Copywriter or Content Writer? Which Freelancing Professional is Best for your Business?
Updated: Jan 15
Copywriters and content writers frequently get mixed up and tossed into the same category. However, both write very different content and market to very different types of businesses. So, which one do you need?
There are many writers out there, but not all writers are writing what you need.
When it comes to being a professional writer, it sounds very unprofessional when you cannot explain to your potential clients exactly what you do. This means, you probably shouldn't go around professing "I am a copywriter" if you are indeed a creative content writer. It is possible to be both, but it's not necessarily beneficial and not in everyone's wheelhouse to do so.
Do you and your audience a favor and make sure you 1) Know which type of writer you are and 2) make sure you possess the skill set that goes along with that type of writing. You need to be able to offer your clients everything they need when you actively state which writer you are.
By having a clear focus on the type of writer you are and the services you offer, you'll be able to build your client list quickly, efficiently, and work smarter, not harder.
Copywriters are here to sell to you via the written word. Typically, you'll find copywriters working on email marketing, brochures, sales letters, factsheets, sales pitches, manuals, product descriptions, and more. The information included in most of these mediums is intended to persuade an audience to do something or buy a product.
Copywriters also work on social media marketing and hone in their skills with market research, utilizing techniques such as CTAs, or getting down to the bare essentials with persuasion and intuition on human nature.
As a copywriter, you'll be tasked with improving sales, conversion rates, and marketing for companies. You'll use demographics and statistics and implement these in a written way to convert potential buyers into customers or clients.
Creative content writers are here to wow you with their turn of phrases and clever, but informative content. Content writers focus their energy on creating posts, articles, blogs, and social media content about a particular subject.
As a content writer, you typically niche down into a specific field or genre and become the expert on that genre (though this is not necessary--it just makes you more marketable). Content writers are clever, witty, and creative in all aspects of their writing, but also know how to build both trust and authority with their written words.
Also, as a content writer, you may find that these writers pursue passion projects or find ways to make an income from their ability to write novels, scripts, or short stories. Ghostwriters typically fall under the category of content writing.
As a content writer, your purpose is to equally entertain and inform the reader, which makes content writers the go-to for blogs. They will be able to assist bloggers or create their own blog that generates traffic and an attentive audience.
What if you could have the best of both worlds?
I'm going to be honest, in my line of work I absolutely do both roles but I would say I am 70% creative content writer and 30% copywriter. I do create content for websites that includes targeted audiences, keywords, and all the formatting that makes that content SEO friendly to drive people to that person's website.
I enjoy writing copy. It is straight forward, based on solid research, and intended to connect the client/company to their ideal customer. It takes time to develop copy that works and you'll have to work one on one with your client to ensure the copy meets their needs and relays their services/products to the world.
However, I also thoroughly enjoy content writing. I've always been drawn to the creative side of writing, which is why being a content writer and helping small businesses or entrepreneurs create blog posts is fun for me. It balances out my work when I have to focus on technical projects.
So my takeaway from this is, yes you can have the best of both worlds, but you may be compromising the potential for growth in a specific area. You need to be okay with the balance. If you want to become an expert and niche down, I suggest sticking with one form of writing or the other. I also suggest targeting either one large industry or five or less small, specific industries.
For example, when it comes to content writing, I now work with three hair salons. It happened very randomly, but I've become wiser within the industry and can write copy that markets to their audience much more efficiently and expertly than I could before.
So for content writers out there, find industries you love or are intrigued with and just go for it. For copywriters, take time to understand the skill set that makes you a great copywriter--understand that while you are being persuasive, you need to be direct, factual, and appeal to the practical side of the brain.
Which type of writer do you need for your business? Or, for those other freelancers out there, what type of writing do you do? I would love to hear more about your successes and struggles!