Copywriting Q&A: Why You Need to Separate Copy and Content on Your Site

Why your portfolio site needs separate sections for copywriting and content writingMost non-industry people don’t understand the difference between content and copy. And it’s true that, as a copywriter, you’ll probably get paid to write content at least a few times. But it’s also very important that you demonstrate that you know the difference between the two. Why? Read on…

Today’s post wasn’t inspired by a question but, rather, but some random website hopping I did a few weeks back. I found myself on a copywriter’s portfolio website. She had decided to embrace a niche and had deemed herself “The [her niche] Copywriter”—I won’t give you her real info to avoid calling her out. For now, let’s just say she called herself “The Cosmetics Copywriter.”

This is a fine, but I was curious to see what copy pieces she had in her book to support this expertise. (I always like to see good copy so I do a lot of poking around on portfolio sites.)

But in The Cosmetics Copywriter’s portfolio, what I found were blog and social media posts she had done for her cosmetic clients.

Here’s why this is a problem: What this says to me is that she doesn’t know the difference between copy and content. If I were looking to hire a copywriter to do cosmetics copywriting, I wouldn’t even call her because she’s demonstrated that she doesn’t understand how copy is different from content.

She is implying that she doesn’t get that copy is about selling and that content is not. And, if she writes content instead of copy, she’s not trained to focus on benefits, target audiences, brand voice, CTAs and all of the multitude of other factors that go into successful copy.

It's Easier Than You Think to Start Your Copywriting Career

In short, “The Cosmetics Copywriter” is probably having a very hard time getting copywriting jobs because she is not a copywriter.

But wait! As I said above, you’ll probably get some work doing content writing at least a few times in your copywriting career. Does that mean you should leave your content pieces off of your portfolio site? Absolutely not. Include your content samples on your site, but create different sections for content and copy.

Show potential clients and employers that you can write both copy and content—but show them that you know the difference between the two. Your expertise and understanding of writing principles and techniques are what makes you a desirable hire—so show them right away just what an expert you are.

Your turn! Do you have both content and copy samples? How do you separate them? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Terence says

    Hi Nikki,

    So, is there something called a ‘niche copywriter’? If so, then ‘niche’ copywriters would market themselves to their target audience, with ‘Copy’ I suppose’? They would use Content in their area of interest to get known by prospects. Consequently, when someone goes poking around in their website it will become clear to them that the content creator has a copywriting niche.

    It appears that the emphasis on a niche must only take place on the website. Otherwise just be known as…??? Copywriter?

    Just a mite confused here.

    • Nicki Krawczyk says

      Hi Terence,

      There absolutely is – we actually cover the topic in this post. A “niche copywriter” would be a copywriter who does most of his or her copywriting in that particular niche. So, for example a niche travel copywriter might write brochures for cruises, websites for hotels, emails for online travel sites, etc. There’s a difference between “content” and “copy” though – (this article should help explain that). When someone is billing themselves as, say, a travel copywriter, their portfolio site should show lots of travel copywriting work and far, far less travel content work. Does that make sense?

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. sheree says

    I don’t know how many times I have gotten the question isn’t content and copy the same thing. Thanks for this article! It saves me 2 or 3 breaths…

    • Nicki Krawczyk says

      Hi Sheree,

      My pleasure! It’s definitely confusing for some people—expect to keep explaining it again and again throughout your career. 😉

      Thanks for commenting!

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