Content is king. Think about it, would you invest your time browsing through a website that fails to inspire, engage and give solutions to your wants and needs?
Attractive content answers users’ needs and wants.
What does this mean? The role a digital copywriter plays in a successful content marketing strategy has never been more important.
Digital copywriting has evolved exponentially over the last few years, shaped by Google algorithm updates. Launched in 2011, Google’s Panda update was the search engine’s first attempt to penalise websites riddled with duplicate, low-quality content. That was five years ago.
So, what do you need to know about the shape of digital copywriting today and tomorrow?
Write for People & Robots
Keyword stuffing has long been the bane of digital copywriters. A necessary evil to achieve a higher search engine ranking.
In years gone by, Google recommended that effective online content keyword densities be anywhere between 2-5%. That percentage doesn’t sound too high, but it had a drastic impact on readability, especially copy with geographically-specific long tail keywords, as demonstrated below:
‘We are the best dog groomers in Manchester. Our dog groomers in Manchester offers that extra care and attention for a fraction of the cost of other dog groomers in Manchester.’
Annoying, right? Well, today Google agrees and ranks unique content. Keywords and variations still have their place, especially in local searches, but the days of keyword saturation are gone.
However, long tail keywords are more relevant than ever. Why? There’s less competition for them. Choosing popular keywords means that you could be competing against every Tom, Dick and Harry in your sector. Be clever, be specific. The amount of traffic to your site may decrease, but those visiting are much more targeted and will know what they want – and more likely to buy.
What About Proximity?
By using naturally occurring keywords strategically placed in the body of the content will boost content search engine and browser relevance. Google and other search engines use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to match search results to the intentions of browsers searching for content.
What does this mean? Digital copywriters must be savvy enough to weave keywords into the body of the content as naturally as possible. Google rewards keyword proximity and variations in their indexing.
The Longer, The Better
A typical blog on HubSpot clocks in at around a thousand words. Gone are the days when a blog-length of around 300 words would do the trick. Users have grown wise to regurgitated, short content. They’ve seen it all before. And won’t read it.
Moreover, there’s only so much that a copywriter can communicate with a restrictive article length - often only succeeding in whetting the appetite of browsers rather than giving them a reason to click through the whole site.
This is more accurately demonstrated when considering niche or complicated topics, services or services. Think about it, would 300 words be sufficient when writing about an internal combustion engine, stem cell research, or how to make ourselves happy?
In that context, 300 words sounds ludicrous.
Digital copy has evolved to become lengthier. For anyone thinking that blogs of 1000 words are too long, consider this: if the content adds value, consumers will want to finish reading.
If that’s not enough to convince you, remember, that browsers have grown tired of reading stale content. Blogs and articles of the same length, same structure, same points – with only minor deviations, often a few adjectives changed here and there are an instant turn-off. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. The content has grown stale. Google loves UNIQUE content. That’s the bottom line.
The Marriage of Copy and Social Media
Long considered two different streams of digital marketing, copy and SMM (Social Media Marketing) will go hand in hand as part of any effective digital marketing campaign that is going to offer tangible ROIs as we move deep into 2018.
Why? The sheer volume of people connecting over social media. Recent statistics have suggested that Facebook adds 500,000 new users every single day. That’s 6 profiles every second, each with access to Facebook’s Instant Articles.
Of those companies with more than 100 employees, 66% use Twitter as a vital part of their marketing strategy. It’s estimated that 500 million tweets are sent every day. That’s 6000 every second.
LinkedIn has 450 million members globally, with 100 million people using the site daily. Recruiters use the website as a tool for identifying the right candidates for their vacancies, reaching out to them.
What Does This Mean?
Professional relationships online are becoming increasingly social. A good digital copywriter knows this, and can tailor their writing accordingly.
But it’s more than the content itself. It’s about where, why and how businesses share their content. Sharing content gives your business links and traffic. Influence is an important KPI in content marketing. If people like what you say, they will tell people.
There are no few better ways to build brand authority, even a relevant and on-topic tweet, posted at just the right time can get re-tweeted an innumerable amount of times, building brand awareness and generating leads.
Are You Not Entertained?
Gone are the days of static blogs. Visual references, video content and links all make up the experience that users crave. When online we want to be engaged and entertained – quickly.
Websites and blogs are becoming intelligent, displaying content specific to users preferences. Download content from a site and straight away the site knows what you like and will continue to promote the content that will engage with you.
Recent statistics state that 70% of digital marketing professionals say that interactive content is effective in converting website visits into sales. 36% agree that static content has the same effect.
Where this may prove to be counter-intuitive to a copywriter’s natural instincts, a smart writer knows how to point their audience in the direction of content that provides them with the most value.
5 Skills of a Top-Class Copywriter
If you're looking for a copywriter, or want to improve your skills in 2018, here are a few tips to excel.
1. Method acting
The best digital copywriters aren't self-indulgent. They write as the person reading the content. Think about an actor in a play, they couldn't act the part so well if they turned up as themselves. They have to get into the mindset of the character, immerse yourself in their world and you'll write better content.
2. An inquisitive nature - Be a child!
Thinking like a child can help you develop a curious outlook. Don't be dismissive of subjects, embrace them and throw yourself into writing about them. Learn from the experts, they'll give you plenty to talk about!
3. Research skills
Whether you're an established writer or starting out in the trade, you'll have studied somewhere. Put those researching skills to use. The internet is a great place to start, Google has an answer to every question! But don't be afraid to use lateral thinking, you could use interviews, or print media for example.
4. How to write for robots
Let's face it, robots are taking over the world. We use technology every day of our lives and it isn't going to disappear anytime soon. So embrace it. Write for search engines, write for mobiles, write for images, write for writing analysis tools! Copywriters have so much to think about now, they aren't only digital copywriters. They're writing strategists, considering every detail in a meticulous process.
5. Last but not least...How to write!
You can't be a fantastic writer without knowing how to write. That's a FACT. Consider what language your target reader uses, write in their language. Write short simple sentences with one or two ideas. Who wants to read a 4 line sentence split with 7 commas and 5 separate ideas? Not us.You don't have to write like a poet to draw people's interest. Keep it sharp and punchy. But most of all, have fun! Nobody wants to read boring text.
The bottom line is, if you're not creating content that identifies your ideal customers' questions, wants and needs, then you're falling behind in modern day marketing.
For years we have heard the saying 'Content is King', well let me tell you now, content is NOT king, 'Content is God'. As the world continues to get smaller, individuals are becoming more informed and more specific for the content they are searching for. If you're not planning or don't have a content strategy in place, you need to realise you're going to fall behind in online marketing.