Copy does not equal content.
Questions I hear all the time: So are you a content writer? Are you a copywriter? What is a copywriter? Can you help me get a copyright on this idea?
That’s a good question because the terms are used almost interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference. Ask a different writer, and you’ll get a different answer but here’s my take.
(First of all, let’s clear up that copywriting is writing. Copyright refers to protecting intellectual property and is very different than copywriting, but you’d be surprised how many calls I get fo that.)
Content = tell. Copy = sell.
Copy is writing with the intent to inspire action. (Click, purchase, subscribe, retweet, forward, vote, act.) Copy can take the form of landing pages, home pages, social media with intent, videos.
Content is writing that informs, educates, or entertains. Content goes beyond marketing, websites, record companies, movie studios, and television networks all are in the business of content. Content can be text, video, movies, music, cartoons, or GIFS. Many writers who were once journalists have made the jump to be content writers. They know how to interview people and tell engaging stories.
Copy is a subset of content.
Yep, copy lies inside the larger circle of content but there is specialization. Some content writers have not mastered the art of persuasive copy. Some copywriters are all about the sale and lack the softness of enticement that makes successful content. Some writers get certified through online copywriting courses. Other copywriters rise up through the ranks at ad agencies/design studios/interactive agencies and gain experience on how to collaborate with art directors, graphic designers, and UX designers for a greater integration of design and copy
There isn’t always a clear definition between copy and content. A sales page can gently entice you to action. A blog post can end with a call to action. So even though there is an overlap, you should find the writer best fit for a job.
Happy writing! :)
Anne McColl a creative copywriter on a mission to banish B.S. (That’s Business Speak and it doesn’t mean a thing.) She helps brands, people, and startups find the words + pictures they need to tell their story to connect to their customers. For updates on storytelling for business, subscribe at annemccoll.com/newsletter.