While word nerds know the difference between the plethora of writer “types,” to others a writer is simply a writer. Not the case. There’s a difference between writer, copywriter, ghostwriter, script writer, SEO writer, screen writer, speech writer, technical writer and so forth.

So What Is a Writer?

To say someone is a writer gives you a good idea that they can string words into an effective message or story. In other words, they are masters in the art of rhetoric. A good writer will be familiar with different genre types, educated in the classics but up to date in modern masterpieces. A good writer uses these categories as wells to draw from. But the key trait that sets apart a writer is in their own ability to view the world from their own perspective, and be able to relate that in a way that is compelling. A real writer is a master story teller – even if that story is a 140 character tweet.

Why Great Copy Matters

A copywriter, contrary to some opinions, is not someone who copies writing. In fact, think of a copywriter as a content writer or a ghost writer who gets the credit for his/her work at the end of the day. A great copywriter can take their strengths as a writer and put their talents to use on behalf of their client. In business, a good copywriter is a master chameleon, able to adapt a writing style to best serve the needs of the client.

A smart copywriter can write an interesting “green” piece for the Daily Green about recycled glass bottles in eco architecture, and that evening switch over to a piece on inflated statistics fueling the “green” movement. In short, their personal opinions and affiliations are kept out of it and they focus only on what the client and the audience expects.

What Is an SEO Copywriter?

If you’re planning to hire an SEO writer to optimize your site – be careful! Obviously your goal is to sell more products and services. But not every SEO writer is trained to do that.

You’ll get more bang for your buck hiring a talented “SEO copywriter” who can do much more than an SEO writer alone. It’s not just semantics, there’s a critical difference. An SEO copywriter differs from an SEO writer in the same way a “copywriter” differs from a “writer.” A “copywriter” by definition is someone who persuades readers to buy a product or service. However, a “writer” informs rather than persuades.

How an SEO Copywriter Can Help You Beat the Competition

An “SEO copywriter” performs a similar task as the regular copywriter, only he/she adds the SEO part. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization – techniques aimed at improving a website’s search engine rankings. Higher rankings increase your website’s traffic, and higher traffic should increase your sales, or so the story goes. But when you have an SEO writer (not an SEO copywriter) on staff, don’t be so sure.

“Optimizing” a site is done by peppering your content with pre-selected keywords. These keywords are popularly typed by users directly into search engines to search for your products or services. (Two keywords a New Yorker might query in Google before April 15th are “tax accountant” and “Manhattan.”)

An effectively “optimized” site should land within the first two or three search engine page results for whatever keywords you’re targeting. Landing in the first few pages is imperative as search engine users rarely look past the third page.

A typical SEO writer optimizing a website for a “tax accountant” in “Manhattan” will skillfully employ these two keywords.

Like the SEO writer, the job of the SEO copywriter is to employ pre-selected keywords. But the SEO copywriter performs the additional task of selling your products or services by using similar techniques a salesman uses selling face-to-face.

Thus, though both know how to use keywords, the SEO writer doesn’t know how to sell. The SEO writer will inform, they’ll write using proper grammar and usage, and so on and so forth. But the SEO writer will miss out on the key selling principles that will help convert your browsers into buyers. An SEO copywriter, on the other hand, knows how to sell. So not only will you achieve your goal of attracting more traffic, but your site will contain all the key selling features you need to build customer confidence and lessen buying resistance.

SEO writers tout the fact that they can write using special keywords, thereby increasing traffic to your site. But increased traffic counts for very little if you fail at achieving the most important element for the success of your businessmaking the sale.