Written by Copycat Staff
July 14th, 2020
Written by Copycat Staff
As a business owner, you know that creative, well-written web content is essential for your long-term success. From web copy to social captions to your newsletter and beyond, authentic, engaging content helps your target audience connect with your product on an emotional level.
But when you’re looking for a professional to help you develop website copy, who do you need to hire—a copywriter or a copy editor?
The short answer is, it depends.
The long answer? Most copy goes through two steps in its creation: copywriting and copy editing. In some cases, the same person can take both steps, but in others, having one without the other will lead to marketing mishaps:
This is your guide to understanding how to best meet your business’ web copy needs.
In order to determine your business’ needs, it’s important to understand the difference between copy editing and copywriting for a website. Let’s define these two roles:
Let’s introduce a helpful metaphor for an editor vs. copywriter Have you ever watched a culinary TV show like Top Chef ? If so, you know that the final step before a plate goes out can make all the difference. A dish of potatoes, steak, arugula, and sauce can look like something from an elementary school cafeteria—or, with the right intervention, it can look like art.
Some copywriting services like Copycat Copywriters provide both copywriting and copyediting, all in one place. But is it possible you need only one or the other? Let’s take a deeper dive into what professionals in each of these fields can and can’t do.
A copywriter’s main role is to develop written content. You may get your copywriter started with little more than your brand guidelines, an assignment, and a “good luck!” However, if you have a more developed outline for a particular white paper or blog post, they should be able to follow it (or explain why it needs some tweaking).
Copywriters must excel at structuring ideas for website copy, and at expressing those ideas in clear prose. They should be able to pick up on your brand’s voice, either from samples of past web copy, or from your brand guidelines. Finally, they should be skilled in conducting research to provide credible support for their articles.
With these skills, they’re able to create any and all of the following kinds of content writing:
It may sound like a copywriter can do it all—but most have their limits. Your copywriter may need support in the following areas:
First things first: a copy editor is, by definition, not a copywriter. They do not create the raw content for your company. Instead, it’s their job to step in and elevate a piece of copy to the desired outcome.
Where copywriters are creative researchers, copy editors are professionals with a sharp focus and deep knowledge of what makes copy work. A copy editor does all of the following:
Like that executive chef, your copy editor does everything in their power to make sure the final product is perfectly executed once they have their hands on the raw materials.
As you can see, it’s often important to have both a copywriter and a copy editor. Does this apply to your company? Let’s take a look at some scenarios.
In situations like these, you need a copywriter and a copy editor. It’s great if you have some notes towards your copy, and even a few paragraphs—but unless you are a copywriter, you probably need to hire a content writer who can add to your notes. Then, you’ll need a copyeditor to double-check their work for style, consistency with brand guidelines, and that they marked all the boxes on the prompt.
There are, however, some situations where you might only need one or the other.
However, be careful who you hire. Sometimes, working with a trusted copywriting company that provides both services is better than working with a freelancer. After all, if you don’t find a copywriter or copy editor with the right expertise, you may find yourself going back to the drawing board.
For example, what happens if you hire an inadequate copywriter? Maybe you were trying to save a little money, or maybe you tried out a friend of a friend. Either way, you have the raw research and content for your article, but it needs a lot of work. While some copy editors may be able to take on a rewrite, others would consider this outside the scope of their work and ask you to take a pass at it first.
Then, you’ll need a new writer and a new editor.
Make sure you fully understand your company’s needs, and once you’ve found the perfect web copywriter, get clear on what they do and don’t do.
Are you looking for a one-stop copywriting shop? Copycat Copywriters develops a team for your company based on your specific needs. Whether your next step is an occasional blog post or a huge web copy push, we make sure that each and every piece is created by a talented writer and then fine-tuned by a professional editor.
Our writers have a wide range of creative and technical backgrounds that allow us to support businesses across diverse industries and genres. Want to see what we can do? Get in touch for a free piece of content and experience the Copycat difference today.