A blogger writes to inform (web content) while a copywriter writes to persuade (press ads, posters, TV and radio ads and websites too). To put it bluntly: a blogger bares their soul; a copywriter sells their soul.
Essentially, blogging and copywriting are about words and ideas? Right. And about making a topic interesting to read? Right? So if you can write articulately, you can be both? Wrong.
Here’s a quick guide to six differences between a blogger and a copywriter.
1. Cost (paying peanuts v paying nuggets)
Look at People Per Hour or any other content mill and you’ll find plenty of bloggers at very low prices who charge by the word. Problem is, charging by the word means you won’t get paid very much.
As a copywriter, you charge by the project and for your time: in going through the client brief, in discussion with the client, in thinking, in researching, in advising, in writing, and in revising.
2. Limitations (self promotion v sales promotion)
As a blogger, you have no restrictions about what to write (unless writing a blog for a client). Write for yourself and you can build up zillions of followers and become a brand ambassador, with trusted, authentic and relevant content.
Forbes claims that businesses look for influencers with at least 100,000 followers – but too many followers are bought today (outrage!) so there’s now a lurch towards the micro influencer as king or queen of product promotion. They have highly targeted communities who are also highly engaged. Therefore, they offer quality rather than quantity with Instagram being the kingdom they rule over.
As a copywriter, you’re paid to do the hard work in promoting a client’s brand. I guess it’s self promotion too though as the better the work you do, the more you’ll also get known and the better the work you’ll get.
3. Experience (learn the easy way v learn the hard way)
Want to be a blogger? Put pen to paper, find your voice and start writing.
Want to be a copywriter? Team up with an art director. Get work experience if you can. Get a job in an ad agency if you can. Spend ages building up a portfolio. And win some awards.
Being a copywriter is tough because, unlike a blogger and unless you’re freelance or run your own agency, you’re not the boss of you.
4. Voice (dance to your own tune or dance to someone else’s fiddle)
If blogging for yourself, you can do your own thing.
If writing a blog for a client or copy for a client, you have to do theirs. And you have to be bendily versatile. Can you write authoritatively about a new laser hair removal device one day, and prosaically about a new perfume the next?
5. Mindset (self preservation v self determination)
There’s a lot in the press about the challenges that bloggers and vloggers face, from the difficulties of maintaining a ‘yes, I’m still loved – phew’ following to the agonies of having to become an agony aunt for fans.
When I interviewed social media campaigner, Gina Martin, she discussed how being a blogger can be quite a lonely thing for some. One friend of hers is a well-known blogger who works from home every single day with hundreds of thousands of people who know exactly who she is and feel like they’re her BFF, yet she doesn’t know any of them. She receives 150 emails a day that are tragic and hard to read, and that carry a lot of emotional weight.
As a copywriter, can you remain professional at all times and respond efficiently to client feedback yet still retain the award-winning part of an idea while managing to keep everyone happy?
6. The long and the short of it (waxing lyrically v waxing back)
Writing a lot of words isn’t easy. Most copywriters learn to think in short sentences. Snappy ones, too. And start sentences with and.
Copywriting is about persuading, so there’s a limited amount of space/time in a press ad or 30” TV commercial anyway to make a point.
As a blogger, you have the freedom to go on and on. And on.
Do I blog? No – and yes.
My home page states that I don’t write blogs for clients. It’s not strictly true but due to the type of enquires I’ve received in the past (see point 1), I’ve had to add it. However I currently write one or two blogs a week for a major international brand.
I’m always happy to write blogs for clients who realise the true value of one that’s well researched, well written and well optimised. And who’ll therefore pay well for blogging expertise, instead of paying peanuts.
Written by Caroline Gibson who will write blogs for any client who can recognise that adding value doesn’t mean cutting costs.
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