Show me it's more than just semantics: Copywriter vs Content Writer

by neshaword 44 replies
Some warriors think that is very important to make a clear difference between a copywriter, content writer, and writer. Honestly, I thought it wasn't such a big deal. Then, after seeing that this question repeats itself more than once in a few threads, I decided to pay attention to it. It turns out that you think you know, at least this was the case with me, but actually you don't. So, I did a little bit a research about it.

A writer is a general term. Hope we can all agree about it. As soon as we associate money and sales with the writing we enter the copywriting zone. I used this formula, which helped me to better understand this semantics gymnastics. Let's see how accurate it is:

writer + money = copywriter
and
writer + sales = copywriter


I should also mention another definition I stumble upon online. In one of copywriting LinkedIn groups, one guy wrote something like, a copywriter is a writer who tries to achieve the maximum with the minimal number of words. Yet, for some reason, copywriting will be something that I will always associate with the Mad Men TV show and Donald Draper. I know it sounds like a shameless cliche, but I'm helpless in this case.

So, what's happening with content writers? I guess that a content writer is a writer who doesn't write a copy, but rather the content for some website. If you aren't a copywriter, then you are a content writer. Is this true?

I just don't get it. Why is it so important for some guys to define themselves and their work as copywriters and copywriting? Does it really matter? I guess it does because they wouldn't be so passionate about it, otherwise. It seems that it is better to be a copywriter than a content writer. Why? I just don't know. Again, if you are asking me, I'm a freelancer. When I write slogans, taglines, and catchphrases, I'm a copywriter. When I write some web pages, I think I'm a content writer. Finally, when I write Terms and Conditions, or Privacy Policy for a website, I'm a paralegal, I guess.

Here's my question? When I write the content for a landing page, what am I, a copywriter or content writer? I create web content, but with the sales and money-making purposes as a priority.

So, this is an invitation for all those proud copywriters out there. Enlighten me and show me the right way of copywriting. My hat is ready to fly off just like that if I hear a catchy definition. If you know what you're doing and writing, then coming up with a simple and easy to remember a definition of a copywriter, shouldn't be much of a problem.

Also, I would like to hear why it is so important to draw a line between copywriters and content writers. What's a big deal about it? I have been writing for a couple of years now, and I still don't have a clue, how to define myself and how it is called what I do for a living.

Let the semantic games begin!
#copywriting #content #copywriter #semantics #show #writer
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    They are two distinct lines of work. I am a content writer. I write articles, blog posts, reports, web pages, and ebooks.

    I don't write sales pages, landing pages, advertisements or the many other things that copywriters write.

    You can do both, but at least know what to call the particular work you are doing.

    Rose
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by Rose Anderson View Post

      They are two distinct lines of work. I am a content writer. I write articles, blog posts, reports, web pages, and ebooks.

      I don't write sales pages, landing pages, advertisements or the many other things that copywriters write.

      You can do both, but at least know what to call the particular work you are doing.

      Rose
      Thank you Rose. May I just ask, because I'm curious to know, have you ever tried to write pieces traditionally reserved for copywriters? Is this your personal decision or something that the market itself dictates? To be honest, I follow the projects that offer me a good opportunity to earn. I write, this is what I do. At the end of the day, I don't have time for semantics. What's a difference between a blog and a sales email I have to write, for me personally, I mean? Well, only in terms of price and time I have to invest.

      N
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by Bill Jeffels View Post

      You're not a copywriter

      Bill


      .
      Bill,

      When you take into consideration only the threads I posted, it's pretty much obvious. Have a question for you, though.

      A couple of landing pages for my clients, a dozen slogans, and sales emails here and there. All part of my portfolio. Does these pieces of writing with a clear sales orientation make me be a copywriter, at least a little bit?

      Can I also say, every content writer is a copywriter, but not every copywriter is a content writer? Is this true?

      Thx,
      N
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
        neshaword,

        You know what content writing is. And that's what you do. That's good, there's nothing wrong with that. But you have to understand the difference between copywriting and content writing because it's huge.

        And, No, just because you made an attempt at a landing page or to sell in an email series doesn't make you a copywriter. Even a little bit. Also, copwriters and content writers are totally different. It's just the way it is.

        Bill

        .
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        • Profile picture of the author neshaword
          Originally Posted by Bill Jeffels View Post

          neshaword,

          You know what content writing is. And that's what you do. That's good, there's nothing wrong with that. But you have to understand the difference between copywriting and content writing because it's huge.

          And, No, just because you made an attempt at a landing page or to sell in an email series doesn't make you a copywriter. Even a little bit. Also, copwriters and content writers are totally different. It's just the way it is.

          Bill

          .
          You made your point. OK. It's acceptable.
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  • Profile picture of the author 1Bryan
    Nesha,

    You've written copy?

    You are a copywriter.

    P.S. I'm a trash talker. It comes from sports. Get me on a basketball court and all day long I'll be talking smack. And I can do the same on here from time to time. But at the end of the day, if you've written copy for pay?

    You are a copywriter.

    P.P.S. There's a confidence that comes from having a lot of money in the bank that you got from writing copy. I hope you get to experience it. You'll never give one single shit about what folks on here label as "copywriting."
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by 1Bryan View Post

      Nesha,

      You've written copy?

      You are a copywriter.

      P.S. I'm a trash talker. It comes from sports. Get me on a basketball court and all day long I'll be talking smack. And I can do the same on here from time to time. But at the end of the day, if you've written copy for pay?

      You are a copywriter.

      P.P.S. There's a confidence that comes from having a lot of money in the bank that you got from writing copy. I hope you get to experience it. You'll never give one single shit about what folks on here label as "copywriting."
      Then, do we really have to be so passionate about it? I mean, if you gonna call me a freelancer. OK. If you gonna call me a copywriter. OK again. A content writer. Thanks again. A writer. I would buy a beer for that. It's just like you hurt someone's feelings if you don't address them right.

      You said it yourself. If it works and brings money, who cares how is it called. Right?
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

    Some warriors think that is very important to make a clear difference between a copywriter, content writer, and writer. Honestly, I thought it wasn't such a big deal. Then, after seeing that this question repeats itself more than once in a few threads, I decided to pay attention to it. It turns out that you think you know, at least this was the case with me, but actually you don't. So, I did a little bit a research about it.

    A writer is a general term. Hope we can all agree about it. As soon as we associate money and sales with the writing we enter the copywriting zone. I used this formula, which helped me to better understand this semantics gymnastics. Let's see how accurate it is:

    writer + money = copywriter
    and
    writer + sales = copywriter


    I should also mention another definition I stumble upon online. In one of copywriting LinkedIn groups, one guy wrote something like, a copywriter is a writer who tries to achieve the maximum with the minimal number of words. Yet, for some reason, copywriting will be something that I will always associate with the Mad Men TV show and Donald Draper. I know it sounds like a shameless cliche, but I'm helpless in this case.

    So, what's happening with content writers? I guess that a content writer is a writer who doesn't write a copy, but rather the content for some website. If you aren't a copywriter, then you are a content writer. Is this true?

    I just don't get it. Why is it so important for some guys to define themselves and their work as copywriters and copywriting? Does it really matter? I guess it does because they wouldn't be so passionate about it, otherwise. It seems that it is better to be a copywriter than a content writer. Why? I just don't know. Again, if you are asking me, I'm a freelancer. When I write slogans, taglines, and catchphrases, I'm a copywriter. When I write some web pages, I think I'm a content writer. Finally, when I write Terms and Conditions, or Privacy Policy for a website, I'm a paralegal, I guess.

    Here's my question? When I write the content for a landing page, what am I, a copywriter or content writer? I create web content, but with the sales and money-making purposes as a priority.

    So, this is an invitation for all those proud copywriters out there. Enlighten me and show me the right way of copywriting. My hat is ready to fly off just like that if I hear a catchy definition. If you know what you're doing and writing, then coming up with a simple and easy to remember a definition of a copywriter, shouldn't be much of a problem.

    Also, I would like to hear why it is so important to draw a line between copywriters and content writers. What's a big deal about it? I have been writing for a couple of years now, and I still don't have a clue, how to define myself and how it is called what I do for a living.

    Let the semantic games begin!
    Seems (from some of your posts) you've had a lot of clients these past two years, and you've had several disputes with some of them, and as per your posts, they don't seem to want to hire you again nor keep you on any sort of a retainer. Is this all correct?

    So, it appears you get work, albeit, not very good pay, you write a lot, but continue to struggle and need a breakthrough and you don't retain clients.

    Call yourself anything you want, it only matters to the clients you target, and it appears in your case, via content mills and freelance sites, you get low rung clients, and they don't seem to care what you call yourself, so does it matter to you? .
    .
    Why concern yourself with semantics at this point, you haven't shown much concern for anyone's opinion so far, why start now?


    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Gordon,

      I still hope it's never too late to make the right thing. Some people think this is important. For some of them this is much more than a simple semantics game. I see it as an opportunity to learn something new. At least I did some reading trying to find an acceptable and understandable definition for a copywriter and content writer. So, it was worth it. Every opportunity or the cause to learn something new and discuss a point that people care about is appreciated.

      One or two warriors put it nicely. At least you should know what you are doing and how and why it is called that way. Guess, this is the next level. Some people I met are still stuck in the copywriter vs copyright zone. My kid will know what to say in the school when being asked what is it that your dad does for a living.

      Thx,
      N
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Content writers are supposed to write articles (or blog posts) that are INTERESTING.

    Copywriters are supposed to PERSUADE. Interestingness doesn't really count if it doesn't persuade, in this setting.

    I have retrained award-winning content writers - aka journalists, one of whom had won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting - as copywriters. They were masters of the written word for one purpose but had to start at the bottom learning the other way to write.

    There is little to no overlap between the two forms of writing, except in things like using the English language, writing in sentences and paragraphs, etc.

    Honestly, I don't know anyone who would hire a copywriter who didn't understand the differences between the two kinds of writing.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    • Profile picture of the author TeaCozy
      "Content writers are supposed to write articles (or blog posts) that are INTERESTING.

      Copywriters are supposed to PERSUADE. Interestingness doesn't really count if it doesn't persuade, in this setting."

      I agree with this whole heartedly - but I am not sure that there is a massive debate going on.

      I know a few people that have fallen into this area of marketing and they are marketing experts who are incredible at persuading the target market with CTA's and turning leads into business. While content writers are creating just that there can be a blurred line and there are people who are capable of doing both.

      I'm of the opinion that it doesn't really matter too much about this debate, rather that the people who are copywriting and content writing know what they are doing.

      I'd say that this may be similar to the old tomato vs. tomatoe debate... potato vs. potatoe... if you get my drift.
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      • Profile picture of the author neshaword
        Originally Posted by TeaCozy View Post

        "Content writers are supposed to write articles (or blog posts) that are INTERESTING.

        Copywriters are supposed to PERSUADE. Interestingness doesn't really count if it doesn't persuade, in this setting."

        I agree with this whole heartedly - but I am not sure that there is a massive debate going on.

        I know a few people that have fallen into this area of marketing and they are marketing experts who are incredible at persuading the target market with CTA's and turning leads into business. While content writers are creating just that there can be a blurred line and there are people who are capable of doing both.

        I'm of the opinion that it doesn't really matter too much about this debate, rather that the people who are copywriting and content writing know what they are doing.

        I'd say that this may be similar to the old tomato vs. tomatoe debate... potato vs. potatoe... if you get my drift.
        Right. Hope you trust me I didn't want to spark a debate for the sake of the debate itself. I just noticed that quite a few people care about it. Then, I realized and admitted to myself that I'm simply not good at defining and explaining these things. My hat off to the guys who obviously know what they are doing. So, in a way it was worth it. Obviously, only copywriters provided explanations. That's understandable, of course. Yet, would like to know, if there are content writers around. Or, they are an endangered species here, lol. Thx. Appreciated.
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

      Content writers are supposed to write articles (or blog posts) that are INTERESTING.

      Copywriters are supposed to PERSUADE. Interestingness doesn't really count if it doesn't persuade, in this setting.

      I have retrained award-winning content writers - aka journalists, one of whom had won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting - as copywriters. They were masters of the written word for one purpose but had to start at the bottom learning the other way to write.

      There is little to no overlap between the two forms of writing, except in things like using the English language, writing in sentences and paragraphs, etc.

      Honestly, I don't know anyone who would hire a copywriter who didn't understand the differences between the two kinds of writing.

      Marcia Yudkin
      Great points, indeed. I admit that I may have underestimated the borderline between the two worlds. Some outstanding content writers would find it difficult to be successful copywriters and vice versa. It really makes a perfect sense. Also, it may be a little bit pretentious to say, I can do it both. People who can do all the things usually ends up doing nothing worth mentioning.

      OK. This was a journey of self-exploration. Guess, I am a content writer who had occasional trips to the world of copywriting. Successful or not, I got paid for them. So, I call it a fair deal.

      Appreciated,
      N
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    • Profile picture of the author 1Bryan
      Nesha,

      I finished a full-on campaign not that long ago for a small local non profit.

      I wrote EVERYTHING.

      I wrote 6 articles. 15 emails. 36 social media posts. 2 video scripts. 1 VSL script plus the text based variant that also mailed USPS.

      We TRIPLED the goal. And the goal was already "lofty" in their eyes.

      Every piece of content that a prospect comes across IS a variable in whether or not they convert.

      It's ALL copy.

      And when you can create full campaigns like that for someone else?

      You can create 'em for yourself.

      And leave these silly "labels" aside.

      Because you have your own BUSINESS.

      Plus ...

      Why do you want other people to put THEIR label on you?

      I've made a lot of money for myself and clients in 17 years. But some of the "mentors" on there wouldn't call me a copywriter.

      Cuz I don't talk writing, I talk SALES.

      (Like most working direct response copywriters ... it's the SALE and not the collection of words that really matters)

      You think I care?

      That's what happens when you get your OWN RESULTS.

      You don't care what folks on a forum have to say.Go look through some of their posts. Some?

      Only post to scold others. To tell them they are wrong. Or to point out grammar and spelling errors like some wannabe Prof with their trusty red pen.

      Sales folk don't operate that way.

      So chances are good ... you are taking on a label give to you from someone who CAN'T sell.

      All they did was memorize formulas and rules and called themselves an "expert" from day one.

      P.S. Marcia?

      The advertorial/sponsored post/native ad IS the blending of journalism and sales.

      How you don't know that as a "mentor"?

      I don't know.



      It's par for the Warrior Forum course though. Native Ads, Sponsored Posts, Advertorials?

      When they are GOOD?

      They are a perfect blend of sales and journalism. The lines ARE blurring.

      Blurring the Lines Editor & Publisher

      Over the summer, the New York Times posted a native ad that was so compelling that it could have easily passed as an editorial feature, a piece about the rise in the population of women serving time in prison, complete with charts, videos, animation, and a 1,500-word story penned by Melanie Deziel, who has impressive degrees in journalism from the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.
      Also ... plenty of articles are written to persuade. You don't need a degree or be a writer to know that. Anyone who reads has read something meant to persuade.

      Silly labels.
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Let me use someone I know as an example.

    He's an ASE certified Master Technician. Means he knows automobiles pretty well.

    A likely equivalent in our field? Let's say an MFA.

    (note: I'm not in any way, shape or form suggesting you need an MFA or a degree or certification before entering this field - just drawing a parallel for example's sake)


    Means you've done a lot of studying. You understand the mechanics of language pretty well. You know how to put words together in order to achieve a certain goal.

    Much like my friend knows how the parts work together to keep the car running.

    But he's also a Master Technician for two well known luxury brands.

    ASE was the broad category. The brands were the specialty focus.

    So as an MFA you have experience with a lot of different types of writing. One of them could be potentially sales writing, which is a sub-specialty within the overall business of writing. Other sub-specialties include novel writing, content writing, website writing, technical writing, screenwriting (stop me any time now).

    Let's add another twist to it -

    There's a reason in the movies there's such a thing as "story by" vs. "screenplay by".

    Steven King knows how to write the story, but he doesn't know the ins and outs of film production the way a screenwriter does. King writes the story, consults on the script development. A screenwriter does the actual script writing, because they know how to tell the story in film sequences.

    There's overlap. But there's a lot of nuance that a specialist knows, simply because they spend every day deep in the details.
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      Steven King knows how to write the story, but he doesn't know the ins and outs of film production the way a screenwriter does. King writes the story, consults on the script development. A screenwriter does the actual script writing, because they know how to tell the story in film sequences.

      There's overlap. But there's a lot of nuance that a specialist knows, simply because they spend every day deep in the details.
      Always like to hear from you Angie. One of my favorite writers too. So, if this is to be my moment of truth, I choose to be Steven KIng, rather than Donald Draper from the Mad Men. If fiction is my destiny, then let it be. Just recall something. This is funny and worth remembering.

      Picasso actually made a couple of movie posters. Really. It is just like asking King to write a catchy phrase for your product, lol.

      Thx,
      N
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  • Hellor neshaword,

    Your last sentence, in the last paragraph, of your original post, is where your answer lies.

    I have been writing for a couple of years now, and I still don't have a clue, how to define myself and how it is called what I do for a living.

    You may be a Freelance Commercial Writer. (Not tv or radio) and do not know it. You dabble here. You dabble there.

    That is a great start. But to know the craft you must start looking at other writing segments to specialize in.

    Main reason? If you haven't met them yet, you will. Clients that insist on a specific style of writing. If you don't know how to write in this style, they will not give you the time of day. You lose another project opportunity to advance your career.

    So I ask you:

    Are you familiar with AP or Chicago Style writing?

    What about Direct Response style writing?

    What is the style of writing for Magalogs called?

    If you do not know how to write copy in these styles, this means you will miss out on lucrative projects.

    If it's simply defining yourself, which pulls you up out of the rut you are in, bill yourself as a Freelance Commercial Writer.

    As for those of us who draw the line in the sand, think of it like this:

    Surgeons Operate - General Practitioners examine, diagnose and prescribe.

    Yes. Both are doctors. Each practices a different type of medicine and healing.

    Guess which one is paid more.

    A copy writer is a word surgeon.

    Chinchilla
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    Force-Communication - "It is the noble art of causing a client, a customer, or a prospect to perform a positive act as the direct result of reading your words." - Herschell Gordon Lewis
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

      Hellor neshaword,

      Your last sentence, in the last paragraph, of your original post, is where your answer lies.

      I have been writing for a couple of years now, and I still don't have a clue, how to define myself and how it is called what I do for a living.

      You may be a Freelance Commercial Writer. (Not tv or radio) and do not know it. You dabble here. You dabble there.

      That is a great start. But to know the craft you must start looking at other writing segments to specialize in.

      Main reason? If you haven't met them yet, you will. Clients that insist on a specific style of writing. If you don't know how to write in this style, they will not give you the time of day. You lose another project opportunity to advance your career.

      So I ask you:

      Are you familiar with AP or Chicago Style writing?

      What about Direct Response style writing?

      What is the style of writing for Magalogs called?

      If you do not know how to write copy in these styles, this means you will miss out on lucrative projects.

      If it's simply defining yourself, which pulls you up out of the rut you are in, bill yourself as a Freelance Commercial Writer.

      As for those of us who draw the line in the sand, think of it like this:

      Surgeons Operate - General Practitioners examine, diagnose and prescribe.

      Yes. Both are doctors. Each practices a different type of medicine and healing.

      Guess which one is paid more.

      A copy writer is a word surgeon.

      Chinchilla
      You know what the Promotional Guy? I would make a list of all the things you mentioned. I definitely need to read a thing or two about those styles and what they mean.

      Regarding surgery thing, guess I'm nothing more than a voodoo doctor, lol.

      I don't feel bad about it. You don't know things because you either still have to learn them or you are too lazy to do something about them. OK. You will pay the price. You will miss the lucrative projects. So, this is a rightful punishment.

      Just one more thing. I'm pretty much sure you can't learn how to write novels. It's in you or it's not. What's the situation with copywriting? You have to be a natural born one, or?
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      • Hellor neshaword,

        Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

        Just one more thing. I'm pretty much sure you can't learn how to write novels. It's in you or it's not. What's the situation with copywriting? You have to be a natural born one, or?
        All writing can be taught. Never allow yourself to believe writing a novel is in you or not. It's just plain ole hard work and putting in the time.

        Honestly, as you read the old timer's books, you discover word structures and formulas the average reader takes for granted.

        When I first started writing copy I had no idea what I was doing. All I know is my copy brought in sales.

        Then I stumbled onto a book about copy writing. To this day I can't remember if it was a Dan Kennedy book or a Bob Bly book.

        Reading through the book I learned that the style of writing I was doing was called "Direct Response".

        Do note: I was a businessman long before I wrote copy. So I have a selling background.

        The other area copy writers study is psychology and sociology. We want to know consumer buying habits. What writing mechanism triggers both positive and negative responses to our copy.

        Just remember 23 years ago I had no clue. But studying and practicing and testing I'm getting better.

        Chinchilla
        Signature
        Force-Communication - "It is the noble art of causing a client, a customer, or a prospect to perform a positive act as the direct result of reading your words." - Herschell Gordon Lewis
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        • Profile picture of the author neshaword
          A fellow salesman this is great, lol. I spend almost a decade in sales. In a way, you just need to put your sales experience and approach on a paper. It's a huge encouragement, though. I will try to learn it from the best. Will try to find some good books for sure. I also remember that I had my sales instructor. He was all about the true sales grid and stuff. You need to be a natural born salesman. Yet, he also said that it takes a lot of practice and meetings with the clients to do it right. So, it fits perfectly into your story. Thx. N
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Obviously, only copywriters provided explanations. That's understandable, of course. Yet, would like to know, if there are content writers around. Or, they are an endangered species here, lol.
    This is a copywriting forum. That is why you are getting answers from copywriters.

    We have been trying to tell you all year that this forum is not about content writing. I don't know why that is such a hard concept to take in,

    Marcia Yudkin
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      I admit it. Had some difficulties hitting the right forum categories. My bad. I saw Copywriting. Lemme put there everything and anything that have to do with writing. It was a wrong thing to do. Writing about writing in the Main Forum seems like a little bit pretentious thing to do. That was the only reason. Now, I have come out of my content writing closet. So, there is nothing to worry about, lol.

      Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I'll throw my 2 cents into the mix and say there's a HUGE difference between a writer/content writer and a copywriter.

    A writer is somebody who writes informative material that can be for websites, for resale to other people, blog posts, eBooks and a lot of other things. A writer generally isn't a copywriter, even though it's common for clients to ask for writers to write sales articles, emails and other forms of material.

    A copywriter writes sales material, landing pages, emails and much more.
    The intention of this work is to sell sell whatever the client has paid them to sell.

    Some of the top copywriters can earn in excess of $100000 pa. Their skills include making the client keen to part with their money.

    But starting out is just like in most fields. You learn and develop skills and gradually improve to the point where you have to turn down work due to a large workload already.

    Over the years I have been contacted by potential clients and have had to knock them back as they really need a copywriter. I find honesty is the best policy and never take on a job you know you can't do.
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Honesty is the best policy. One of my favorites too, lol. One more thing. Have to admit. I just noticed it. You are a Writer and Proofreader. Not a copywriter. All the guys had this Copywriter label, so honestly I stop paying attention to it. Yet, there's a difference. You don't know what you are, so there's an excuse. You still trying to find your rightful place. You pretend to be something or someone else. This is a completely different thing.

      I think that my heart is in the content zone. Yet, when I see these figures reserved for copywriters, I'm salivating a lot, lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    When I introduce myself as content writer, they want to pay me $5-50 for a 500-word piece.

    When I introduce myself as copywriter, I tell them I want $x for y. Y can be the same article they'd be willing to pay me only 5 to 50 for. But the $Y starts at 200, even if the content I produce is 1 word long.
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by DABK View Post

      When I introduce myself as content writer, they want to pay me $5-50 for a 500-word piece.

      When I introduce myself as copywriter, I tell them I want for y. Y can be the same article they'd be willing to pay me only 5 to 50 for. But the starts at 200, even if the content I produce is 1 word long.
      So, it's all about the benjamins after all. Maybe content writing is more let's say enjoyable and creative, but obviously copywriting pays the bills. So, those who want the fame and creativity moments end up in the content writing zone. Those sales and money oriented work as copywriters. Fair enough. It's all up to us to make our own choice. This reminds me of one thing I should definitely do. On freelancer platforms, there are statistics features. You can check very precisely how much money you make on copywriting or content writing projects. I will definitely have a close look. Thx. N
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      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        Not quite my point. My point is: there's a difference; the difference has to do with desired and delivered results.

        I offer a bunch of services. There are two ways to deliver such services:
        determine how much I want to make, then find people who want them and are willing and able to pay me as much as I want

        find people who want my services and deliver those services at whatever those people are willing to pay for.

        I'll tell you a story outside of writing, so your emotions don't get in the way of you understanding.

        I used to own a real estate appraising company. I knew 2 other real estate appraising companies. I and them had one client in common. And one day we met, me and those 2 other appraisers, and talked shop.

        We all charged $250 for a basic appraisal and we all thought it was too low. I said, As of next week, I'll charge $300. Other appraiser number 2 said, I'll start on the first of next month. So did appraiser number 3.

        So, as of the 1st of the following month, we all charged $300 (not agreed upon in advanced; it so happened).

        The client complained to all of them. I said: the government's requiring additional forms with each appraisal. Providing them costs me, so I have to raise my prices.

        I'll stop hiring you, the client said. It's your choice. I understand you have to keep prices low for YOUR clients, but I can't deliver more for the same.

        About a month and a few appraisals at the higher price later, I get a call from appraiser #3. He wanted me to lower my prices to $275. It was a win/win, he said, I'd be getting paid more than I had used to and the client would be paying less than $300, which they really, truly and triple really and truly did not want to pay.

        I said, They're paying me $300 now, so how the hell is me getting paid $275 a win for me?

        You used to get $250, he said.

        But now I get $300.

        But you used to get $250.

        That client gave me less work, but did not stop entirely. I got other clients to pay $300.

        A year later, I raised my prices yet again.

        A year later, I dood it again.

        When we started, I had 2 appraisers working for me and was charging $250. Appraiser #3 had 1 other appraiser in his company and was charging $250.

        3 years later, he had one other appraiser working for him and was getting $275.
        3 years later, I had gone to 7 appraisers working for me and was charging $350 for the same work he was charging $275.

        I had the option of working with people who were willing/able to pay only $250 or $275.

        I had people, loan officers and homeowners, calling me to ask, who the hell I thought I was to charge $350 when so and so and so and so charged $300.

        And I said: a guy who wants to be paid $350 or more per appraisal and has clients willing to pay.

        So, I am saying, a lot was my attitude and desire to not work for less than a certain amount.

        I am also saying: because I charged more, I could do things they could not, like hire an extra person who answered phones/did trouble shooting. It ended up like this:

        You called a lot of appraisal companies and you'd get a voice message that said, among other things: One of our people will call you back within 48 hours while, at my company, a real, live, efficient human being took your call on the spot if you called between 9 to 5, called you by 9:30 the next day, if you called after hours.

        But, while I was doing a measly $300/basic appraisal, there were people who did none of them. Instead, they appraised projects that started at $70,000 (that involved large teams and ended up making those appraisal companies more money in 1 week than I made in 1 month or year.

        Their skills were above mine (as appraiser, as business owner, as marketer) but, in the end, all they did was look at a bunch of properties, compare them, draw a conclusion regarding value. Which is what I did too.

        Back to copywriting vs writing. The label is not relevant. What's relevant is what you do and how much you're willing to accept as payment for doing it.

        You will find no copywriter saying no to writing a regular blog post for $10,000, unless in the same amount of time they could write a sale letter that made them more than that.

        You will find no copywriter willing to write a blog post for $20 even if they had no work right then. Because marketing for a copywriting job pays way more than that.

        Edit:
        At the time, I had appraisers willing to work for me for 50% (considered the going rate) of what I charged and one who didn't care what the going rate was, he wanted 65%. (I paid them what they wanted. The one who cost me 65% per appraisal made me, on average $4700 a month; the ones that costs me 50%, made me between $2200 and $2800, if memory serves.

        He was better and, because of that, faster. He was better at appraising, but also at time management, scheduling his appointments... He had a day when he inspected properties, followed by 2 days when he developed the appraisal (office work). The others inspected one property in the morning, worked on it in the afternoon. They spend far more time and gas money than the one who charged 65%.

        Why did I pay him more in the beginning, before I knew he'd be making me more money? Because he asked, pointing out how he is better at appraising and how he's willing to work the entire weekend if I need him to and that the review process of his work was 20 minutes per appraisal while the others required 50 or 60 minutes.

        And he did not whine.

        If he did not like something, he said something to me on the spot. We came to agreements, sometimes going my way, sometimes going his way. But if he agreed to move forward, he moved forward, I did not hear about it again. When things were beyond his skills, he told me upfront (the others did not; they thought they'd get started and when they got to the part where they needed help, I'd jump in or get someone else to do so (without them losing any part of their 50%).

        You have no idea how much I appreciated him telling me he did not know how to appraise a particular type of property, or that the time I needed it done in was too short for him based on his skills and other commitments!

        And he never, ever, complained about him giving me half of the fee I charged.
        Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

        So, it's all about the benjamins after all. Maybe content writing is more let's say enjoyable and creative, but obviously copywriting pays the bills. So, those who want the fame and creativity moments end up in the content writing zone. Those sales and money oriented work as copywriters. Fair enough. It's all up to us to make our own choice. This reminds me of one thing I should definitely do. On freelancer platforms, there are statistics features. You can check very precisely how much money you make on copywriting or content writing projects. I will definitely have a close look. Thx. N
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  • Profile picture of the author dburk
    The difference between a copywriter and and a content writer is like the difference between a massage therapist and an orthopedic surgeon.

    Anyone could be trained to do any of those jobs, you just expect your copywriters, and orthopedic surgeons, to have way more training, experience, and expertise than a massage therapist, or a content writer.

    Oh... and you can expect to pay very different rates based on the varying levels of expertise needed to perform those tasks and the critical nature of the outcome.
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by dburk View Post

      The difference between a copywriter and and a content writer is like the difference between a massage therapist and an orthopedic surgeon.

      Anyone could be trained to do any of those jobs, you just expect your copywriters, and orthopedic surgeons, to have way more training, experience, and expertise than a massage therapist, or a content writer.

      Oh... and you can expect to pay very different rates based on the varying levels of expertise needed to perform those tasks and the critical nature of the outcome.
      I see that medical comparisons are popular these days, lol. Surgery is the new black, lol.

      I agree, you may have to write fewer words as a copywriter, but you have to think twice as hard when you write them. On the other hand, you get paid more accordingly for your efforts. So, I'm not gonna make a mistake if I say that content writers are "entertainers" in a way, while copywriters are the salesmen of the writing world.
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  • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
    I think this is sort of like a web developer vs. a web designer.

    Technically, a web developer works on coding, and that's it; a web designer works on the design of the site (layout, graphics, etc.), and that's it.

    However, in the common vernacular, the two terms are used interchangeably. I see many ads for "web design" where the employer/client clearly wants a developer, and vice versa, as well as ads where they expect the individual to do both development and design.

    Similarly, I had a full-time, W2 job in the early aughties where I my job title was "copywriter." However, most of what I wrote was web content, not sales copy. And most of the ads I see today for "copywriters," both W2 and 1099, involve writing content, not sales copy.

    So, I see this both ways. I agree that technically, calling a content writer a copywriter is not correct, just as -- and I liked this metaphor -- calling an author a "screenwriter" is not correct. However, in the common vernacular, "copywriter" and "content writer" are often interchanged; hence, the confusion.

    I've been calling myself a "technical content writer" because I largely write blogs and articles about cyber security -- but not product manuals, which is what a "technical writer" does. I just got a new client who is having me write blogs about direct mail marketing; he calls me a "copywriter." I'm not going to get in his face about that. =)

    I understand the confusion!
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by teresarothaar View Post

      I've been calling myself a "technical content writer" because I largely write blogs and articles about cyber security -- but not product manuals, which is what a "technical writer" does. I just got a new client who is having me write blogs about direct mail marketing; he calls me a "copywriter." I'm not going to get in his face about that. =)

      I understand the confusion!
      Teresa,

      I was about to ask you why do you associate the "technical content writer" (may I say label) with your name, but you explained it all at the end of your comment, lol. You focus, specialize, and emphasize your strongest points. This is definitely something I am willing to "borrow." I will be a specific kind of writer according to the earnings I make in the certain field. Maybe, one of the solutions would be to say I'm a "creative writer." Honestly, I don't dare to "specialize" like you did. Why? Because I allow my clients to label me as they want as long as they willing to pay for it, lol.

      I didn't understand the confusion, in the first place, to be quite honest. I definitely didn't plan to ruffle the feathers with my question. Yet, I'm glad that the things are perfectly clear now. Yes, it's important. Yes, it's so much more than just semantics for some people who write for a living.

      Appreciated,
      N
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Maybe content writing is more let's say enjoyable and creative, but obviously copywriting pays the bills. So, those who want the fame and creativity moments end up in the content writing zone.
    Where did you get the idea that copywriting is not creative? I just spent half a week at a copywriting conference and the examples of creativity in the case studies there were most impressive. Creative direct-response copywriters are among those who make six and seven figures.

    And are you really pursuing fame in your content writing career? From your previous posts, it seemed that you were trying to scratch out a living for low-paying publishers/content sites. I would love to hear how in your mind that is going to lead to fame! There are so many routes to success, but this is one that I have not yet heard of.

    Marcia Yudkin
    Signature
    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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  • Flooid kudos
    gotta have sumthin'
    beyond exchangea
    swishin' reportage.

    Otherwise buyers
    gonna stick fast ---
    black belt winnaza
    homage.

    I understand fully my obligations to answer the frickin' question, poised as I am between forumular thwapgasm an' ...

    booby doop ...

    thing is, I do not appreciate bein' drowned out by loud bar guys whoopin' football over my momentarily fleetsome versiture

    an' I figure we all want summa that peaceamind

    **** off alla you stoopid bigmouth guys, jus' let me hang out here, yanno?

    like my breath gonna count for sumthin'?

    OR

    aw, **** --- prolly I should writerditz on out right now an' fill up with football talk

    slamdunk the home run ace the fricko outta my slinksomely internalized oozeful pussypipe, the better to max out on voluble shimmera voicea mortals screamin' YEH YEH YEH WAYTA GO INFINITE AMOUNTSA SUDDENLY PERMISSIBLE EXCLAMATION MARKS

    FULL FRICKO STOP

    but then I pause to seek commanda touch beyond sensationa these tangibly evident guys

    to bars where my irritated tits poke not
    from outta my huffo snuffo chest

    an' sweet evrythings,
    bluff an' true an' beautiful,
    rage outta souls
    beyond capturea my
    wildest dreamsa discourse

    landin' ultimately as wants
    before my rangea impossibly open ...

    aw,

    gotta shut up shp


    Thing is

    Nesh,

    contributeurs,

    bar guys,

    Moi ----

    guess we are all fluxin' out on passion

    gonna turn out

    kinda

    VOILA.


    I would wanna scoop that stuff outta the feelable ether

    an' suffocate all breath

    from the OR.
    Signature

    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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  • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
    I didn't so much decide to specialize in technical content writing as I fell into it. I have a bachelor's in math/CIS and an MS in MIS (as well as an MBA). A cyber security company hired me to write some blogs for them. After I'd gotten some experience, two others followed, and now, I have a little niche. However, I do pick up clients outside of cyber security. I just got the direct mailing guy, and another company that aggregates data hired me to write a press release.

    In general, I get paid far more for the technical content because "everyone" can't just run out and write informed articles about enterprise cyber security, especially articles ghostwritten for a CEO that a PR firm is pitching for publication in major online magazines. In fact, everyone who hires me told me they tried to hire general content writers/copywriters and found that it failed miserably. You need some semblance of an IT background to be able to write the type of material I produce. For example, I have a client whose software scans for user anomalies at the application level. The software is also self-learning. I understand exactly what all of that means; most writers without an IT background would not.

    Now, all that said, I am in the process of transitioning into web development because I do not feel that writing is my strength. I'm rather slow, and while I'm not flat-out broke, I find myself scrambling to make a modest income, and I don't see myself making the kind of money I want to make (six figures) in this particular business. I bolded the word "myself" because I know that others do, but they are far more skilled in writing sales copy than I am, and sales is where the big money is. Plus, I don't care much for writing; I'd rather code. I want to use my education more directly.

    From your threads, it seems like you are struggling even more than I am. I strongly suggest you either fix what's wrong with your current business model or figure out something else to do and move in that direction. Complaining on message boards about being broke isn't going to get you anywhere. I know; I wasted way too much time doing that, time I could have spent fixing my situation.
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Thx Teresa.

      To tell you the truth I recognized myself in your words. I tried a couple of times to handle that turned out to be too "techy" for me. The last time an Aussie client needed something called hyper-convergence. Wrote one blog to start with. I cried my eyes out. He wasn't satisfied. I was honest that this was extremely time consuming for me. At least he paid something for the effort. I didn't ask for it, but I certainly appreciate it .

      Speaking about my threads. Maybe you stumble upon a thread where I am having some second thoughts about coding too, lol. One of my clients suggested me to learn some Golang. Apparently, he needs more Golang developers than blog writers like me, lol. To be honest, I am doing fine. Wrote some small and simple programs for my kids math home assignments. Yet, I am quite a few years away from the moment when I can make some real money with it.

      Either way, I am throwing my last cards to the eBook I am currently writing. If it doesn't work, then I am gonna do something really dramatically, like giving up on writing for good. I am not aiming six figures like you, I would settle for five figures with a huge smile on my face, lol.

      Sometimes you just one right word to save your day. Just like I have found one right comment to ease my situation. I am really grateful. What you wrote was a Good Karma move and you will be rewarded for it. I don't know how, when, and who will do it, but I just know.

      Cheers,
      N
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  • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
    Now, I know someone will ask: Why are you here if you want to transition out of writing? LOL Because it's a process, a transition, and if I can make more money writing in the interim, I'm all for that.

    Plus, my husband -- who feels that writing is his greatest strength -- is a copywriter who is struggling mightily, and I'm looking for tips that may help him. I already pointed him to some of 1Bryan's excellent comments on the thread about Upwork.
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Guess one copywriter in the family is a copywriter too many, lol. It is easy for you to say, lol.

      Best of luck to both of you=)
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  • Profile picture of the author John Pagulayan
    A copywriter is someone who writes with the intention of eliciting a response. Whether it's to sign up for a newsletter, buy something, click on a link, share an article...if you're practicing direct response writing, you're a copywriter.

    A content writer is judged based on his creativity while a copywriter is judged based on tangible results - it could be any of the following: the number of shares generated, number of sales, number of clicks, percentage of opt-ins, etc...

    It's the exact reason why copywriters are paid huge amounts of money because we can justify the cost.

    Say you hire me to write a launch sequence which is going to bring you over 100k in sales...would you hesitate to pay me 5k even if it's just 10 emails?
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Originally Posted by John Pagulayan View Post

      A copywriter is someone who writes with the intention of eliciting a response. Whether it's to sign up for a newsletter, buy something, click on a link, share an article...if you're practicing direct response writing, you're a copywriter.

      A content writer is judged based on his creativity while a copywriter is judged based on tangible results - it could be any of the following: the number of shares generated, number of sales, number of clicks, percentage of opt-ins, etc...

      It's the exact reason why copywriters are paid huge amounts of money because we can justify the cost.

      Say you hire me to write a launch sequence which is going to bring you over 100k in sales...would you hesitate to pay me 5k even if it's just 10 emails?
      Thank you John. People keep saying copywriters should be paid more. Why? Now, I know. They put food on the table. I don't have a problem with it. I do my job. My client gets a nice looking content for his website. Yet, there comes another guy to make sure the conversion does its job. So, it's fair. I would like to be a copywriter and earn more. However, I realized that I simply have to have a different set of skills and a completely different approach. So, everyone has to do his job. This is how it works. This is how it is paid. Thank you. N
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  • Profile picture of the author BackinBlack
    Hi,

    It's not semantics at all.

    It's important to make the distinction as the two have different goals entirely.

    I see this all the time and it makes me a little nuts.

    For example: The freelance job boards are full of postings looking for 'copywriters' but, when you dig into the details of the gig you discover what they really need is a content writer.

    I am a direct response (DR) copywriter. I write sales copy. It's designed to do one thing only: sell products.

    It's not designed to encourage a dialogue like blog content writing.

    It's not designed with the goal of having Google rank it high in the SERP's like article writing.

    It's not purely educational like eBook writing (although some eBooks can serve double duty via links to sales pages).

    It can include useful information prospects are interested in to add value to an offer but, ultimately its main purpose is to sell a product.

    Hope this helps
    Brad
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  • Profile picture of the author splitTest
    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

    Some warriors think that is very important to make a clear difference between a copywriter, content writer, and writer. Honestly, I thought it wasn't such a big deal. Then, after seeing that this question repeats itself more than once in a few threads, I decided to pay attention to it. It turns out that you think you know, at least this was the case with me, but actually you don't. So, I did a little bit a research about it.

    A writer is a general term. Hope we can all agree about it. As soon as we associate money and sales with the writing we enter the copywriting zone. I used this formula, which helped me to better understand this semantics gymnastics. Let's see how accurate it is:

    writer + money = copywriter
    and
    writer + sales = copywriter


    I should also mention another definition I stumble upon online. In one of copywriting LinkedIn groups, one guy wrote something like, a copywriter is a writer who tries to achieve the maximum with the minimal number of words. Yet, for some reason, copywriting will be something that I will always associate with the Mad Men TV show and Donald Draper. I know it sounds like a shameless cliche, but I'm helpless in this case.

    So, what's happening with content writers? I guess that a content writer is a writer who doesn't write a copy, but rather the content for some website. If you aren't a copywriter, then you are a content writer. Is this true?

    I just don't get it. Why is it so important for some guys to define themselves and their work as copywriters and copywriting? Does it really matter? I guess it does because they wouldn't be so passionate about it, otherwise. It seems that it is better to be a copywriter than a content writer. Why? I just don't know. Again, if you are asking me, I'm a freelancer. When I write slogans, taglines, and catchphrases, I'm a copywriter. When I write some web pages, I think I'm a content writer. Finally, when I write Terms and Conditions, or Privacy Policy for a website, I'm a paralegal, I guess.

    Here's my question? When I write the content for a landing page, what am I, a copywriter or content writer? I create web content, but with the sales and money-making purposes as a priority.

    So, this is an invitation for all those proud copywriters out there. Enlighten me and show me the right way of copywriting. My hat is ready to fly off just like that if I hear a catchy definition. If you know what you're doing and writing, then coming up with a simple and easy to remember a definition of a copywriter, shouldn't be much of a problem.

    Also, I would like to hear why it is so important to draw a line between copywriters and content writers. What's a big deal about it? I have been writing for a couple of years now, and I still don't have a clue, how to define myself and how it is called what I do for a living.

    Let the semantic games begin!
    heh heh.. The terms are proliferating.

    There's journalist, publicist, content writer, copywriter, marketing copywriter, direct-response copywriter, etc. etc.

    There's overlap in the skill sets, such as when a copywriter writes an "advertorial"... the publicist writes a magazine article... etc.

    Anyhoo -- it really is all semantics, since many commercial writers work in multiple specialties... Not all, but many.

    That being said, "content" is generally about engagement. Keep 'em coming back.

    Copy is about conversion. Persuade them take a specific action, rather than just come back for more content.

    As to why copywriters make more $$ for "similar" work? Measurable results in $$.

    ...& why are some people online so concerned about the terms? Well, for one, you have to know the difference when you're talking to clients. ...But more urgently (online at least): copywriting boards sometimes get flooded with people who don't know the distinctions at all.

    Copywriting then becomes threatened with becoming synonymous with content writing... & that's probably not good for the field.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    It is FAR from being merely semantics as others have said.

    I am a writer/editor/proofreader.
    I also have sales skills and have written some content that is "salesy."
    However, I don't advertise as a copywriter because people expect more from material produced by copywriters. This includes: writing landing pages, web content, sales letters, sales emails, all to improve the client's traffic. Clients expect more traffic or subscriber or sales, depending on the instructions they give to begin with.

    I hope this has helped you understand a bit more.
    Signature

    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Check out my site or Blog. Ask if you have questions.

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  • Profile picture of the author Azharul83
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      No, a content writer and a copywriter are not the same thing. Surely, you do not know the meaning of the word copywriter if you think it's just a fancy name for a writer.

      And, as far as MHR Writing goes, no thanks, I don't need any kind of contain, though I do need some content. But, hey, since you don't sell content, what can I do but pass?

      Originally Posted by Azharul83 View Post

      Copywrite is the most illegal to other contain the copy. why you same by same copy to other person's contain?
      A Content Writer and a Copywriter is the same thing, right? They both write words used in online and offline content, so surely theyre just fancy names for what is essentially a writer. Our writers will provide you with essay writing service which contains zero plagiarism. MHR Writing is the best education contain, academic contain, official contain, and logical contains writers and assignment writing services site. We providing best contain and bad grammar, bad style removed this.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Azharul,

    If you claim to run a writing business and your post here is a reflection of that business, I would be very worried as a client.
    Copywrite and copyright are very different terms.
    Copywriting and writing are very different terms as well.
    Signature

    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Check out my site or Blog. Ask if you have questions.

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