Copywriter or content creator?
What’s the difference between a copywriter and a content creator? It’s not just semantics, that’s for sure. Comma Chameleon breaks the two terms down…
Ask most people what the difference is between a copywriter and a content creator, and not many will be able to give you a clear answer – including, quite possibly, some of the people who do the jobs. Pose the question, and you may even draw a blank expression from some of your respondents. Copywriters and content creators. They both just write stuff, right?
Well, not exactly. But these days, when every other small-business owner is also a marketer, the two terms have become somewhat conflated. Does defining them even matter? Arguably the only people who really give a monkeys about applying the terms correctly are the people they are being used to describe. But not even all of them get het up about it.
For example, here at Comma Chameleon we peddle ourselves as copywriters, but actually, in terms of defining the role we do and the services we provide, we can be more accurately described as content creators (we’ll get to the ‘why’ of that). So why do we call ourselves copywriters? That’s because, when you’re talking to the people who need your services – a population that sees anyone who writes for a living as a ‘copywriter’ – that’s what you call yourself.
So what is the difference between a copywriter and a content creator?
When you’re talking to the people who need your services – a population that sees anyone who writes for a living as a ‘copywriter’ – that’s what you call yourself.
A copywriter is defined as ‘a person who writes the text of advertisements and promotional material’. That’s a fairly straightforward description, and a fairly limited scope of responsibility. A copywriter writes adverts and promo material. That means a copywriter will always have a specific audience in mind, and their primary goal is to sell to that person or persuade them to take a certain action, either through a direct CTA or a series of gentle nudges in the desired direction.
A content creator
A content creator, on the other hand, can best be described as somebody who is responsible for creating information in a variety of formats and in a variety of media. In the digital age, many content creators will work mainly in the digital sphere, but they may also create content for magazines and brochures, or even TV and radio. Content creators generally target a specific end-user or audience via specific channels and through specific media, although they can certainly be a jack of all trades.
A content creator can ply their trade via any (or all) of the following:
- Blog posts
- Email newsletters
- Social media copy
- Video marketing
- Online learning courses
- Graphic design
- Brochures and printed newsletters
A content creator’s job, therefore, is to create compelling, high-converting content for use across multiple platforms. This content can be provided either on an ad hoc basis – as, say, a standalone blog post – or as a suite of materials for a sales funnel that incorporates an email newsletter, a website landing page and social media posts with imagery and a strong call-to-action. Sometimes it will be one person doing everything, and other times it will be a team of content creators that comprises a writer, a graphic designer, a videographer and any number of other creative professionals.
Why content matters
Most small-business owners need to be content creators these days. You’re not going to do well selling your product or service in today’s overcrowded marketplace if you’re not pushing out your message and flogging your wares on social media at the very least (we like to call this ‘malarketing’). Engaging your audience, and then engaging with them, is what’s going to set you apart from your competitors and drive customer action and loyalty.
But content creation is not everyone’s happy place. You might be able to get by on throwing together the odd motivational-quote-on-a-pretty-background with Canva and posting it on Instagram, but you’re only going to attract a certain type of audience doing that. And even if you’ve got a website, you’re not going to be ranking highly in the search engines unless you’re regularly updating your website with blog content and letting your leads know why you’re great at what you do.
The art of creation
Content creation is undeniably an artform. As a professional pursuit, it’s a skill that requires a mixture of creative flair and self-imposed discipline. Content creators need to be analytical and arty; organised and diverse. More than that, they need a strong base of general knowledge and a deep awareness of contemporary pop culture, as well as an ability to identify the appropriate reference points to use in any given situation, for content that’s going to be put in front of any given audience. You wouldn’t want to push out a message that references Love Island in a forum for high-powered feminist business leaders, just like you wouldn’t try and engage primarily with a group of Second World War veterans through TikTok.
Most small-business owners need to be content creators these days. You’re not going to do well selling your product or service in today’s overcrowded marketplace if you’re not pushing out your message and flogging your wares on social media at the very least
But getting the right message in front of the right person in the right place and at the right time can work absolute wonders for your business, and a good content creator will know exactly what it will take to get this done.
Good content or great content
Consumers these days are fed up of being blatantly sold to. That’s not to say a copywriter is redundant these days, because unapologetic adverts can still bring in the money for businesses. That’s why magazines and newspapers are still jammed to the rafters with them. But most consumers these days will actively buck against in-your-face advertising, especially in the digital sphere.
People don’t want to be treated as a number, and they’ll skip right by your ad if you’re using cheap and slimy messaging that is overtly salesy. All the best marketing speaks to us on a human level, whether by simply making us laugh as we wait for the bus, or by giving a name to our frustrations and helping us solve our problems.
All the best marketing speaks to us on a human level, whether by simply making us laugh as we wait for the bus, or by giving a name to our frustrations and helping us solve our problems.
It is a rather happy fact, then, that content marketing has actually proven to be more effective than traditional outbound marketing, offering brands and businesses far greater ROI than traditional advertising. So even if you’re outsourcing your content creation, paying for a monthly blog post or for somebody to run your social media, you’re likely to see much better returns than you will on an old-school ad budget.
According to the Content Marketing Institute:
- Content marketing has lower upfront costs and deeper long-term benefits than paid search
- Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less
That’s a lot more bang for your buck.
Content marketing has actually proven to be more effective than traditional outbound marketing, offering brands and businesses far greater ROI than traditional advertising
There’s no reason to suggest the qualities of a copywriter and a content creator can’t exist in the same person. In fact, it could be argued that is perhaps why the two terms have become conflated. If you ask for a copywriter, and the person you’re asking is capable and willing to produce a blog post with imagery and some supporting social media posts, you’ve got what you needed, and you might not necessarily have been made aware that the service you’ve just paid for is content creation. You probably don’t care either. And neither will the content creator, who has bagged themselves a lovely new client and got paid for the work they’ve done.
If you ask for a copywriter, and the person you’re asking is capable and willing to produce a blog post with imagery and some supporting social media posts, you’ve got what you needed, and you might not necessarily have been made aware that the service you’ve just paid for is content creation.
That’s why we here at Comma Chameleon don’t give a hoot what you call us. We write blogs. We write ad copy. We ghostwrite social media posts. We also make our own graphics, and we design brochures, leaflets and e-books. So yes, technically speaking we are content creators rather than copywriters. But really? We just love words, and we live to be creative. Whatever that looks like. And whatever it makes us.
The Comma Chameleon team