What’s the Difference Between a Copywriter and a Content Marketer?

March 8, 2016

Content marketing and copywriting aren’t the same thing, but many people use them interchangeably.

Why does this matter?

Because each has their specific role, which are valuable to the overall marketing program, but they have important distinguishing characteristics. The easiest way to remember who holds responsibility for what is to flip the words in their name.

Content Marketing = marketing content. What?  Marketing is content, isn’t it? Technically, yes, that’s all marketing has ever been. And that’s what makes content marketing different. Here’s how to approach it in a way that makes better sense. Product marketers market products. They work on pricing, promotion, distribution, awareness and sales. Now, think of content as your product and you have content marketing. Because when you approach content as a strategic asset that creates value beyond what your company sells, then you move into true content marketing.

Content marketing is a strategic approach that consistently creates and distributes content that’s valuable and relevant to audiences in order to attract them, convert them and retain them as profitable customers. And that means that content, in and of itself, can be what drives revenue.

Think of media companies. They don’t publish a magazine and leave it there. They promote it, distribute it, woo subscribers and build revenue. The successful ones look at how they can continually deliver value and build revenue. Content is their product, but they also extend it into events, webinars, infographics, blogs, videos, social media and on-and-on.

Copywriters = writers of copy. Copywriters get people to take action…click a link, download a paper, follow a social media profile, visit an online (or offline) store or contact a sales person.

In any smart marketing environment content marketers and copywriters work together.

Ying and Yang

If you have great content but can’t seem to attract the audience you think you should have, it could be the copywriting. Or, if you have great content but aren’t able to motivate anyone to take action, you’ll never make money. That’s also where stellar copywriting comes in.

If, on the other hand, you have fabulous copywriting that draws the masses but can’t deliver with quality content then you need to back up a few steps. Think about how your content benefits readers and what problems you’re solving for them.

How about you? Are you using each of these disciplines in their proper place to build your audience and deliver great value?

Let me know in the comments section.

Photo credit: Flickr user Erich Stussi

About Carla Johnson


Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.

Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands has served as the foundation for many of her books.

In her latest project, Fast Forward Files, she contributes to a larger collection of thoughts by some of the world’s greatest minds -  Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee, activist and entrepreneur Heather Mills and behavioral designer, technologist and mental-health champion Peter Trainor. Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. 

Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.