Copywriting — where it’s been and where it’s going

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Now, THIS is MY kind of writing spot! Image of Boldt Castle interior courtesy of revwarheart, Morguefile.

The digital age has done a lot in moving the copywriting profession into new and exciting directions. Traditionally, copywriting was print-based work — creating catalogs, press releases, flyers, posters, brochures, direct mail and ads to run in newspapers and magazines. You had to analyze the benefits of the product or service you’re marketing, anticipate the needs of your target audience, and write in an entertaining and persuasive way to capture their attention.

When the Internet came along, copywriting expanded to include Web sites and e-mails. Now, copywriters are not only being asked to do print communications but also need expertise with Twitter, Facebook, blogging, SEO (search engine optimization, a.k.a. the ever-changing techniques for helping search engines find your material and put it on the first page of results, ideally), Web programming, data analysis and/or graphic design skills.

It’s a good trend for writers. There is a growing market for people who can write for the Web, which constantly hungers for new and fresh content. That’ll create even more jobs for writers, now and in the future. Although the job title varies — the ad may ask for a copywriter, content management specialist or marketing specialist — there is, at heart, some writing involved.

Mobile advertising on smartphones and tablet computers is also on the rise with the growth of smartphone and tablet computer usage. Hey, somebody has to write those landing pages and websites.

Social media writing has crept into other types of writing-related professions. Some of my favorite fiction authors have Twitter accounts, Facebook pages or even blogs, and it’s fun to send them messages about how much I enjoyed a book (and even better when they reply!).

Writing on social media accounts penetrated journalism as well. My fellow blogger, journalist and editor, Steve Buttry of The Buttry Diary, writes about various topics related to digital journalism. He’s entertaining to read since he often discusses social media and how it’s impacted his profession. I loved one of Steve Buttry’s posts on using Twitter, where someone asked if live-tweeting from a newsworthy scene was giving away info to the competition and he pointed out that if you’re tweeting from there, you’ve ALREADY scooped the competition. If you’re a budding journalist (or you’re just curious, like me), I highly recommend reading Steve Buttry’s blog and learning from his experience.

What’s coming for writers next, I wonder?

 

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Copywriting — where it’s been and where it’s going

  1. Wow, a positive voice in the wilderness. I constantly get the impression that writers are becoming passe, with the onset of all this technology, but you’re right, someone has to write copy for all those websites. I keep coming across freelancer.com type websites too. I guess if you’re flexible there’s work out there.

  2. You know those ‘oops, we’ve broken something’ error messages, I had to come up with an initiative alternative the other day…. Indeed, copywriting has become so diverse!

    I will check that book out too, another bible that I swear by for web writing is ‘Don’t make me think’. I can’t remember the name of the author now but just give it a Google.

  3. Yep, times they are a changing!

  4. I was not an English major but did much editing and copy editing in various jobs. Amazing, but these days we all need to become copy editors of one kind or another. BTW I will watch for the post on secret places. Thanks for your fun comment yesterday.

  5. I think (hope!) that we’re going to see an explosion in mobile copywriting in the coming years. Promising tech innovations like Spritz Speed Reading could easily change our consumption of content, increasing the demand for long-form mobile content – and with improved demand comes improved supply, and more copywriting gigs! I wrote a little bit about the relationship between technology and content here…
    http://contendercontent.com/spritz/
    …if it’s a topic that interests you!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome and thanks for stopping by! Writing for mobile has some fascinating possibilities and it’ll grow in time.

      But we’re also talking responsive design versus adaptive delivery and how that’s going to affect writing for the mobile market. Hmm…. must look into this further.

  6. Landing pages content optimization is important as they contain information about other pieces of content as well. Most important element is title tag…

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