copywriter vs content strategist

Copywriter or Content Strategist: What’s the difference?

Anyone else notice these two job descriptions are constantly confused in the job market? Yep, us, too. In every industry, it’s important to clarify skills and responsibilities, not just for the employer, but also for the talented writer. Some writers fall strictly in one camp or the other, stick to their strengths, and love their jobs. But then there are those jack-of-all-trades writers (oh hi!) who are curious about how to position themselves in their resumes or CVs. If you’re in this camp, read on, friends. And if you’re a hiring manager, we’re here to help you improve your job descriptions to get the kind of talent you actually need, not just the person who wows you with pretty projects. Both of these positions involve flexibility, ingenuity, and a huuuuge amount of creativity. But each position requires a slightly different focus and skill set, depending on the company they’re producing for. Here’s how us folx at Artisan clarify each...

What is a Copywriter? 

  • Copywriter Job Description: A copywriter is a writer who is tasked with creating or mastering a brand voice and fulfilling all the copy needs of a marketing campaign, whether in-house, at an agency, or freelancing for a specific client. Generally, a copywriter’s involvement in a campaign will depend on their seniority, with juniors jumping in on basic email campaigns and short-form copy to directors who develop full brand voices, brand books, and campaign concepts. Many copywriters are also full-time writers, usually with a creative writing background, but not necessarily. If you’ve got a quick wit, have the gift of persuasion, and love reading and writing, copywriting might be the perfect way to position yourself, friend.
  • Copywriter Job Responsibilities and Skills: Copywriters are not just imaginative writers who think up cool concepts for ad campaigns—they’re also researchers and avid readers. They study their target audiences on a psychological and emotional level and keep an eye on market and brand trends. They also have to be great interviewers to fully understand all their team members’ needs and how to solve for the projects they’re briefed on. Another valuable skill (but also, let’s be real, a curse) that copywriters possess is that they never stop thinking about a better way name it! Speak to a new audience, choose better words, find a new avenue of thought—brainstorming is key. But a good copywriter also knows when good copy is good enough. You hear me, hyper-focused copywriter! Your work’s amazing! Now put down the pen and go take a much-needed VACAY! Ahem, moving on...  
  • Advanced and Specialized Copy Positions: These are a few more positions that copywriters may be interested in, depending on your interest and career pursuits: UX writer, SEO copywriter, Social Media Writer, Senior Copywriter, Copy Manager, Creative Director-Copy, Executive CD. Don’t see what you want? We’ve got a whole breakdown for ya.

What is a Content Strategist?

  • Content Strategist Job Description: Compared to copywriting, content marketing is somewhat of a new animal in the marketing field, thanks to the ever-changing digital world we live in. The content lifecycle ain’t as long as it used to be! Certain mediums like blogging, emails, and social media just require a faster, more analytical approach to writing. Thus, Content Managers and Content Strategists were born! And with the invention of startup culture, where content is king, great content development with a strong strategy can be crucial in making your brand the next big thing. 
  • Content Strategist job responsibilities and Skills: Content strategists are like cats. They stay limber, are quick to react, and able to jump obstacles in a single bound. Ok, it was a loose metaphor. But curiosity and persistence are key in this line of work. Content strategists research and study their audience and the work of their competitors. Then they devise a strategy that might cut through the sea of sameness in their market and lead the charge on content that could potentially drive more engagement. And THEN, they do it all over again! They take their findings, do more research, and try new content using different methods. Sometimes the Content Strategist is also the Content Writer (depending on the needs of the company) and sometimes they brief Copywriters on the content, SEO, and approach. They’re well-versed in what content works for which marketing channels, comfy with all kinds of content analytics tools, and keen on budgeting, never letting their ad spend get too high.      
  • Advanced and specialized content positions: These are a few more positions that content strategists may be interested in, depending on your interest and career pursuits: Senior Content Strategist, Head of Content, Content Manager, Social Media Manager, Marketing Director (including VP’s and P’s of Content). Want to know more? We’ve got a breakdown of content jobs, too.

For Talent: Where do you fit on this spectrum?

Make a list of your own skills and compare your strengths to the above. Spoiler: you might love doing a little of both! Then, decide where you personally want to take your career next. You’re already more marketable if you have many of these skills, so you can really decide what makes you happiest in your next role. Get excited about writing ad campaigns for billboards and more? You might lean more toward copywriting. Can’t get enough of the ins and outs of increasing engagement? You might lean more toward content strategy. If you need to talk it out, know that recruiters are more than happy to offer advice and give feedback on the job market as well as how to speak to your strengths. And, hey, there’s nothing that says you can’t start in one writing position and move to the other. The job market changes constantly and pivoting is the new norm. So, yay for never getting bored!

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For Hiring Managers: Which position do you need to hire?

Make a list of skills you’ll need to solve for and compare to the above job descriptions and qualifications. When drafting your job description and interviewing, be 100% honest about how much one person should (or is even capable/willing to) take on. Find yourself writing way too much in these job descriptions? Maybe you actually need two people for two different roles! Side note, it’s very frustrating for creatives to read job descriptions that run the gamut of duties with no sense of boundary setting. You’ll catch more creative talent by being clear in defining how teams are set up and how this creative will play with others across teams. Then, decide the level of expertise you need and design your job description to attract that talent. Also, lean on your recruiters if you’re having trouble. Chances are, they’ve seen it all and can get you the best people for the jobs.

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