November 1, 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

 

Why Copywriters Need to Take Mobile Marketing Seriously

Even if you never use mobile marketing to find clients, as a copywriter, you need to fall in love with it. You also need to develop skills for getting responses from customers using mobile marketing techniques, and you need to start doing it right now. Mobile Marketing on Smart Phone with QR Code for Shopping

Here’s why…

Like it or Not, the World is Going Mobile

The world is going mobile, and as it does, your copywriting clients are going to need mobile marketing to reach their customers. Consumers use their mobile devices a lot more than they use their lap tops these days.  Mobile devices are more convenient and people can get quick access to the information they want, so naturally people are not going to stop using them. Some copywriters think this is bad news because it means less advertising dollars will be spent on direct mail and online content marketing.

However, good copywriting will always be valuable because of one undeniable truth about marketing and advertising – images don’t sell, words sell. There might not be as much copywriting in an SMS message or a pop up ad on a mobile application as there would be on a long form sales letter, but that makes  good copywriting even MORE valuable for marketers.  If they can’t get the customers’ attention within the first few words, they’re not going to make sales. That’s why your clients need you. It’s also why you might want to reconsider how valuable your writing services are in the new mobile world . . .

Mobile Marketing is a Different Game for Copywriters

A lot of newbie copywriters are still charging customers by the word, ten cents a word, one dollar a word etc. But these days, less is more and copywriters who can get responses using 10 words might soon be just as valuable as those who used to write ten page sales letters. If your clients hire you to write Twitter messages, SMS messages or pop up messages for their mobile marketing campaigns, don’t be so quick to rate the project based on word count. It takes time to put together 10 words that will grab a customer’s attention, and ultimately, you’re not being paid to write words. You’re being paid to sell your clients’ products and services.

So, start working on your headline writing skills and practice compressing your messages into 10 words or less. You now have only a few seconds to get the job done, and copywriters who can say more with less will likely rule the world of mobile marketing.

Nail Your Next SMS Text Message Copywriting Assignment

SMS Text MessageWith more and more businesses capitalizing on text messages as a primary communication tool, the need for copywriters who “get it” will increase.  Are you ready for that client who says “I need you to handle a copywriting project for my SMS marketing campaign?”  Do you know the faux pas and conventions when creating text messages for a mobile marketing or ad campaign?  If you don’t, no worries, because I’ve jotted down the dos and don’ts for you below:

•Identify the brand or company.  I’ve received text messages from G-d only knows who and, invariably, my reflexive response is “delete.”   Let them know the brand or the company that is sending the text. You want to avoid your text being treated like spam.

•With SMS text message marketing it’s important to remember that your message has to focus on Only your client’s broadcast subscribers.  You are not directing the message to the general public.

•Other than “FWD 2 a friend,” stay away from text talk, slang, abbreviations and hype. Yes, it may be cool when two “real” friends are texting each other. Yes, it may seem like the suitable thing to do, since, after all, you are texting, but don’t. Your SMS message should be professional.   You can, however, do so, if:  (a) your client’s target audience for the campaign are all teenagers; and (b) you can pull it off authentically, where you don’t sound like an adult who’s trying to sound youthful; and (c) your client tells you to “go for it.”

•Your message must stop the reader in her or his tracks, with a strong headline. You should have a clear understanding of what the customers or potential customers want and immediately satisfy it in your mobile message.  In addition, the offer has to be of immediate value, and has to clearly communicate the benefits of acting now.

•Create two versions of your text message headline so that your client can test them.  Urge her or him to do so. Provide two even if they don’t plan on testing.

•Lead with the benefits of your product or service.  Use your features to validate the benefits – in that order. She wants to know immediately the advantage of buying your product. Will she save time, lose weight or find the right Kindle cover?

•Tell them “the when,” “the where” and “the how.”  Also, if there is some convenience of your product or service, mention that too. Does your bedbug extermination include moving furniture for them? Your message will not be doing its job if your customer has to go online to figure this out.  Most likely, they won’t.

•Your call to action should be no more than 21 characters and leave nothing to the imagination.  Short and easy.  Be crystal clear so it cannot be interpreted in any other way, other than how you mean it.  Give the customer an incentive, perhaps some perk or discount, etc.  Time limits also work well, “Happy Hour” or “Lunch Hour Special.”

•Help your client’s customers spread the brand’s message.  Include the words “Fwd 2 a friend,” at the end of each text blast message.

•Use compelling wording that evoke emotion and action.  Study the language of your brand’s industry and use those words that they’ve used which have been successful in getting their customers’ attention.  The customer should be able to imagine the benefits; it’s your job to paint that picture.

•If you are promoting your client’s SMS vanity short code, don’t forget to provide the short code’s digits for those customers with QWERTY keypads (first 6 keys in  top left row of keypad).  “Text YES to 92259 (WACKY).”

•Never ask the customer to “guess what . . .”  Time is not on your side when you are creating text marketing messages. Get to the point or you will be deleted.

SMS text messaging is the world’s most widely used data application. There are 2.4 billion active users.  You can expect that you will be asked in the near future to write copy for a text message marketing campaign.  Now that you’ve got the basics, you can do so with a bit more confidence.

 

P.S.  Click here for more resources on mobile marketing or visit: Mobile Marketer.

12 Essential Mobile Marketing Blogs for Freelance Copywriters

Mobile copy differs in many respects from desktop copy, be it app copy, SMS, MMS, push notifications, mobile web content or mobile ad copy.  There are a whole host of elements that must be taken into consideration when composing copy for mobile devices. Thankfully, they can be learned fairly quickly, if you know where to look. Below is a list of sources where copywriters can find information on mobile marketing, which, of course, directly impacts the writer’s approach to crafting mobile copy.

 iPhone Advertising Mobile Web Content

1-Vibes Blog – Vibes is an entity recognized for having innovative ideas. The blog offers insight on the trends, how-tos and matters relevant to the mobile marketing industry.

2-Mobile Marketing Watch – The primary function of Mobile Marketing Watch is to serve the mobile industry, including but not limited to marketers, consumers and businesses. The blog collects updates and delivers practical reports, insight and clarifications to help the industry traverse the mobile channel.

3-Marketing TechBlog – Marketing Technology blog discusses the newest information, best practices, and many other valuable items for search engine and online marketing.

4-Finger Food – 5th Finger– Finger Food creates unique mobile solutions for the health and retail industry, including providing information on building mobile strategies.

5-Mobile Commerce Daily – This is the world’s first dedicated mobile commerce daily trade publication. It’s written for businesses who use mobile channel for, among other things, sales that originate and are finalized on the mobile device.

6-Footprints – the Walker Sands agency, the owner of the Footprints blog, focuses on providing marketing services and public relations for technology solution providers. They also provide web technology solutions for B2B companies. Their blog more than sufficiently complements this effort.

7-Christopher Koch’s blog, Idea Marketing, is his own words – “Idea marketing isn’t journalism but it uses journalistic methods to educate and inform customers about what they should be doing today and what they should be planning for the future. In this blog, I share what I learn about the many aspects of idea marketing.”

8-The Launch Blog – This is a blog about advertising and marketing-related topics, including mobile marketing.


200x200 Marketing Evaluation

9-SMS Mobile Marketing Blog – This blog is solely committed to every aspect of SMS mobile marketing and the SMS mobile marketing industry.

10-Mayo Lounge – Mayo Lounge Mobile Marketing is a blog primarily focused on mobile marketing and the usage of mobile phones in strategic communications. This is especially helpful to copywriters, because this blog posts examples of successful or creative mobile marketing campaigns.

11-Google Mobile Ads – This blog is just what it sounds like; it provides information and up-to-the-minute news and commentary, etc. on all things in relation to Google Mobile Ads, marketing and technology.

12-Mobivity – is a mobile marketing and technology blog that covers texting and SMS solutions.

Contrary to what a lot of copywriters think, writing for the mobile market is somewhat different from writing for the desktop market.  The targets’ needs are different; they change from the desk to the handheld. Their mindset and attention span are different.  So, if you think you can simply copy and paste a piece you’ve crafted and think it will work, so long as you’ve got “banging,” compelling text, you’d be wrong!  If you are not up to speed on the things that matter when writing for the mobile world, catch up, or you will be left behind.  This is the direction technology is taking, thus, it’s the direction marketing and copy will be taking as well.

Video Revealing Hot Digital Marketing Trends Freelance Copywriters Should Be Up On

These marketing thought leaders reveal the digital marketing trends they and their colleagues are following, including mobile marketing trends.

Trends and Advances Every Freelance Copywriter Should Know About Mobile Marketing – A Must-Read

Social media has dramatically changed the game of marketing and advertising, placing enormous power in the tight grip of the consumer. And the increase in mobile device usage has bolstered this revolution. Consequently, the traditional marketing landscape is rapidly fading into obsolescence. These changes have driven a mindset transformation of sorts among marketers and brands. In other words businesses now have to revamp the way they approach consumers and potential customers.

Mobile Marketer Shopping for Iphone Apps

Before people part with their money, they want engagement, and they want a value-added customer experience. Brands now have to prove they are worthy of a customer’s money or email address or phone number, and, increasingly, in many cases, have to ask permission to prove their merit to the consumer. The days of conventional selling are over! What does this mean for copywriters? This means that traditional copywriting will soon be history. The copywriter’s approach, and thus the type of text and the delivery, so to speak, that we are used to crafting, must change. And it must change immediately if your copywriting talent is being used for a mobile marketing or mobile advertising project.

Understanding Copywriting – Then and Now

Then – In the old days, pre-2008-2009, traditional copywriting meant: learning about your target audience; discovering something unique about your product; presenting your product’s benefits first, features second; and persuading your target customer to “buy now” or “click here” or “contact us” or “email today,” etc.

Now - The new marketing landscape requires that we offer the customer a more liberating experience. Consumers, especially, the younger set, but gradually, boomers as well, want to be engaged, not sold to. Copywriting now means: (a) learning about the target audience’s “consumer insight” that you want to address, vis-à-vis what your brand stands for; (b) leveraging that information and (c) enhancing the quality of the customer’s life, by either providing practical/useful information and/or content and/or by entertaining or indulging them. Keep in mind, however, cliché or condescending approaches will fail and there is almost no possibility for redemption without it, potentially, costing your client a fortune.

Concepts/Questions to Keep in Mind When Preparing to Craft Copywriting Text for the Mobile Marketing Project

• The context of your copy is just as important as the content, perhaps even more so.

• Prioritize with respect to what the consumer (mobile user) finds important, not what your client finds important.

• Be sure you are clear about how your client’s target customers incorporate their mobile devices into their lives so that the copy resonates with the intended audience.

•What is the message your client is trying to communicate to the mobile user?

• In what context is your client’s customer seeing the ad?

• You cannot place repurposed static banners, videos next to unrelated mobile content.

• If SEO is a component of your task, the intent of the mobile search is extremely different from that of the desktop searcher. Your SEO keywords will not necessarily be the same as the one in the campaign for their desktop shopper. The research must be done separately.

• You will want to know the business objective of your client? It will also be very important for you to be familiar with your client’s other marketing strategies for this campaign so that your mobile plan is in sync with them. You want your client to be able to integrate the mobile strategy with print, broadcast, online and all other media they may be utilizing.

•Request to work closely with the tech folks handling the interface so that you know what’s next in the steps that a mobile campaign takes and what page follows, etc. so that the copy you craft makes sense and has the impact they need it to have in order for the campaign to be effective and not fail.

Start creating a swipe file of mobile copy, preferably, an electronic one, so that you can become acclimated to mobile writing styles. Look for text written in connection with the following types of tasks:

1. Mobile Web Ads/Banners

2. Social Media Engagements

3. Mobile SEO

4. SMS Text Messaging Advertising

5. Mobile Campaign Promotions (copy techniques for getting permission to get the prospects cell# so your client can then promote stuff to their customers)

6. Mobile Contests/Gaming

7. Mobile Apps

8. Mobile video and audio

9. Email Marketing

10. Location-based Coupons/Discounts

Yes, mobile marketing has changed the game folks, and the sooner we freelance copywriters catch up and get on board, the more valuable to companies and ad agencies, etc. we will be.

Happy Writing,

Stacey

Stacey Mathis Copywriting

The Copywriter’s Highway to Success

Tweet me: @staceythewriter

P. S. Just as in traditional hardcopy and email, where we regularly included the “P.S.,” in mobile copywriting, we regularly include share features, like “Tell a Friend” to spread your client’s message.

Streamline Mobile Web Content Writing

Copywriting for today’s mobile readers demands quick, short and strong text.  Even though mobile users spend a lot of time idling and doing frivolous stuff on their mobile devices, they still want to do it in a hurry.  And they get agitated when they can’t do it in a speedy fashion.


Also, mobile users want only the information that is absolutely necessary for them to achieve their immediate goal.  Reading on a mobile device is hard enough as it is, but then when you have to scroll through an unnecessary number of words to get where you’re going, it’s maddening.

This increases the writing challenges for the copywriter.  The copywriter now has to think in terms of digesting a copy message, not writing it in the traditional sense.  When you are crafting mobile copy and you have second thoughts about whether text should be there, it’s probably best to omit it.