“Content is king”—more than a quarter-century has passed since Bill Gates popularized this catchy phrase (coined in the ‘70s by Sumner Redstone), foretelling the era of Internet content. Since then, it has been rewritten and reconstructed numerous times, and perhaps one of the most successful wordplays on that is “Context is queen”, a short reminder that words without the right backdrop remain meaningless.
But no matter who gets the crown, content and context both require a special set of skills to deliver the expected results. And while imaginative content media like TikTok shorts or holographic NFTs steal the limelight, the written content is vital in B2B digital marketing. Proof? In the United States alone, there are 131.200 copywriters, which is expected to grow by 7.6% by 2026.
B2B companies incessantly seek quality copywriters, content writers, and inbound marketers to become more successful. However, there’s still a lot of confusion about these roles, what skills they involve, and how they can help businesses grow.
Luckily, as we’re the experts in this subject matter, we will shed light on that distinction today. So, without further ado, let’s break down the differences between copywriter, content writer, and inbound marketer.
Copywriter vs. content writer vs. inbound marketer—are they all the same?
The short answer is no. As part of the marketing team, copywriter, content writer, and inbound marketer drive sales through promotion, online presence, and external communication. Although some of their responsibilities overlap, these three professions take slightly different parts in your business's sales success.
Let's start with the master of short-form writing—copywriter.
Copywriter’s main goal is to attract the audience with as few words as possible and persuade them to take immediate actions that (ideally) lead to selling a product or a service.
The content writer takes over after a copywriter to answer every question your future customers may have after taking the first step into your sales funnel.
Once the initial sense of urgency fades, your audience will be eager to learn more about the specifics of your offer. Content writers are there to educate, entertain, and provide more details using long-form writing and engaging storytelling.
What does an inbound marketer do, then?
While copywriters and content writers deliver high-quality material, inbound marketers implement it, meeting the audience's needs. With a defined persona in mind, they work at every sales funnel stage, attracting leads, converting them into customers, and nurturing long-term customer relationships.
➡️ Sometimes, you can find specialists who combine the competencies of copywriters, content writers, and inbound marketers. Surprised? At 6Minded, we hire versatile talents to provide our Clients with more holistic marketing services within the HubSpot ecosystem. Everyone knows their way around the system and uses it to write, optimize, and share content.
What can you expect from hiring a copywriter?
If your role model copywriter is Chandler Bing from Friends, you may get the impression that copywriting is all about making up witty lines for TV ads offhand. But while humor can take you far, it’s not enough to sell your product or service. You also need a strategic component and fast-paced execution to make it work.
Copywriters know how to combine these. They deliver short-form content such as social media posts, landing page content, email campaigns, ad copy, slogans, and taglines. It's catchy, interesting, and meant to get as many clicks as possible to get quick and emotional responses from potential customers. Since their snappy content is action-oriented, copywriters focus on the initial audience engagement and lay the groundwork for more educational material that content writers deliver.
Metrics such as the number of shares, the click-through rate, or the open rate will tell you how good their performance is.
Benefits of hiring a copywriter
- Providing brief, snappy content to use in daily marketing operations.
- Boosting website conversions by persuading customers to take immediate action with call-to-action (CTAs), powerful headlines, catchy slogans, and engaging social media posts.
- Saving time and catching readers' attention with short-form writing.
- Gaining more leads with easy-to-consume, direct, and engaging content.
„I can write slogans! I mean, how hard can it be?” Chandler had what it takes to be a brilliant copywriter. Still, he had a fair share of slip-ups before he learned to turn his sense of humor into profit.
What can you expect from hiring a content writer?
Before potential customers decide to buy from you, they need to find your business. Useful, outstanding content remains one of the most effective ways to enable them to do that.
Think of Anna and her small flower delivery business in San Diego. The end of the fiscal year is near, it’s time to settle accounts and sort out taxes. But Anna’s forte is making chic flower arrangements and not dealing with accounting books. So she needs to find out how to do it. Where does she go for help? That’s right, to Google.
A quick search brings her to a blog post about calculating taxes for small businesses in California. The article is so helpful that she’s done with her profit and loss in one evening. But then, she thinks dealing with accounts is not her cup of tea, and she’d rather outsource it to a specialist. Which she finds… on the same website. Her issue’s been efficiently resolved, and now, the accountants are cashing in, welcoming a new client, courtesy of the persuasive skills of their content writers.
Because that’s how content writers work. They identify customers’ needs and craft articles, blog posts, newsletters, e-books, and other in-depth content that answer readers’ questions. Since longer forms take more time and research, they are part of long-term B2B online marketing strategies developed by content strategists. They plan content marketing operations, distribute tasks and responsibilities across the team, and ensure that delivered content is consistent with the business’s tone of voice, story, and brand communication.
Rather than convincing people to act immediately, content writers work towards establishing readers’ trust and then raise brand awareness and create an engaged community of buyers. These actions successfully translate to sales growth because customers not only enjoy consuming relevant content, but 61% of them purchase after reading.
Benefits of hiring a content writer
- Writing SEO-friendly content boosting website traffic.
- Keeping the audience engaged with regular blog updates, newsletters, etc.
- Creating a solid brand image through consistent and consumer-focused content.
- Educating leads as they move through the sales funnel to encourage purchase decisions.
What can you expect from hiring an inbound marketer?
“Many companies have forgotten they sell to actual people. Humans care about the entire experience, not just marketing, sales, or service. To really win in the modern age, you must solve for humans.”
Dharmesh Shah, CTO, Co-Founder, HubSpot
Even if you’re in the B2B space, behind every logo stands people. If you want to appeal to them with your products and services, treat them as a priority. For that, you need a specialist who understands customers’ pain points and knows how to relieve them.
That’s the work of inbound marketers. They build on content writers' and copywriters’ work to target specific audiences and attract prospects with a high chance of becoming customers. Considering the entire sales funnel, the inbound marketer help to engage visitors, convert them to leads using relevant content, and nurture customer relationships even after the purchase decision.
One of the inbound marketer's key goals is ensuring customer satisfaction before and after closing the deal. Remember what we said about companies represented by real people? Show them you care; they will trust you enough to spread the good word about your services and return for more.
Benefits of hiring an inbound marketer
- Reduced expenses and increased ROI thanks to targeted advertising.
- Focusing on lead quality rather than quantity and boosting conversion rates.
- Increasing content visibility and bringing more traffic with advanced SEO skills.
- Analyzing website traffic and conversion rate metrics to determine marketing efforts and optimize content for better results.
Difference between B2B inbound and content marketing
Before we wrap up, let me clarify one more distinction—that between inbound and content marketing. The two often get confused since there’s some overlap. But these aren’t exact synonyms, and here’s why.
What does a content marketer do?
Content marketers create content for extremely profitable B2B sales through blog posts, videos, images, gifs, infographics, etc. They connect with the audience by sharing valuable information across multiple channels. Consistent distribution of content keeps your customers engaged and builds strong relationships.
All content marketing operations fall under the category of inbound. Still, inbound marketers think more strategically, targeting a specific audience and extending their operations to SEO, data analytics, and performance optimization. They focus on connecting the audience with accurate information to drive more traffic and attract leads for the sales team to convert into customers.
Some marketers (especially those working for small businesses) combine the competencies of both content and inbound marketing. It shouldn’t be surprising, given how much these two marketing methodologies share.
Copywriter vs. content writer vs. inbound marketer—which one to choose?
We hope that answering this question is not as puzzling as it seemed a few minutes ago. Copywriters, content writers, and inbound marketers may show some similarities, but each role has unique skills and competencies that come in handy at different stages of a buyer’s journey.
Our marketing team boasts talented specialists who wield all these skills, assisting Clients in building outstanding brand image and distinctive tone of voice that syncs with their company values and vision. We’re always ready to help you stand out from the competition. If you believe good content is the way to do it, send us a message, and we’ll see how we can work together.
Hania is a content writer by day and a hip-hop dancer by night. After 4 years of art school, she decided to dive deeper into the mysteries of the human mind, majoring in psychology. Now Hania puts her skills into crafting blog posts and social media for 6Minded, taking short dancing breaks between one copy and another.