Copywriting vs Copy Editing – What Is The Difference?

One of the most common misunderstandings we see here at EditorNinja, speaking with a lot of content people and publishers, is the difference between copywriting and copy editing.

In fact, we often get asked if our editors will also write content for websites.

The answer to that is no, by the way.

The reason the answer is no is because copywriting and copy editing are two very different skill sets.

In short, copywriting focuses on creating copy that is persuasive and meets the business or client’s goals. Copy editing focuses on the technical aspects of language and makes sure the copy keeps up with editorial guidelines.

What Is Copywriting?

Copywriting is a professional discipline that focuses on creating copy. Their focus is copy that converts and meets the business goal. Because it can be a professional discipline that is more akin to a trade (like plumbing) than formal schooling, copywriters work for years to hone their craft of creating copy that accomplishes its goals.

A lot of people lump all writers into “copywriters,” but the true technical definition of copywriting is someone writing copy for sales pages or ads that is meant to convert. People writing blog posts and editorial content are more accurately referred to simply as “writers.”

If you’re looking for a “copywriter,” then most sites will show you lists of or help you hire freelance copywriters, who are individuals doing work for clients as outside contractors.

What Is Copy Editing?

Copy editing is a professional discipline that focuses on the technical aspects of language. Copy editors are detail-oriented professionals. They know language at a deep level and understand the different styles of language (MLA, AP, Chicago, etc) and how to form text to meet those standards.

Copy editing is usually the third or fourth step in the editing process, after line editing but before proofreading. After the copy has been reviewed for correctness and structure, it is then edited down to be as concise and tight as possible. Then, a copy editor takes over to ensure the copy keeps with editorial style guide standards for that specific website or publication.

If you search for “copy editor,” search engines should show you sites that have copy editors either available on a freelance basis or in a service like EditorNinja.

Are Copywriters Also Copy Editors?

Copywriters are not necessarily copy editors, and vice versa, but they can be. In fact, many of EditorNinja’s editors are also writers in their own right and have produced books and plays in various genres of interest to them.

But it is worth noting that copywriters and copy editors are not the same thing.

What Are The Differences?

As you’ve seen, both copywriting and copy editing revolve around the written word (aka “copy”). They are different areas that work hand in hand together to produce copy that reads well and converts for businesses.

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