Web copywriter or content writer: Is there a difference?March 19th, 2010 38 Comments
An aspiring copywriter emailed me today with a question. I thought my answer might be useful to others. (Sorry, I’ve done this twice in a row now!)
Is web content writing different from web copywriting? Are there different skill sets involved?
Thanks for your email. Unfortunately the answer is yes.
Some people are starting to think of web content writing as the writing of content for search engines. Whereas they think of copywriting as writing of content for people (with an implicit agenda to sell).
I don’t differentiate (most of the time). If content isn’t worth reading, it’s unlikely to have much impact on your search rankings (‘cos no-one will link to it). Having said that, Google does like to see a volume of content related to a specific subject — that tells Google your site is ABOUT that subject, it doesn’t just MENTION that subject. But this is more for indexing. For the most part, it won’t help you rank better, but it will help ensure your pages are indexed appropriately (and will appear in the right searches).
So it’s understandable that some businesses might think it’s worth their while to pay a content writer for ‘non-visitor-critical pages’ and a copywriter for ‘visitor-critical pages’. But I see that as just another kind of spam.
So given the above definitions, I see copywriting as a much more skilled task. Content writing can be simply a matter of writing a boring, quite ordinary article, knowing that no-one will read it, and that you don’t have to impress, persuade or instruct anyone to do anything.
Also, as with keyword stuffing, I think content writing (by the above definition) won’t last long. Google will figure out a clever way of assessing the quality of those pieces. If they’re clearly written as keyword filler, they’ll be devalued, and customers will stop investing in them.
Writers, what do you think?
You copywriters and content writers out there, what do you think? Am I right or wrong? Please comment. (If you say I’m wrong, though, there’ll be no soup for you! ;-)
Please comment below with your thoughts. I'm not so old a dog that I can't learn a few new tricks!