Copy vs Content

posted October 16, 2017

Content vs. copy: what’s the difference?

Amy Anderson

At Dagger, we’re always sending each other inspiration. From thought leadership blog posts to cringy fail memes, keeping each other up-to-date is just part of the daily grind. Recently, a coworker sent me an article about the differences between content writers and copywriters. He wanted to know my thoughts (read: pressure’s on). After all, we don’t have a content writer here at Dagger. It’s just little old me, the copywriter.

Here’s the gist: copywriters sell, content writers inform. Copywriters tend to write in small spaces, such as banner ads, shampoo bottles and social posts. Content writers have more room, focusing on formats like blog posts, case studies and press releases. A copywriter’s biggest challenge is communicating a complex brand message in a few concise words. A content writer’s biggest challenge is keeping readers interested amid carefully-placed keywords.

Copywriters and content writers are both valuable, with distinct purposes. And large agencies often benefit by having writers who specialize in punchy copy as well as writers who specialize in engaging, long form content. These individuals are efficient and skilled. But not all agencies can hire separate writers for these roles. Guess what? That’s okay.

As a Dag, I fully embrace the responsibilities of both “copywriter” and “content writer.” Just like I have at other agencies. I’m not alone. Browse copywriter job descriptions online, and I guarantee you’ll find everything from case studies to landing pages listed under responsibilities. It’s not uncommon for us to take on short and long form copy. Why?

For many agencies, hiring a copywriter who can also write engaging content is killing two birds with one stone. But even better than that, hiring one person means hiring someone who practices flexibility—jumping from headline to article to video script. Rather than burning out easily, this person adapts easily. They switch mediums, rather than switching off. They put aside the tricky print ad for a blogpost, keeping on despite facing a block elsewhere. Then when it’s time to return, a new perspective bridges the gap.

Trust me, variety is the spice of work life.

As Dagger grows, I wouldn’t be surprised if our team adopted a content writer. I’d welcome this person, and we’d almost certainly get together to brainstorm, proof each other’s writing and share copy inspiration (that yearning for variety ain’t going anywhere). But for now, I’m glad to take on both short and long form copy. It’s the writer’s version of sweet and salty, and I never could decide between chocolate and cheese anyway.