Copywriting – it’s a used and often misused term. So, let’s clear that right up.
Copywriting today includes any message that a business sends out to its customers and potential customers – a message that promotes its brand and its value in the marketplace.
Given that this is the definition, marketers need to think about all of the ways and means that they can now use - especially with the amazing technology and tools that are now available to them – to spread their brands and ultimately sell product and services.
And before we speak to “types” of copywriting, we need to speak to how marketers should choose their marketing messages.
So, How do Marketers Choose Effective Copywriting Messages?
Even before they consider the types of marketing and branding messages they craft, marketers have some other work to do. Here are the things they must think about:
● Who is your audience? Surely, you have developed a buyer persona. But are you using big data to dig deeper into their problems, needs, and wants? Do you really understand their language, their sense of humor, the type of media that appeals?
● Where does your audience hang out online? Or might they prefer other types of marketing (remember: some people still read mailers and physical billboards).
● How much does your audience already know about products and services such as yours?
● What is the value of your product or service as it relates to your target audience?
● What actions do you want the audience to take? Different actions will call for different types of messages.
A marketer who thinks through these questions and answers them objectively will have the “meat” to plan the content of marketing and brand messages. The next step will be to consider the types of content to create.
Types of Marketing Content and Where and When to Use Them
Let’s begin with the basics. Content can be textual, visual, or a combination of both. Most marketers today understand the importance of less text and more visual. Research shows that consumers process visual content 60,000X faster than text and they retain those messages far better.
Given this, it is time to turn to the best types of messages to send through a variety of venues.
1. Direct Mail
While marketers tend to focus on digital branding and marketing, there is still room for direct mail, if it is done “smartly.” Fortunately, there is enough research out there now to segment audiences by many demographic factors (age, income, education levels, buying habits, etc.), that targeted direct mail can bring in good results, if the message is solid and the value clearly shown. Typically, direct mailings include such things as discounts and special sales, with a creative and compelling product or service description that engages right away. Marketers should think about the direct mail they receive themselves and pattern their own around those that they themselves actually open.
2. The Website and Blog
Of course, these two spots are where a marketer can provide lots of content and information to visitors. Great website design can be eye-catching, but it is what is found on those pages that will compel visitors to take action. Dane Collins, a content marketer for Be Graded, puts it this way: “Once a visitor finds us, we know that we only have a few minutes to pique their interest and to provide value that they want. We are continually using data to gather information on how we can do this better, and our website is very fluid in this respect.”
Marketers who intend to engage users must supply content that cannot be ignored. It must be creative and must include lots of visuals and other media and text that is short and snappy.
Explainer and how-to videos are the perfect types of content for websites and accompanying blogs. They can address user needs and show how a product or service can meet them.
When Dollar Shave Club launched, the website sported an explainer video that went viral within 24 hours. Within days, the company was on the fast track to become the multi-million-dollar business it is today. The marketing was perfect, it addressed a problem its potential customers had and provided a valuable solution, all within a hilarious script that appealed to its target audience – millennial men.
This is also the place for a marketer to tell the company’s story, stories of its team members, stories of its happy customers.
Presenting product and service descriptions is another type of content that should be presented on a website. Again, these must be well-written, creative, and short.
Another important content marketing trend is interactivity, especially augmented and virtual reality. Using this type of content will keep visitors enthralled and excited to be on your site.
Especially for small businesses, coming up with great website and blog copy is a challenge. They don’t have marketing/copywriting teams and must use outside resources. And there are plenty of freelancers and writing services with creative and experienced pros:
● Classy Essay: A writing service that has a long-term copywriting department with creatives and journalists
● Freelancer: a comprehensive website featuring a large category of creative copywriters
● Top Essay Writing: Another writing service with a long and successful history of copywriting
● Upwork.com: Another client/freelance matching service that has a solid department of copywriting pros
● Write Scout: A full-service writing agency that offers all types of copywriting to online businesses
● Studyker: A relatively new writing service that has already developed a reputation for creative copywriting
And these are just a few resources.
3. Social Media
This is an “animal” all its own. The operative word here is “social” – these are places users go to connect with others on a personal level – their friends, acquaintances, and new friends they make along the way.
When businesses “invade” social media, they, too, must be social. It’s time for content to entertain and inspire first and to promote much later after relationships and trust have been established.
Content for social media should focus on the following:
● Storytelling: Brands should tell their own stories; they should tell stories of their team members; they should tell stories of happy customers. These engage others and bring humanness to a company that other content types cannot.
● Visual Content: Marketers should think about the social media content that most attracts and engages them. It is either very short text (jokes, quotes, etc.) or it is visual – photos, drawings, memes, GIFs, videos. Long pieces of text are not engaging to an audience that is on social media to make “connections,” to have some fun, and to ask others for opinions, recommendations, etc. The more engaging visual content can be, the more it will be shared and spread.
● Driving users to a website/blog: Social media can be used to bring traffic to a website. It must be carefully done, however, so that it does not seem like a sales pitch. Discounts and special sales will work; contests will work; offering something of value (e.g., an e-book) will work. The goal is to get your audience to your site, to then provide the value and problem solutions that they may be seeking. And, in the process, get their email for more personal communication later.
Lots of marketers have soured on email. They are not getting the results they want. But research shows that this is still a major marketing tool if done right. In fact, research shows that for every $1 invested in email marketing, there is an average ROI of $42. Using email means very specific content creation and segmenting an audience based upon where members are in the buying journey. Fortunately, there is a number of amazing tools to segment, to analyze results, and to continually improve the results. Key considerations for the type of content for emails are as follows:
● Each email should only have one topic or subject. Readers will be turned off if too much is stuffed in a single email. They want to get in and get out. The one exception is a newsletter. If customers or followers have subscribed to your newsletter, they want information/education. Give them the best, not a sales pitch. Julie Armstrong, a director of email marketing for Subjecto, has this to say about email campaigns: “We have a single purpose for each email we send out. And we stick to that single purpose like glue. What we have found is that if we try to put more than one item in an email, we confuse and irritate our readers, who then are not sure what exactly we want them to do.”
● The subject line must be amazing. Inboxes are full of emails from companies trying to get business. Unless a subject line is intriguing and compelling, the email will be ignored, trashed, or worse, spammed. There are plenty of tools to create attention-grabbing subject lines.
● Whatever the subject line says will be in the email must be truthful. The fastest way to get spammed is to have a “come-on” or promise that is not then fulfilled in the email body.
There is an ocean of content out there, and it keeps growing. It’s easy to be absorbed by this ocean and pushed out to sea without notice. Marketers must find ways to stand out, to provide their audiences with exactly what they want and need, and to do it in ways that will entertain, educate, and inspire. The types of content for each venue are constantly evolving, as new technology and trends continue to develop. Marketers have a tall order to fill.