This post will examine the differences between these different services. Once you understand the differences, you’ll be able to decide whether you need a writer, editor, or proofreader.

What is a copywriter?

A copywriter writes to sell your brand and to get potential customers to do something—buy your product or sign up for your newsletter. A copywriter helps potential customers see how or why your brand would benefit them. Your website landing page is an example of something a copywriter might help you with.

Why would you need a copywriter?

You could hire a copywriter to write copy for a website, a marketing email, a flyer, or an advertisement. If your website or ads aren’t converting as much as you’d like, a copywriter might be able to help.

What is a content writer?

Copywriters tend to write shorter copy—though long-form copy is definitely a thing. Content writers lean towards longer copy. Copywriters aim to sell. A content writer seeks to inform or educate to establish your brand. Content writers can help you with blog posts, articles, audio/video scripts, or social media posts.

Why would I need a content writer?

Not everybody is good at writing—and that’s okay! You might regularly write a blog, but how many people read it? Is it engaging? Content writers can often communicate your ideas more clearly and effectively. If you know the ideas you want to convey but can’t find the right words, you may want to contact a content writer.

An image of a clipboard with the checklist copywriter content writer editor copy writer proofreader
Do I need all these?

What is an editor?

An editor will examine a text and look at the big picture. How well is the text organized, and how well does it flow? Is it logically consistent throughout? Editors will read the text with the audience in mind and are often knowledgeable about the subject matter. Editors are more focused on ideas and concepts rather than grammar and spelling.

Why would you need an editor?

What seems clear to you may not be so clear to your reader. The story is crystal clear—to you. It’s your story. You don’t always include all the elements necessary for the reader to follow your line of thought. An editor can be a fresh pair of eyes, asking questions and raising points you’d never considered.

What is a copy editor?

Whereas an editor is more concerned with the text as a whole, a copy editor is more focused on the details. Copy editors check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. They look for inconsistencies. Do some hyphens have spaces before and after, but some don’t? Do headings follow the same format? They can also ensure the text is factually accurate.

Why would you need a copy editor?

You might care about grammar, but do you have the time (or patience) to check grammar or capitalization rules? Should you use “The data are…” or “The data is…”? Should the question mark go inside or outside the quotation marks? Can’t be bothered to go down those rabbit holes? Contact a copy editor.

What is a proofreader?

Many people think that a proofreader does the work of an editor and a copy editor, but that isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be the case. A proofreader should receive an almost final version, or proof, not a draft. The text should be 98% finalized. Then the proofreader can check for typos, capitalization, punctuation, and extra spaces. The proofreader’s job is to ensure the text is as close to perfect as possible.

Why would you need a proofreader?

Proofreading is difficult, especially when trying to proofread your own writing. You’re so familiar with the text you can’t check it with the level of detail required. This isn’t a knock on you. It’s human nature.

Ever seen this meme?

cambridge meme
Can you read this? Learn more here.

If your brain can fill in the gaps and make that text understandable, imagine how easy it is to miss an errant there/their or your/you’re. Whenever possible, have someone else proofread your writing.

You should now understand the differences between these different services. This will enable you to decide what kind of help you need.

My next post will look at how small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of these services. I’ll also explore how one person can wear all these hats.

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