If you’re wondering what the difference is between copywriting and proofreading, because you’re either looking to be one or hire one, chances are you’re not the only one.
These two processes – copywriting, proofreading – do have some similarities, and some people even use both terms interchangeably.
But do not be mistaken, both copywriting and proofreading are very much different things within the whole writing process.
Copywriting takes place first, where the writer pieces together words or writes a copy, hence copywriting.
While proofreading occurs much later on, after editing, where it is usually the final check before publication.
Proofreading is when the written work is reviewed, edited (after the first level of edits by an editor), and checked over for any grammar, punctuation, typos and formatting issues.
I picked up this difference when I attended Caitlin Pyle’s Proofread Anywhere course!
Here are the key difference between copywriting and proofreading:
|When does it take place?
|At the start of the writing process
|At the end of the writing process
|What is done?
|Copy is created from scratch
|Copy is reviewed in great detail for errors
|How much can the content change?
|By a lot – it is not uncommon for a copywriter to need to overhaul a piece based on a client’s requirements.
|Minimal – changes are usually surface-level, if any, by the time it reaches a proofreader.
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If you want to know how to become a proofreader online but need some training, the Proofread Anywhere course helps you transition into a full-time proofreader/editor and run it as a well-paid business.
The Proofread Anywhere course begins with proofreading basics and then goes on to share advanced proofreading methods, how and where to find jobs, what rate to set, and common mistakes to avoid.
Caitlin is the lady who runs the course and she has been a proofreader since 2007. She turned her love for proofreading into a full-time job and now helps others do the same.
The Proofread Anywhere course is packed with 40+ lessons in 8 modules, grammar-specific worksheets, and real-life example jobs.
After passing with 90% or higher on the final exam you will receive a Certificate of Completion and access to the Self-Publishing School Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex.
Ps; Caitlin is offering a FREE Proofreading workshop that will help you learn the basic skills and decide on whether freelance proofreading is for you. Perfect if you want to know how to become a proofreader with no experience and if you are looking for proofreading courses online for free.
Difference Between Copywriting And Proofreading With Examples
The key difference between copywriting and proofreading is that copywriting is creating compelling content, while proofreading is reviewing and editing that content before it goes public.
Say, for example, a client wanted me to write an enticing sales copy trying to persuade aspiring writers to join a proofreading course, I’d copywrite something like this:
Feeling stuck in your proofreading journey because you don’t know where to start and everything seems so confusing?
Take this course and get your burning proofreading questions answered!
Somewhere along the way, a copyeditor would come in and edit the copy as such to make the copy even more persuasive yet easily understood:
Feel stuck or overwhelmed in youre proofreading journey? Don’t know where or how to start from?
Start right here with this proofreading course to get your questions answered.
A proofreader would then come in and make slight tweaks:
Feel stuck or overwhelmed in your
eproofreading journey? Don’t know where or how to start from?
right herewith this proofreading course toand get all your questions answered .!
Didn’t think that was too difficult? Well, you might just be cut out to be a proofreader!
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting is essentially the act of creating persuasive and compelling written copy that helps to sell a product, service, or idea to a predetermined audience.
Copywriting usually takes place when there is something that needs to be sold and advertised.
A product from copywriting is usually known as a copy.
If you’re wondering what is a copywriter? Copywriters are usually creative individuals who know how to appeal to different audiences with their writing.
Copywriting terminology is extremely persuasive and written with the core purpose to sell, sell, sell, or to push people into action.
Some of the best slogans you remember, like Nike’s “Just Do It” are a result of excellent, snappy, and memorable copywriting.
You’ll know you have succeeded as a copywriter when your audience feels compelled to sit up and notice, and buy into your product or idea.
If you have a keen eye, try to spot what type of copywriting I do on my brand-new shop page. (I made it within a day after I hunkered down to get it done!)
What Is Proofreading?
Proofreading, on the other hand, occurs toward the end of the project when the copy is almost ready.
The act of proofreading requires one to review copy and written work to check for surface-level errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Oftentimes proofreading takes place after an initial editing process where more extensive edits are done to ensure the writing is easy-to-read and fulfills its purpose.
A proofreader is usually the last set of eyes to give the grand ‘OK!’ before a work goes to be published or printed.
By the time a written piece reaches a proofreader, changes would be quite minimal, but it doesn’t mean that a proofreader’s role isn’t important.
In fact, it is VERY important. The proofreader checks, checks, and checks to make sure everything is where it should be before it goes out into the world.
For example, I may have written this very article you’re reading, but it doesn’t just stop with me.
I have an editor who does the first round of checks, as well as a proofreader who does the next and final round of checks before it reaches you, my audience!
Imagine if I didn’t have a proofreader, you might have noticed way more spelling errors!
Who Hires Copywriters And Proofreaders?
You might wonder whether there are enough copywriting and proofreading jobs out there for you to consider copywriting or proofreading as a potential career.
Good news – almost every company would require copywriters and proofreaders. But some of them opt to hire them in-house while some hire freelancers.
Most, if not all, companies typically have a product, service, or idea to sell.
In selling these items, they would require good, persuasive, and compelling copies to be written.
That’s where copywriters come in!
As for proofreaders? Some companies may think that they can do without them, but what good is an ad copy if it is ridden with spelling mistakes and typos right?
Take the “Malaysia, truly Asia” slogan and campaign by Tourism Malaysia for example (country pride!).
It wouldn’t quite have the same effect if you saw “truly Asia” pop up in an advertisement somewhere right?
Your first thought would probably be – they spent so much money on the ad and they couldn’t even spot this mistake.
No company wants to be in that position!
How Much Money Can Copywriters And Proofreaders Make?
Both jobs can command up to six figures in a year, with some really good copywriters even earning a seven-figure income.
But if you want to take about average figures, a copywriter earns on average about $62,000 a year.
A proofreader typically earns $50,000 a year on average.
There are many ways to increase your earning potential if you’re a copywriter or a proofreader.
Not many people know this, but I started off my freelancing career as a proofreader and had earnt just enough then to cover my trip up to Everest Base Camp.
I subsequently decided I wanted to upskill myself in proofreading so I could earn more so I took up a proofreading course taught by an experienced proofreader.
While I don’t do proofreading as my main gig anymore (blog writing is!), I’ve since had four-figure projects come my way, and even had to reject some of them!
Copywriting Vs. Proofreading: Which Is More Worth It?
If you’re torn between copywriting and proofreading, I’d have to say neither is worth more than the other.
Both are very valuable skill sets in the writing world.
But depending on what you prefer to do, one might be more worth investing your time in than the other.
Copywriting requires you to be good with words, creative and persuasive. You’ll need to always have new and innovative ways of conveying ideas and selling products and services.
On the other hand, proofreading requires you to be very detail-oriented and to spot the smallest mistakes that even machines might miss.
If you’re creative at heart, perhaps copywriting would be more worth it for you.
If you take pride in being meticulous with your work and enjoy being relied on to spot mistakes that others might not spot, then proofreading could be your cup of tea.
It is not uncommon to provide both copywriting and editing services especially if you love writing and editing.
Regardless of which you choose, you probably needn’t worry about finding work because where there are copywriting jobs, there will also be a need for proofreaders.
Proofread vs Copy Edit: What’s The Difference?
You’ve seen me go through copywriting and proofreading and their differences.
What about copyediting?
Copyediting is the reviewing process that takes place right after the copy is written and before it is proofread.
When copyediting takes place, the copyeditor typically checks for mistakes, expressions, inconsistent language, and typos.
If you’re a writer, your copy editor helps you make sure that whatever you’re writing is legible and easily understood.
While you can always edit your own work (and you should before submitting it to the editor), having a second pair of eyes helps as they can see what you may not see as the writer.
A copyeditor can look at the smallest of details within your copy, but also see the piece as a whole and assess if it tells the story that it needs to tell.
A copyeditor would have made extensive edits by then to correct phrasing, expressions and make the text clearer.
The proofreader will then need to double-check that there are no further stylistic errors and surface-level mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
By the time it reaches a proofreader, edits should be minimal and you shouldn’t expect a complete overhaul of your piece.
FAQs On Copywriting & Proofreading
Is A Copywriter A Proofreader?
So, is a copywriter a proofreader? No, a copywriter is not a proofreader. A copywriter creates a copy and writes the words required, while a proofreader reviews the words written to ensure that it is error-free.
Copywriters are required to write the content, whereas a proofreader reviews the content.
The similarities in both are that both copywriters and proofreaders deal with a piece of written work, and both roles can be assumed in-house or taken on by freelancers.
If you want to simplify it – a copywriter writes, and a proofreader reads (and reviews).
How Do I Become A Copywriter And Proofreader?
If you want to know how do I become a copywriter and proofreader, you need to know it is not uncommon to want to be both, but both are not the same thing.
In order to become a copywriter, you can take on a copywriting course or a generic freelance writing course, before honing your skills to be a copywriter.
To become a proofreader, you can simply just start by offering to help people around you proofread their copies like advertisements or emails.
But if you want a proper head start where you can learn the tips of the trade and the best methods for proofreading from an established expert, then try this course I took.
Caitlin from Proofread Anywhere showed me that it was completely possible to earn a living from anywhere on the road by proofreading (and I later on learnt this when I proofread on my way up to Everest base camp).
She’s compiled her top tips, mistakes as well as best practices for proofreading within this super comprehensive course.
So if you’re sincere about becoming a proofreader, I’d genuinely recommend checking out her free proofreading workshop first to get a sense of her teaching style and content!
Should I Be A Copy Editor Or Proofreader?
Torn on whether should I be a copy editor or proofreader? Both copy editing and proofreading roles are very similar but have slight differences.
You should be a copy editor if you like helping make writing clearer and also editing in general.
You should be a proofreader if extensively overhauling someone’s writing isn’t your cup of tea, and you’re there just to spot technical mistakes like spelling, typos, punctuation and grammatical errors.
If you’re torn between both, taking copyediting, copywriting and proofreading courses might help provide some clarity!
Do Copywriters Make Good Money?
Wondering do copywriters make good money? Copywriters can make good money, with some sought-after copywriters earning upwards of a six-figure annual salary.
Some of the highest-earning copywriters have a proven track record of writing copy that converts and sells.
If you want to work your way towards writing a copy that will convince people to buy whatever you’re selling, emulate some of your copywriting role models and learn from the best out there.
How Do I Start Copywriting With No Experience?
Thinking to yourself how do I start copywriting with no experience? Simple, you just start!
Ask your friends if they need anything written or write a copy to sell your copywriting services. That’s copywriting in itself.
Next, create a website with a copy to promote your services. Better yet if you can SEO-optimize it so that anyone looking for a copywriter will be able to find you.
If you want to fast-track your journey towards being a copywriter, you can start with my freelance writing course which shows you how to start writing and building your portfolio.
Is A Copywriter The Same As A Writer?
Not sure on whether is a copywriter the same as a writer? Copywriters are not the same as a writer – all copywriters are writers but not all writers are copywriters.
Copywriters are expected to create compelling copy that helps sell ideas, products, and services.
What Is The Main Action A Writer Takes When Proofreading
Not too sure what is the main action a writer takes when proofreading? If a writer is also assuming a proofreading role, then the main action will be to proofread for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typos.
These may have been missed earlier on in the writing process or when edits were being made.
Proofreading is the final line of checks so whether it’s done by a writer or a separate proofreader, they’ll need to be extremely meticulous!
As you can see, copywriting and proofreading are quite different skill sets!
While you can always choose to do everything in the whole writing process – be a copywriter, editor and proofreader – it is also perfectly fine to specialize!
Especially if you prefer practicing one skill over the other.
Take me for example, I started with proofreading.
But over time I found that I loved creating content for my blogs a lot more so I threw my heart into writing instead!
Did this post help you decide if you want to do copywriting or proofreading? Or both? Let me know in the comments below!