Most brands can’t afford to have an in-house marketing team or dedicated writers. That means that many businesses go online to find a writer to put together the content they need.
There are many content mills out there that will connect you with someone who will put together a quick blog post for less than $20, but you won’t get more benefits from that post than if your 4-year-old niece wrote it.
Instead, you’ll need to search for professionals or ask colleagues for referrals. One thing you’ll notice right away is that sometimes these writers are referred to as copywriters, and sometimes they are called content writers.
So what’s the difference? Or is there any?
If you take the time to research it, you’ll find out there are a lot of opinions about hiring a copywriter vs. content writer. Here’s what you need to know:
Distilled to their most basic roles, copywriters and content writers do the same thing.
They both write website copy that is intended to attract more traffic and engage readers.
However, the popular belief is that content writers typically write informative articles that are free of promotion. Meanwhile, copywriters are thought to write more “serious” marketing copy that includes landing pages, service pages, ebooks, white papers and more.
The truth is that both types of writers should be creating the same kind of content.
But the reality is that those who market themselves as copywriters are going to provide that higher quality content. They are going to provide those extra services, such as looking at your analytics to see where your traffic needs a boost or creating buyer personas for your different marketing campaigns.
Those who market themselves as content writers are typically going to create content that fills a hole on your website, without regard to much else.
Again, it should be said that copywriters and content writers should be performing the same basic duties, but the reality is that they don’t.
This is especially clear when it comes to the research put into the writing. Professional copywriters will spend extensive time researching the subject matter, finding authoritative sources to link to, citing statistics, and even interviewing experts to quote, where applicable. Copywriters will also find charts, graphs and tables to include with the copy to illustrate the data.
Copywriters will also research the content that’s already on your site, as well as what’s on your competitors’ sites, to better understand the context for your content and how to make it better. Copywriters will also research the appropriate keywords to use, and even the appropriate hashtags for linking on social media.
Meanwhile, content writers will typically spend very little time researching their topic, if any. Most of these writers are hired to churn out flimsy copy that does not explore a subject matter in depth, so they don’t really need to research. They just need to discuss the topic superficially, without providing any concrete examples or facts.
Content writers also don’t spend much time learning about your site or your niche. Most only include keywords if you provide them.
Just like with any service, you get what you pay for when it comes to writers.
You can pay content writers as little as a couple dollars for a short blog post. Some get paid as little as 1 cent per word – sometimes less. The “good” content mills known for their higher pay offer as much as 3 or 4 cents a word, minus fees.
Professional copywriters charge hundreds of dollars for a page of content, and sometimes thousands. The best copywriters out there easily bring in six figures a year, and they aren’t fighting to get jobs.
If you want high-quality content that is going to generate traffic and build your brand reputation, pay your writers well. Look for experience and talent, and pay what it’s worth.
You’ll find as many content writers as you could ever want by just posting an ad on Craig’s list or a writer’s forum. You’ll get more applications than you can handle if you post on a content mill.
If you want to hire a quality copywriter, you’ll have to spend a little more time searching.
You may get lucky doing a simple Google search. Most copywriters maintain websites with information about their services and samples of their work. Yet even if you find one that seems to fit your needs, you are likely to find the person is booked up far in advance.
You’ll have better luck asking your colleagues for references to find a copywriter. Most professionals work through referrals, so if you want to get linked up with someone good, you should ask for a recommendation.
Successful content marketing is about more than just filling pages. Make sure you hire an experienced copywriter and set aside an appropriate budget to get the results you need.