When did copywriting become content, anyway?

I’ve been a copywriter for more than 33 years. I have a BFA in Advertising, worked at ad agencies in New York City, and went off on my own as a freelancer over 21 years ago. I’ve done a lot of great work for great clients. I trained with some of the top people in the industry, built my craft, wrote, rewrote and rewrote again.

As any honest-to-goodness copywriter will tell you, there’s a technology to writing copy and with plenty of talent mixed in. Sure, you’re selling something or other, but your headlines and copy better sing or your message will fall flat. So will your career.

Enter content. Content has a very real purpose in our Google-centric marketing age, but is it copywriting? Not always.

Content writers can churn out words by the dozen to help populate pages that pop up first on Google searches. Some write well, some write well enough. But can they write great headlines, or direct mail packages, or websites, or email, or print ads, or brochures, or…? Copywriters can — and do.

It’s a very different world out there, with job descriptions that sound like laundry lists, like Strategist/Copywriter or Copywriter/Designer. In the old days, that was code red for “hack.” Today, you have to multitask or sit it out.

Fact is, copywriting and content are two very different animals. But they can co-habitat peacefully in this digital age, as long as we don’t blur the lines between the two, or lose the beauty that is copywriting.

But that’s just my two cents.

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