copywriters (as well as content writers) are more than just writers. They are salespeople using their writing skills to present products, services, ideas, and causes to their target audiences. 

The Verdict on Content Writer vs Copywriter 

It seems like someone created the term content writer because they don’t want to attach themselves to the salesperson’s identity of the copywriter. The content writer vs copywriter debate is dumb to me. What makes you different is your philosophy (direct response vs branding), not your goals, technique, or skills. If you are writing business content, you are a copywriter. 

Do you have a comment or question about my thoughts on content writer vs copywriter? Leave a comment explaining your side of things. And if you think this article could be useful to someone you know, feel free to share it with them! 

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