• Robin Kastengren

The Importance of Good Copywriting

Among writers and content creators, there’s a conversation to be had as to whether copywriting and content writing are the same thing. Some will say that copywriters are for advertising and branding, that the intent of copywriting is to pitch a company’s products and services. In contrast, content writing is informing, educating, and entertaining an audience while representing the brand’s voice.

I don’t know about you, but those sound like a bunch of technicalities to me. Professional writers understand the difference between ad copy and a blog, product packaging and a social media post. We know that each of those products has a different purpose and, therefore, will require a slightly different approach.

If you’re working for a big agency, maybe it makes a difference who is doing the Don Drapering and who is churning out blogs. For the rest of us, finding a writer who knows your needs, understands your voice, and believes in your company’s purpose is more than enough to get the copy that you need.

You Need Good Writing

Regardless of what you’re doing with the words you’re buying, they have to be good words! Whether it’s ten words on an ad, 800 words in a blog, or 10,000 words in a white paper, the quality of the writing is critical in every scenario.

In the very visual landscape of today’s internet, it can seem like the photos and graphics you create are far more important than the words that accompany them. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While good visuals will catch someone’s attention or help them understand complex information, true connection and understanding happen with deeper communication, and on the internet, that means writing.

Most of us write a lot and do it all day long. From texts to emails to social media, we’re all busily typing away many hours of the day. The thing is, most of us are spending all that time communicating with people who already know us, or we’re putting on our professional hats and discussing details that are relevant to our jobs.

Very few of us are talking to strangers all day, and an even smaller chunk is trying to communicate with huge numbers of strangers all at once.

Language and Your Brand

Spend just a few minutes rifling through the comments on Facebook or a news organization’s website and you’ll find plenty of examples of terrible writing along with a full complement of people either criticizing or ridiculing it. The last thing you want your brand to be known for is awful writing. Instead, the writing itself should almost be invisible as readers engage with what you’re trying to communicate.

The words you choose will also make a difference as you want to stay on the same level as your target readers. This goes far beyond education levels and goes deep into what kind of experience your target audience has with your products and services. If you’re reaching out to like-minded professionals, you need to sound like “one of the group.” If your audience needs your help because you provide services that are out of reach for them (think: tax accountants, tech support, auto repair, etc.), then you need to speak using the language of regular people using words that anyone would understand.

Tone is also a major player when it comes to writing for the internet as it’s one of the easiest things to misunderstand. Your friends and family may recognize your jokes or sarcasm, but on the web, you may be mistaken for being serious and cause harm to your reputation. You also have to give the feeling of being friendly and approachable in most situations, and that’s tricky to do when most of us only have experience either writing term papers for college (and maybe that was decades ago…) or personal messages.

Some of Those Technicalities Matter. A Lot.

Even for those who have a natural gift for writing, there are a host of technicalities that are critical to the success of your content. Understanding those details and having the expertise to work in necessary components without interrupting the reader’s experience requires skill and experience, along with a bit of finesse.

For example, blogs and articles that are meant to help boost your SEO need to incorporate keywords and phrases--and their variations--several times and in a few specific locations in order to optimize the content for search. My fellow content writers and I are all rejoicing at Google’s efforts at perfecting semantic search as it means we have a bit of leniency when trying to work key phrases like “best dentist Kankakee” four times into a 500-word document without making it look obvious!

Speaking of semantic search, Google seems to change the rules every day. What’s good, what’s bad, what’s critical, what’s optional, the technical details that make SEO copywriting work have changed drastically over the last several years. It helps to have someone on your team who reads those daily updates from Google.

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