Advertising dates back to the Ancient Greeks. The art of copywriting is just as ancient as it is an integral part of how advertisements are created. As the years have progressed and ways in which we advertise have changed, copywriting has needed to adapt. But has copywriting changed that much? Is the digital copywriter that different from the type of copywriter who worked solely on print publications?
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Digital Copywriting vs Traditional Copywriting
What is ‘copywriting’?
Traditionally, the job of a copywriter was strictly to put together text – or copy – for advertising materials. American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI) defines the process of copywriting as “… the process of writing advertising promotional materials. Copywriters are responsible for the text on brochures, billboards, websites, emails, advertisements, catalogs, and more.”
It was (and still is) the job of the copywriter to create copy to persuade their readers to buy a product. In fact, the AWAI calls the copywriter a salesman/-woman on paper. They operate on the principle that in order to convert a reader into an active customer, you need to appeal to their emotions, make them keenly feel why they absolutely need your product.
One of the techniques that copywriters know is that in order to ensure that your reader is drawn into your copy is to create a headline that appeals to their emotions and makes them want to read more. A powerful emotion to tap into is curiosity. A headline that did this very successfully is the famous one: “What not to eat on an airplane.” The reader is so intrigued and wants to know what he or she should not be eating on an airplane that more is read. This technique was so successful that it has extended to videos on social media with similar headlines.
The job of the digital copywriter
In the opening pages of her book entitled Web Copy that Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy Every Time, Maria Veloso perfectly describes the confusion that people have between copywriting for the web and ‘normal’ copywriting:
“When people ask me what I do for a living, and I say, “I write web copy,” I’m met with blank stares. Web copy is such a new term even those who have an Internet presence hardly recognize it. I quickly explain, “Web copy simply means the words that make visitors to your website pull out their credit cards and buy your product or service.”
As Maria describes above, the task of the digital copywriter is not that different. He or she has to create copy for a website that converts passive website browsers into paying clients. However, not many people seem to understand this.
Where the digital copywriter has an advantage over the traditional copywriter is that they have tools at their disposal to show them how their copy is performing and if it is having the desired effect which could be prompting people to proceed to the checkout and pay for their goods, signing up for your e-mail newsletter or viewing one of your product pages.
Possibly the best tool to assist you with gathering this information is Google Analytics. The report that will probably be the most valuable to you is the Behavior > Site Content. Here you will be able to see what the most popular pages on your website are as well as which pages people using to leave or enter your website. Based on this information, you can tweak the copy on these pages so that you can ultimately make people stay on the website for longer.
Have we made you interested in becoming a digital copywriter? We hope that we have! It’s fast becoming one of the most lucrative professions in the world. You can work for a company or become a freelance digital copywriter and work how it suits you. The sky’s the limit! If this profession sounds interesting to you, why not check out the Digital School of Marketing’s Digital Copywriting and Content Marketing Course? It will open this exciting world up for you! For more information, follow this link.
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