Over in one of my LinkedIn discussion groups, there’s been an interesting debate going on about the nature of copywriting and what it really is. Copywriters and digital strategists from all over the world have been weighing in with their opinions, some more passionately than others.
Since I began this blog, I’ve been asked by several people about what it’s like to be a professional copywriter. Traditional copywriting for printed materials (such as a magazine ad, a flyer or a newsletter story) involves several elements: an original and attention-grabbing headline that explains the benefits of a product or service to the reader, some body copy that covers the advantages of whatever you’re selling and a call to action at the end. (See my previous post, There’s no copying in copywriting.)
The debate got started when the person posting the discussion referred to “simple copywriters”. That’s just it; good copywriting isn’t simple and is acquired with experience. It takes a mixture of being clever with words, determining who is the target audience, matching the tone of your message to suit that audience and determining what they would want to know about your product or service. You also have to know the product/service inside and out to be able to discuss its merits and ensure that what you say is consistent with a company’s brand and marketing strategy.
But now, I’m of the opinion that writing rules have expanded. Creating websites, personal blogs, business blogs, Twitter tweets and other material intended strictly for publication on the Web requires different writing techniques, as well as familiarity with different social media platforms and knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization). You still need to know the conventional rules of copywriting (know your audience, know your product/service, write well, etc.) but you should also have a knowledge of social media culture/etiquette and how to make the search engines find what you write if your material is going onto the Web.
And that’s what I told my discussion group. The debate is still going on.
So now there are more writing professions than ever, thanks to the Web and the insatiable need for information. You can be a book author, a copywriter, a journalist working in TV, magazines or newspapers, an online journalist, a Web content writer, a personal blogger, a business blogger or a mix of these. LOVE IT!
Blog readers, your opinions?