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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…

A content creator's desk, with illustration and video tools.

What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

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. Copywriters or 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 not.

Here at Comma Chameleon, for example, we peddle ourselves as copywriters. But actually, in terms of defining the role we do and the services we provide, we are content creators (we’ll get to the ‘why’ of that). So why do we call ourselves copywriters? Because, when you’re talking to the people who need your services, you call yourself whatever they are likely to be calling you. And in our case, that’s a copywriter.

So what is the difference between a copywriter and a content creator?

When you’re talking to the people who need your services, you call yourself whatever they are likely to be calling you.

A copywriter

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 will be to sell to that person or persuade them to take a certain action. They will do this 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 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.

A content creator will ply their trade via any (or all) of the following:

  • Blog posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media copy
  • Video marketing
  • eBooks
  • Online learning courses
  • Graphic design
  • Brochures and printed newsletters

A content creator’s job 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 a social media post 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 includes 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.

Malarketing definition

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 art form. 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 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 commoditised, 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

All-in-one solution

There’s nothing 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’s perhaps why the two terms have become conflated. If you ask for a copywriter, and the person you’re asking is capable of 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

 

 

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About Comma Chameleon

Comma Chameleon is a Manchester-based team of copywriters, editors and proofreaders, with decades of experience. We work with clients throughout the UK to bring colour to content and clarity to messages, no matter the size, format or platform. We simply love words, whether they’re yours or ours.

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