This image would've been great for my travel writing post, but I thought this illustrated the ubiquitous world of digital. And besides, this isn't about travel if you're reading this from Japan.
Copywriting for digital platforms has to be the hardest to master (after writing for ATL ads - I mean getting an eye-catching message across to a non-captive audience in 5 words is tough, right?). This is because you have 5 seconds to grab someone's attention, whether it's targeted or not. And you have to be gifted in writing in lots of ways:
Bringing your product to life while meeting all your business and legal obligations to sell a product in a restricted space is hard. The key is to use emotion to engage people and make sure that nothing you're saying is misleading or overselling. If you tell people this thing is the dog's bollocks and it ends up being a dog's turd, they'll tell you about it and all their followers on social media.
An in-house digital copywriter will be called on to write things like CTAs, breadcrumbs and error messaging. You need to be clear, concise and human.
Similar to those glamorous ad writers, except on social media you have even more noise to cut through and an even more distracted audience. This is before you've even taken into account the character limit. And don't fall into the trap of jumping on a bandwagon, like Cinnabon's insensitive Carrie Fisher tweet. But this is a great opportunity to give your business a human face, so let that personality shine through.
Aka content marketing aka SEO content, it's the same thing by a different name. Basically, turning your average copywriter into a journalist to hunt down those stories, make them relevant and engaging to either sell or inform customers.
This is the stuff dreams are made of. No one becomes a copywriter because they want to write error messages, they do it because they want to be part of the team that created the Paddy Power campaign or Nike's execution for the World Cup. This means you have to write creatively, conceptually and eye-catchingly (it's a word), while working as part of a bigger, cross functional team of designers, developers and marketing bods.
This includes emails and texts. Writing a subject line that attracts an already cynical reader who has loads of similar emails in a bursting inbox is a challenge in itself. Should achieve that open, you then need to get them to do something. I don't know about you, but my non-work related emails get read or deleted on the fly - I don't have time to read them. And texts are intrusive, so you need to answer an existential question before you even put finger to key.
OK, not technically considered digital, but you do need digital channels to broadcast them. So this could be anything from writing a digital poster for the Tube or scripting an infogif. If you're lucky, you'll get to work on a video, then you'll really feel like you've made it.
The different channels available are only the tip of the iceberg. When copywriting for digital channels, you need to consider:
- Your audience, as you have more information on them than any other channel.
- The end-to-end customer journey, you're writing a page, but how did they get to this page, does it repeat what they've seen before or contradict it.
- Insights of past or similar pages/campaigns like heat maps, conversion/bounce/open rates, user testing or traffic figures.
All this is worth it
I might've put you off. You might think that you're not capable of writing the fluffy, marketing stuff or getting stuck into the legals and product info. Perhaps you struggle to be succinct. Maybe you don't like the scrutiny of having everything you do measured, but trust me, it's worth it because you can:
- Do A/B or multi-variant testing to prove your creative hypothesis
- Tangibly measure the success of your copy
- Conceptualise campaigns in a limitless and creative way
- Sharpen your skills and become multi-talented
- Engage with real customer
- Adapt everything you do to meet customer needs
- Make mistakes - nothing is irreversible in digital
- Accurately target your copy using data
- Personalise copy for a better customer experience