A trained copywriter’s job is to sell your brand to a specific audience. They do this by promoting an idea or selling a product using a creative campaign. These campaigns are either ads on busy streets, TV commercials, direct email marketing, newspapers, etc. while a content writer, on the other hand, works basically on the web by creating context that gives a deeper understanding of the purpose of a brand. The end result is to spark a top-of-funnel interest with a sense of leadership that will guide prospects deeper into the buyer journey.
Copywriting carries an impression, while content writing is usually more detailed and explanatory.
It will be right to say copywriting is a bit superficial compared to content marketing.
This is not to put down copywriting in any way for being “shallow,” or to say that content writing can’t be persuasive. All of these will not be true as both play for the same team: your business. Content writers and copywriters usually integrate, and as the gap between the physical and digital gets smaller, so does the gap between their work.
Content Marketing Role in your Business
Creativity and performance: This is a role for creative directors, project managers, content writers and managing editors. They translate plans into a creative vision and plot an execution
Creation: The content writers, copy editors, designers, project managers usually handle this, they are responsible for producing and studying the actual content.
Promotion: Using social posts and email campaigns to share your content, this is the job of social media strategists and content writers
Lastly, these circles back to the strategists, who carry out an analysis to measure how that content is performing.
Merging Copywriting and Content Writing
Formerly, copywriters had little or no role to play in the above but we have seen a dramatic change in the past few years as the content marketing agency has grown.
Content marketing was entirely removed from copywriting. Organizations spent fortunes paying advertising agencies copywriter services – or have to pay freelance copywriters on commission.
But they had a number of cost-effective options if the wanted content writing:
- Build content in house.
- Get freelancers to fill content needs when required.
- Content creation is outsourced to a third-party writer.
These still happen today. However, the outcome of the end product has dramatically expanded.
The reason for this? SEO!
Content now has to be very good! because search engines have become super smart, they can populate SERPs (Search engine result pages) with web content that rightly relates to what they believe the user is searching for. You have to put out very good quality.
Even more, it means content has to be aggressively promoted through digital channels and on the web, these have traditionally been considered the territory of the content writer.
What a Copywriter does for Content Marketing
A Content writer is always trying to create something informative and useful to the reader. This explains why there are so many articles and blogs on “How to do this and that”, Ways to achieve so and so results, etc. What is top of mind here is the SEO element, so keyword research has to be put into consideration: use terms that relate to the subject matter you’re trying to become a master at. Look for who’s getting the most backlinks on their website, and the reason why and apply the same strategy.
You also want to be mindful of the types of questions the audience is asking in content writing. Long-form content that hits all the major points of a given topic is your best bet.
When a copywriter writes, the goal is slightly different, here, the focus is promotional. The aim here is making the message straight to the point, strong and unquestionable. The copywriter creates imaginations that show brand values; not lengthy blog posts that portray a brand as a seasoned leader on a specific subject.
Copywriting targets action. Content writing captures interest. Both are expedient in a modern content marketing campaign.
A professional content writer knows when to switch their mindset to that of a copywriter, and vice versa. This makes copywriting and content marketing more like skills than roles. What is most important is that both understand brand identity as they write in order to appeal to the target audience and create a tone of voice that delivers brand values.
Promotional copy is a type of content that plays a unique role in a content marketing strategy.
Take, for example, email marketing, this has the highest ROI of any content marketing channel. Traditionally, this was done by the “direct marketing copywriter.” It still requires direct marketing copy, and also direct response marketing (following up emails with enticing content, pulling a lead deeper into the funnel). You’re plotting a direct action on the part of the recipient.
The difference here is that conversations are usually fused into a larger web content marketing campaign that is managed by an in-house content marketing team or a third-party content marketing agency.
For instance, the Content Marketing Institute named these as the top four most commonly used types of B2B content:
- Social media posts (94 percent).
- Case studies (73 percent).
- Pre-produced videos (72 percent).
- eBooks and white papers (71 percent).
The first on the list is copywriting, while numbers two and four are categorized as content writing. However, they all are content marketing strategies.
Choosing Between a Copywriter or Content Writer
The job descriptions of a content writer and a copywriter are usually used interchangeably. A job title can read “SEO copywriter” but, a closer look shows it is basically describing a content writer who most likely has some copywriting responsibilities.
Also, a content writer role will most likely require some experience in writing email copy and quite possibly, sales copy. You find advertisers tasked with “SEO copywriting” all the time.
A career in content writing will give you some copywriting experience, and vice versa. Content writers are important to copywriters, and copywriters are also important to content writers. Finding someone who can do both is awesome!
A professional copywriter might have a bachelor’s degree in English, Literature or Creative writing, they don’t necessarily have to because a quality writer’s portfolio is the strongest proof. Writers who have hands-on experience are the best to work with. The most competitive candidates for this role typically have a master’s degree in business or communication, but, as earlier said, a certificate isn’t a substitute for experience or for talent and your business might not be able to afford their services.
You also can look for ad agencies that are into making TV commercials, billboards, and YouTube ads. This is the territory of the advertising copywriter. They might be freelance or in-house.
Deciding to use an Agency, In-house or Freelancer
Freelance copywriters will usually charge much less than an official agency writer at a credible firm. So, you get your money’s worth – do not forget that many freelance content writers use the title copywriters because it is generally thought to be more prestigious.
Remember, If you choose to use a freelancer, ensure you very clearly outline the types of projects they are expected to work on and that you properly review their qualifications and portfolio. Copywriting is a particular type of content writing, and not all freelancers will necessarily make that distinction.
Hiring in-house is usually thought to be the best option, but agencies and freelancers are a more cost-effective option. Agencies and freelancer’s costs do not include the cost of benefits (health, 401K, vacation) or the fact that the volume of work may vary per time.
Content writing used to be so much cheaper than copywriting. It was easier to pull a wool over Google’s eyes in the early days of the web. Posting recycled news articles with keywords was the main SEO strategy for many brands about ten years ago.
Organic web content could be easily posted and cheaply promoted. Up until the early 2010s, content writers really just needed Microsoft Word and a search engine to get the job done. Unlike copywritten ads that were meant to be aggressively promoted through paid channels (Commercials on TV, magazines, YouTube ads or streaming services, etc.),
You can still get freelance content writers with ridiculously low rates, but the web is dripping with marketing content. Creating content that will rank organically on search engines and inspire confidence among the right people requires perfect harmony between strategists and creatives, which is almost unattainable with a patched team of freelancers.
Hiring in-house is the best option, but the average content writer’s salary is over $47,000. An agency usually charges more than freelancers, but also, usually less than it costs to have an in-house dedicated content marketing team. It would also focus on results-driven content creation not just creating content for the sake of content.
It is important to note that, a lot of content marketing agencies now provide copywriting services.
Because after all said and done, the digital world is clearly evolving and this is leading to a dynamic where content writing and copywriting both have their place in the magnificent universe that is the internet.
You can get a lot more return on your investment using an agency with staff writers who understand these.