Most 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. Here’s why.
A few weeks back, I was randomly website hopping. 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.
Lumping Copy and Content Together Mark You As a Novice
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.
In short, “The Cosmetics Copywriter” is probably having a very hard time getting copywriting jobs because she is not a copywriter.
Where to Put Content Within Your Copywriting Portfolio
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!
Last Updated on July 1, 2023