What is the difference between content writing and copywriting?


What is the difference between content writing and copywriting?

Have you ever heard of the terms content writer and copywriter? Do these terms confuse you? Fear not, for an explanation is given in the following paragraphs.

The invention of writing may, in fact, be one of the key events in the history of humankind. And with good reason. Even though it lasted for hundreds and thousands of years, this event, in a broader sense of the word, helped people leap from oblivion to immortality and remembrance. And people indeed like being remembered by.


On writing, in general

Writing refers to making meaningful inscriptions using a language on paper or any other surface with the purpose of sending a message to the recipient. Just to be clear, we are not trying to reinvent the wheel here, just getting things clear. Nevertheless, with the exponential growth and development of technology, writing books and other types of texts has moved from the real world to digital– the world of the Internet. And there, the big G obviously rules.

Obviously, writing for the Internet has now become so specific that people who would be called writers twenty or so years ago would probably not be able to perform. Since writing for the web is so different from writing for print, it is clear that new jobs and occupations have emerged. Some of these include content writers and copywriters.

Now, many people use these two terms interchangeably, but they simply do not tell the difference between them. So, here it is.


What is a content writer?

Content writer is a person who writes textual narratives (content) for the purposes of publication: in print media, such as magazines or brochures. They may hold a degree in journalism or English (or some other language) or writing, for that matter.

However, in the world of digital, content writers have different duties. They are responsible for writing extensive blogs, website content, white papers, e-books, e-brochures, etc. Being a part of content marketing industry which involves writing for the web, they need to be well aware of current SEO trends, Google Analytics, and many more tools which involve extensive preparation and research prior to publication.


What is a copywriter?

Copywriter is a person who writes ad copy. Copy here refers to a short piece of writing, a text which is intended to convert the reader into a shopper/consumer. Remember that 1959 Think small. Volkswagen ad? A copywriter did it.

VW's 1959 Think small. campaign

VW’s 1959 Think small. campaign. (Image source: Wikipedia)

Likewise, on the Internet, a (web) copywriter is a person who writes copy for the purposes of online advertising, including Google AdWords copy, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, and basically any other form of PPC advertising. This person works in the field of inbound marketing.


Can these two people work together?

With the integration of Internet portals, forums, and print media, it is hard not to think of these two jobs being done by one person. Imagine that you own a print magazine and a corresponding news site. Would you hire different people for writing killer headlines, meta descriptions, and text body? Sure you would not.

Today’s web writers must know how to write extensive copy along with the usage of specific, researched keywords that invite people to take action and, eventually, sell products. These two occupations can now be found in one person whose end-product evokes ROI and conversions.


Back to you…

What do you think, should these two occupations go in the same vein? Are they just synonyms for one and the same occupation – being a web writer? Let us know in the comments below.


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Vesna Savić

Community Manager at PopArt Studio
Dedicates her time to learning about better means of communication, translating knowledge into practice, and is a passionate reader.

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