Copywriting vs copy editing

In some cases, they’re done by the same person. In general, though, they should be done by two different people (two heads are better than one, after all).

But what’s the difference between copywriting and copy editing? There’s a lot of crossover in the kinds of skills good copywriters and copy editors have, but each have their own unique role in the copy or content creation process.

What does a copywriter do?

A copywriter does precisely what it says on the box – they write. Copywriters excel at structuring ideas and then communicating those ideas in clear, concise prose. The goal of a copywriter is to get their audience to do something, like buy, subscribe or even just click on another link.

In this article, we’re saying “copywriters” but we could easily swap that term out with “content marketers”. Not sure the difference between copywriting and content marketing? We’ve got you covered here

What does a copy editor do?

A copy editor doesn’t create the raw content but steps in to elevate a piece of copy to a polished, ready-to-publish state. They have a sharp eye for detail and a deep understanding of what makes copy work. A copy editor will make sure the work:

  • Meets the initial brief
  • Is in the brand voice and adheres to the brand’s style guidelines
  • Is optimised for SEO

They’ll also:

  • Edit for consistency and conciseness
  • Rewrite for clarity
  • Reorganise sections for flow

Here at Engage, we also ask our copy editors challenge our writers’ ideas, messaging and positioning so we’re confident we’re delivering the best work possible for our clients.

Can one person be both copywriter and copy editor?

Of course! But do you want them to?

While it’s possible for a copywriter to check their own work, they might make small mistakes, fail to optimise for SEO or let voice and tone issues go unnoticed. It’s only human, particularly when you’re so close to the work. Bringing a copy editor in, ensures you’ve got fresh eyes that can pick up those issues and fine-tune the content before it goes live.

Whether you need a copywriter, a copy editor or both, take time to examine where you’re at in the content creation process. In the end, your copy itself (or lack thereof) will drive the decision on what your company needs more and when.

Did you know? Here at Engage, all client work goes through both copywriters and copy editors. It’s just one way we ensure we deliver the best work every time. 

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