Content Writing, Copywriting, PR: What’s the Difference?

The PR, advertising and marketing fields have seen a completely different landscape from the last decade. And as writers in these fields it’s sometimes hard to tell what type of writing we are doing.

For content writers who write mainly to engage, for example, it’s not the same to write a landing page. Writing a banner ad is definitely not the same as writing a press release.

If you are a writer that understands the difference and you do all three, you don’t have to keep reading.

But if you’re a beginning freelancer writer, or you’ve started but you still get confused at times, read on:

PR Pros

According to an article in Forbes, a PR pro’s role is to “protect, enhance or build their client’s reputations through the media.” To do this PR pros stage events, teach interviewing skills, and a big chunk of what a PR pro does involves the written word. They write mainly press releases to the media, but their role is expanding.

Today, you’ll catch PR pros blogging and managing social media campaigns. That’s because they have entered the social media landscape. Whereas before PR pros depended on journalists to communicate their messages, now, PR pros have the access to reach audiences directly using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on. Protecting, enhancing and building reputations can also be done using other channels.


I like CopyBlogger’s definition of copywriting: the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action. As a copywriter you’re not trying to protect, enhance or build your client’s reputation as PR pros do. Copywriting can surely lead to that. If so, great. But, that’s not the purpose. As a copywriter, you’re straight up trying to get specific action.

Some “calls to action” can be: selling a product, a service, getting people to sign up for email alerts or to raise money through a donation page. Copywriting can be used in video such as with TV or radio ads. And, although you’re not actually saying, “buy this,” you are using other persuasive language to drive that specific result.

Content Marketing Writers

Content marketers write blogs, email autoresponders, social media, newsletters to connect and engage with audiences. describes a content writer as someone who “provides relevant information for products and services on a website.”

As a content writer you goal is not the PR writer’s goal which is to “protect, enhance or build their client’s reputation,” nor is it the copywriter’s goal which is to get readers to take some form of action. As a content writer, your goal is to inform, engage, and educate to build the trust necessary between customer and product/service/action. Content marketers know that without value, true connection and a sense of community, you can’t get very far with people.

Mixing It Up

If you can, why not? Do all three types of writing. Why?

It’s all connected.

I see many people who call themselves, “copywriters” do PR work and blogging. What’s important is knowing when to use each type.

There is also no doubt that prospects looking for a writer need a mixture of all three types of writing.

Be curious, ask questions, diversify your skills and know that it’s all connected.


Is Reading Dead?

People are not reading newspapers like before, but they’re still reading; just differently.

What does this mean?

This means that writing matters more than ever.

Writing is more alive than ever.

Today, the written word lives in a much bigger, digital abundant environment.

In this new age of content and social search, writing has has grown to become one of the most powerful tools available for doing business and connecting with targeted customers through the web.

At one point in history, it was letters that allowed families, friends, businesses to communicate with one another. Writing has grown to be so much different. Today, people still read, but they are looking at screens to do it.

People read emails today.

People read e-books today.

People read online news today.

The list goes on.

We don’t live in those letter days where we haven’t heard from folks in ages and we expect 6 pages of content to read. We hear from folks often. We are not hungry for it as much as we used to be because we’re in touch with folks.

In fact, we have so much content in front of us that we’re better off with less of it.

And that’s where we find ourselves today.

How do businesses stand out amid all the noise?

How do organizations get funded with all the other causes today?

How do I get more shares on my post?

When people say things like, “People don’t read.”

People do read.

If anything, people are reading more.

The better question to ask is:

What are you doing to stand out?