November 26, 2014

I’m a Damn Good Copywriter! Why Do Employers Keep Posting Job Ads Specifically for Digital Writers and Copywriters?

Let me start this post by countering an all-too-common offense taken by traditional copywriters who tend to rise up when they hear terms like “digital copywriting.” Employers who specify “digital writer” or “digital copywriter” in want-ads are not implying that traditional copywriters cannot write for the new media or that writing for the new media requires some magical or secret expertise over which digital writers have dominion. Nor is it a term copywriters created to show that they have a specialized skill. The vocabulary is engendered by technological and social media advances.Digital Writing in a Digital World

Recently, in a copywriting group discussion on linkedin.com, members asked the following questions and follow-up questions (housed in their comments):

Writing for a Different Medium

Question: On a job searching spree, I learned that there is a new term very much in fashion these days, DIGITAL WRITING. How is it different from the rest? Isn’t it just writing for a different medium?

Answer: It is writing for a different medium, but for efficiency purposes, employers want to make sure the writer has a working knowledge of all the other stuff that doesn’t typically come into play in traditional copywriting.

For example:

(a) Traditionally, copywriters write to persuade prospects and customers. In today’s consumer-controlled marketing environment, your text will more than likely have to engage your target audience – an audience that is simply not interested in being sold to. And you need to know how to do this or should I say, how to finesse this, which usually comes from having done it already. Major corporations are still trying to wrap their heads around how to engage their audiences; it’s easier said than done. To me, marketing messages almost have to have a sort of tribal appeal that they did not have to have before. Actually, this seems to be turning into a standard all around;

(b) You need to know what to do to make certain groups of people inclined to share or talk about info/sales/content/contests/events/ coupons, etc. For example, in social media, you run into things, e.g., where certain target audiences have a key influencer, the alpha type person(s) to whom a company may need your text to appeal in order to get the sharing/WOM ball rolling, etc.;

(c) If you don’t understand how “keywording” and other SEO techniques are effectively applied, your knowledge of copy is of less value than a “digital writer’s.” This is very important for a variety of reasons;

(d) Then there’s just the basic stuff, e.g., knowing that “read more” works better in email marketing than “click here” in certain instances or knowing how and where to distribute the words “pay now” on a sales page and knowing what not to put in a subject line to increase an open rate or ways to increase an ads click-through rate . . .

(e) Do you understand how to use metrics to assess performance of campaigns and where to start to improve results or how to exploit promotional structures on a website and drive traffic to ensure a site feels continually updated or how to analyze and document detailed online content with an eye for optimizing user experience?

What about Writing Adaptability?

Question: Isn’t it a matter of decoding the brief and adaptability?

Answer: I think it’s more than that. I don’t know if decoding a traditional brief would give you the appreciation you need of the value of things like social media integration and the direction you need to effectuate that or to offer constructive strategies, e.g., to incorporate online and offline approaches involving an sms text/FB promotion or a Twitter campaign . . . along with all the little annoying things you need to know about the best practices of each of these tools.

Filtering Out Old School Writers

Question: Does it mean that the term is coined to filter out the old school writers?

Answer: It’s coined to filter out copywriters who aren’t aware that the media landscape has been completely transformed and who don’t get that consumers just don’t experience or interact with brands the way they did back in the day, albeit “the day” was only 3-5 years ago. It’s coined to filter out copywriters who are still trying to fight the fact that, good or bad, times have changed, and the copywriter’s landscape is changing.

My take for myself: Even if things are moving at the speed of light, I think it’s my job to keep abreast of and keep up with the trends of my industry and profession, and it behooves me (and my clients) to stay relevant. I don’t always get it right, but it’s nice to get vastly more right than you get wrong, and that only happens when I keep up. But this is what it is, and, well, whether I like it or not, these are the realities of my passion.

Comment: . . . “a great radio or long copy copywriter can rule the digital realm.

Response: Great copywriters already rule the digital realm. And, yes, a great TV or radio writer can write great digital copy. Simply put, I am saying that these employers who ask for digital writers probably specify “digital” because they want someone who can demonstrate that he or she understands the new media, is up to speed and can jump right in WITH all of her or his other writing talents. These employers are not saying you are not a great writer and can’t adapt; I think they just want to be confident that you to have a grasp of the digital environment already. No, it’s not rocket science, but sites like marketingsherpa.com don’t exist for nothing.

IN OTHER WORDS, DIGITAL COPYWRITING IS DIFFERENT IN MANY WAYS FROM TRADITIONAL COPYWRITING.

These are just a few of many, many things copywriters in the digital arena already know and it’s why employers ask for digital writers and digital copywriters as opposed to writers and copywriters. They need to know that you understand the nature and mindset of the digital environment. The same goes for mobile copywriters. Writing for mobile is not merely Internet copywriting. There are different rules when writing for apps, or SMS Text promotions, which you want the writer to have an understanding of coming in.

Yes, conventional copywriters can learn digital copywriting, but it helps the employer (and his client, if any) tremendously if the writer is already aware of all these differences and nuances, and knows how to incorporate all this as they go along, etc., especially for time-sensitive promotions and campaigns.

No one has time for folks to learn this stuff on the job, when you need them to hit the ground running.

Let’s not even talk about what happens when the writer doesn’t even know that he or she needs to know this. And many copywriters don’t.

Traditional Copywriters – If you saw the following job description for a “Digital Writer,” could you jump right in and get started?:

“Need Digital Writer Who Understands Social Media Strategy As Well As SEO”

Primary Responsibilities: Write for search engine optimization; evaluate existing content assets and feeds based on target audience and business objectives and make recommendations for content migration; wireframe content for use in design discussions; provide rationale for all recommendations; ensure content management systems meet publishing and legal requirements (this is especially true with mobile); utilize metrics to assess performance of campaigns and know where to start to improve results; understand how to exploit promotional structures on a website and drive traffic to ensure a site feels continually updated,; analyze and document detailed online content with an eye for optimizing user experience.

No matter how great a copywriter you are, if you are not up to speed in the digital realm, it’s not like learning what text goes on which panel of a brochure. There’s a method to this stuff and even the absolute most talented copywriters in the world don’t learn this osmotically and it’s why employers request “DIGITAL” writers.

They’re not asking you to learn it; they’re asking you to know it.

 

 

 

 

 

FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

 

Copywriting Tips for Writing Ad Copy for E-Commerce Sites

E-commerce - shopping button on keyboardGuest Post by Lisa Forester –

Compelling copy, particularly with product descriptions, will increase your client’s e-commerce conversion rates significantly. When crafting content that will eventually wind up on an e-commerce page or website, your copy should essentially strive to achieve two objectives:

  1. 1. Establish trust; and
  2. 2. Prove to visitors that your product is right for them so that readers to buy whatever it is you’re offering.

Here’s a look at certain elements you should keep in mind when writing ad copy for e-commerce sites:

Know Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience sets the tone from word one. Your words must immediately resonate with your target audience.  For example, if you’re writing copy for easy-to-use software marketed to a mature target market, less computer-savvy users, the last thing you want to do is use a lot of technical jargon. It’s not what they’re after and they may be likely to bail from your website and find one that does speak their language – laymen terms.

Remember, the language your audience speaks is the language you must write.

Craft Unique Ad Copy

When the copy is unique, it’s not uncommon to see significant increases in website traffic -  30-100%, provided it’s unique for each of your products. Don’t be tempted to use the dull copy provided by the products’ manufacturers.  Your job is to create a unique competitive advantage for your clients. When you craft unique, quality e-commerce ad text you create that advantage for your clients.

One always triumphant and guaranteed unique feature of e-commerce is user-generated content in the form of product reviews.  In addition, it’s a good idea to persuade your client to index their reviews for search.

Show, Don’t Tell

All good writing is about showing your readers what you want them to know. This is particularly effective when writing e-commerce ad copy because readers, shoppers really, want to make their own decisions about their purchases and when they feel like they’re being told what to do, what to buy, which options to select, etc., they may push back.

If you sell cookware packages, simply describing each pot, pan, and skillet won’t work. Shoppers know about Teflon, and non-stick surface, and heat transference. They can also see what you’re offering. What they would be more interested in learning is how customer feedback on your excellent products resulted in the creation of this particular package. How it became important to add one additional sauce pan because customers were letting your company know that food preparation requires more sauce pans than skillets.

This is actually a true statement about cooking and cookware, and your potential customers will appreciate that you’ve responded to your customers’ feedback which resulted in a better cookware package. You showed them the value of your particular cookware offering and they’ll draw their own conclusions about your competitors’ products.

Establish the right verbal character – a balance between being engaging and informative while showcasing your product’s usability, functionality and convenience.

Remember, don’t bore your audience with stuff they already know. Show them the value of your client’s product.

Don’t Over-sell Your E-commerce Products

Today’s consumers are smart, and above all things, they do their homework. Your client’s website might not be the first website they’ve visited, but it’s your job as the copywriter to make sure it’s their last one. Getting your products into their shopping cart is the goal, but unless you’re selling a one-of-a-kind product available only through your website, this can’t happen by being pushy. Flashing constant “buy now” buttons all over the place can get old . . . fast. Overwhelming them with constant pop-ups, for example, is another turnoff for a variety of reasons, the least of which is your potential customer’s ability to sense BS.  Don’t make them suspicious or skeptical.  Provide the information they need, show them the value of your product, explain the advantages, features and benefits, and close the deal.

No one likes the equivalent of the high-pressure salesman.

Presentation 

When writing your e-commerce marketing copy and putting your web pages together, use the following tips:

  • Write short, concise sentences
  • Use bullets and numbers where appropriate
  • Avoid corny marketing clichés
  • Use the active voice and action verbs
  • Limit your use of modifiers
  • Write in simple, easy-to-understand language
  • Don’t use any unnecessary words

Consumers often skim a web page, which means you need them to see, and ultimately read, your words.  Bullets, short sentences, and action verbs will not only draw and hold their attention; they’ll also encourage them to read more of your copy.

Remember, presentation is everything.  Boring your readers with a lot of long sentences, paragraphs or too much content will send them to your client’s competitor.

Professional Writing

Nothing you’ve read above will matter at all if your writing is unprofessional.  If you use poor grammar, over-punctuate, and supply inconsistent copy from page to page, product to product, you’ll lose more potential customers than you can imagine.

Unprofessional writing will show your site visitors—right or wrong—that your client’s products must also be inferior.  After all, they couldn’t be bothered to write professional copy or have it proofread. You’ve given them no level of comfort about your client’s company and their products.

Remember, your ad copy is the window to the company. Write the best professional content possible and potential customers will become customers.

__________________________________________________________

About the Author:  Lisa of DRIVE NETWORK MARKETING has worked with many e-commerce sites helping to perfect their copy.  She most recently helped Satellite TV revamp their copy for an Internet page.

 

 

 

 

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net