Should You Hire a Content Writer or a Copywriter?

The question of whether to hire a Content Writer or a Copywriter is a common one I tend to get. If I were to put a number on it, I’d say I receive an email about this a couple of times each month.

It’s often brought up along the lines of…

“I’m not sure whether to hire a content writer or a copywriter, and I see you do both…could you shed some light on what the difference is?”

It’s a fair question. And to be completely honest, I really didn’t even know what the difference was myself years ago when I first began writing.

The topic is definitely one that causes confusion for some clients, and even newer writers as well. And for many not already intimately familiar with freelance writing, both types of writing may seem to overlap.

So in response to the questions I’ve received and the ambiguity that remains among many, I’m going to lay out the answers clear and simple.

This way, if you’re on the fence about whether to hire a content writer or a copywriter, you’ll know exactly which skill to choose by the end of the article.    

First, let’s start off with some straightforward definitions.

What is a Copywriter?

Copywriters are basically salespeople. But they’re salespeople who use writing instead of spoken words to sell products. And in an age where you can sell your products or services to a virtually infinite amount of people, there’re no more effective salespeople than copywriters.

Copywriters write “copy,” which is just an industry term for any words used in advertising and marketing. Copy can be written for sales pages, landing pages, direct mail, social media ads, search engine ads, brochures, product descriptions, commercial scripts, and much more.

In direct response copywriting, the #1 goal is to get readers to take a certain action immediately, usually in the form of moving them towards a sale.

What is a Content Writer?

Content writers write the majority of non-sales related content you seen on the internet. For example, blogs, articles, social media posts, newsletters, static site content, eBooks (kind of…unless they’re used as lead magnets – then they could be considered copywriting) and more, are all content writing.

Generally the goal of content writing is to build up your business’ authority and trust while improving traffic and nurturing your audience.

How are Content Writers and Copywriters Similar?

Effective content writing and copywriting both share a lot of similarities. In both kinds of writing, a writer will often:

  • Connect with your audience
  • Share helpful information
  • Answer questions
  • Optimize on-page content
  • Address pain points
  • Speak in their language
  • And drive the overall growth of your business – whether it be through sales or increasing traffic.

But with all these similarities listed, I’m sure you’re hoping for a clearer comparison demonstrating what the heck the differences are between the two.

What’s the Difference Between Content Writing and Copywriting?

Content WritingCopywriting
Goal: Content writing is focused on establishing your business’ authority, building trust, and growing your audience.  Goal: Copywriting’s goal is to get your readers to take a certain action, usually in the form of buying a product or service.
Method: Support-type content that works to drive traffic and develop your reputation.  Method: Copy that uses consumer-psychology and direct response techniques to persuade into action.
Frequency: Published and updated on a regular basis for the lifetime of your business. There’s never a period where it’s wise not to post content.Frequency: Usually written once and left alone. The idea is to create control copy which has unbeatable conversion rates. Only updated when your offers or campaigns change.

When it comes down to it, the differences aren’t all that large between these two writing niches. And the better the writer, the less noticeable these differences should be.

What this means is that…

GOOD Copywriting will increase traffic and build trust just like content writing.

and

GOOD Content Writing will sell your services or products just like copywriting.

Proactive companies will ensure they regularly update their copy when products, services, and market circumstances change. While smart writers will continually create you “evergreen” content that lasts and always brings you traffic.

Effective Writers Will Understand How to Write Both Ways Well

When it comes to B2B writing especially, it’s usually optimal to blend together and provide both copywriting and content writing.

If you’re a B2B business, your target audience has already seen everything. They’re most likely sellers themselves, so you’re not going to be able to pull any sneaky tricks on them.

Be sure to choose a writer who’s honest in their writing, provides genuine value, and knows how to persuade without being unethical. This makes for a better experience for your audience, and produces better results for your business.

So, Should You Hire a Content Writer or a Copywriter?

No matter what kind of business you run, you’re probably going to need both kinds of writing.

Content writing supports the traffic and credibility that leads to higher conversion rates through copywriting. And without copywriting to sell your products or services, much of the content writing done may be in vain (if your goal is to increase your revenue…which I’d be willing to bet most definitely is).

Naturally the question morphs to: do you need to hire separate writers for each skill?

In truth, the answer is really dependent on the size of your business and resources at your disposal to manage personnel. It’s also dependent on just how wide a range of content you actually need.

If you own or have an executive position within a large company requiring writing needs for everything from Facebook ads to sales letters, and whitepapers to blog posts, it’s most likely a good idea to hire multiple writers.

Writers tend to specialize in a few areas. So if you have the resources at your disposal, you may get the best results from hiring multiple writers who specialize in each individual area you’re looking for.

But…

If You’re a Small-Medium Sized Business, You Probably Only Need One Writer

For the vast majority of businesses who aren’t massive, you’re best off going with one professional writer who can do both content writing and copywriting.

If you’re considering experienced writers with a professional track record, most copywriters will be able to write solid web content. And most content writers will be able to create awesome sales copy.

Instead of deciding between one niche or another, try looking for a writer who:

  • Can demonstrate their ability to write both effective content and copy
  • Has proven experience writing in your business’ niche
  • Understands the “big picture,” and can combine copy and content to get you results

In Most Cases, Hiring One Writer Will Get You the Most ‘Bang for Your Buck’

Investing in a professional writer who can both write copy and develop content will give you the best of both worlds.

It’s cost-effective, it’s efficient, and it’ll save you the hassle of having to manage multiple freelancers. Although, a good writer will make your life as easy as possible so you don’t feel the need to “manage” anyone.

A solid freelance writer will work with you as a partner, learn your business, and produce top-notch projects that get you results.