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?