Copy or Content: Which is It?

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Looking for a copy writer? Or is it a content writer you’re after?


People often use the words ‘copy’ and ‘content’ interchangeably, although they aren’t exactly the same thing. Sure, they both involve words – but it’s what those words are doing that marks the difference.

Copy’s purpose is to push the audience toward a desired action. Copy is promotional advertising or marketing messaging that’s directly related to the sale. It provides the detailed information, including the benefits and features, that a buyer needs to decide to purchase.

You can find copy in many places, including in ads, email marketing, brochures, headlines and on websites.

Content’s purpose is to educate, entice, and entertain an audience. Content, sometimes called editorial, has the power to engage people, build trust, and grow your business. It strengthens the relationship between company and client as it generates interest and provides relevant information.

Content is often present in longer form, in formats like blogs, articles, guides, and newsletters. It’s also used in some social media posts and often combined with images, videos, or infographics.

The words "What do you mean?" written in chalk block-letters on pavementSo why should you care?

Can’t you leave this up to the writers or the marketing experts or…someone else?

Well – it’s not totally in your best interest to absolve yourself of all responsibility. And it’s a little blurry. These days copy often sneaks into content and vice versa, but that can make the material have less impact on readers. When content slides into a thinly veiled sales pitch it loses its effectiveness. Readers aren’t dumb, and they’re inundated with targeted – and sometimes screaming – advertising every day, so why not provide something better? Giving them something that sparks enjoyment or makes them think is always a good move, and if you’re building your brand and audience at the same time, that’s a bonus!

What’s important to remember is to have clear intentions. And if you’re hiring a copywriter, make sure you also clearly communicate your intent to them! A good copywriter is equipped with the skills to write both effective copy and engaging content. We love clients who clearly define a given writing project’s goals. It helps us determine what words we choose, the tone we use, and if we’ll lean more toward copy (often fewer words that need to convince or sell) or content (often longer form to educate or inform).

Using content writing and marketing to build an audience and demonstrate the relevance of your product is an excellent growth tool. That said, copy obviously isn’t going anywhere. It has a place and a purpose, it’s just important to properly present it.

So there it is – copy and content have different purposes, and most copywriters (or content writers) can write both – just make sure we know what YOUR purpose is. Then we can get to churning out those words with a more efficient process and effective result.

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