Author: Kerttu Kongas
Copywriting was a very prestigious profession in the 1950s. It echoes back to Don Draper’s world from the Mad Men series – the war had recently ended and there was a euphoria associated with new opportunities and rising income levels. Cigarettes were a symbol of being cool and glamorous, and buying all sorts of things became a new and captivating hobby for many people. The world of advertising was in its heyday.
Today, content creators tend to remain on the lower levels of the food chain. However, admittedly, the situation is slowly changing. Being a creative writer myself, I have had a first-hand view of the continuous struggle over the importance of content creation. Is it really important? Is it necessary? The short answer would be yes. Your business needs it. Your business would not survive without it.
Speck of light at the end of the tunnel
As the nature and consumption of information have changed, we have started to demand it here and now. We want information to be easily accessible, honest, specific and relevant.
What can we expect from the future? I have good news regarding that. Content creators will again become prestigious players, because Google today only rates valuable and high-quality content. An excellent writer is an expert who creates art. Unlike many other professions, the job of a creative writer is not at risk of being automated.
We can already see the trend that content (especially in the form of telling stories) is becoming increasingly important. In fact, telling stories is an essential element of content marketing, which is one of the main deliverables of text creation. The same applies to all website and campaign texts that tell the story of your company.
Let’s talk about definitions. The term copy originates from the early part of the previous century when newspaper advertising texts were manually copied for the printing press. Things have developed since then and, today, the term refers to the art of describing things in a way that makes consumers want to have the goods or services that are depicted via text. They should want them strongly enough to buy them. This is a definition by copywriter Clare Barry. Her musings are a fun and worthy read.
In other words: good copy convinces people to take tangible steps. It nudges them in the right direction. The direction that you want them to go. The choice of words can contribute to the success of your business, or undermine it.
Design + text = success
The brand is often the first point of contact between a company (or product) and its target group. While design is vital, it is only half of the equation. Design kindles the initial interest and establishes a basic image in consumers’ heads, creating a good sense of familiarity and safety every time they encounter the brand.
Text, however, helps to maintain the interest and guides visitors towards a specific action. It can be making a purchase, entering contact details, or downloading an e-book. However, without relevant content or instructions for further action, visitors are likely to leave the website shortly after they arrive. And most of them will not return, or even worse – they go to a competitor.
Consequently, high-quality copy is an invaluable business investment. The right words and design together are a powerful tandem. Ideas, concepts, words and visuals – you know, the whole shebang, brand stuff. We (writers) make your products and services tell the right story to the right people. We can describe complex things with simple words and provide ordinary items with a multi-layered and meaningful role. Our job is to create interest where none may exist.
What I want to say is that a good copywriter understands the story of your company and is able to communicate it in an authentic and effective manner. It makes visitors feel that the particular product is exactly what they need.
It is a dialogue, a conversation with the target group of the company. It is an exchange with partners and shareholders. The focal point of the text should not be the product, but the result. Ask yourself: What will clients gain by using this product? How will it improve their lives? People are selfish creatures who are primarily interested in their own benefit. They do not care about cold facts or dull product information. They are moved by experiences and emotions. They are moved by stories well told.
Trust is the keyword
Trust is the main keyword when it comes to content and content creation. Similarly, trustworthiness is a crucial attribute of any enterprise. It is immediately reduced by spelling mistakes and typos, or by a text that is not fluent or relevant. Words are the magic that persuades visitors to make an actual purchase or to submit a query. It is not the product itself or the design, and certainly not social media hype. It is the substance that matters, not appearance.
In the world of copy, trust is often undermined by incompetent grammar, inappropriate style and irrelevant content (for the target group). Let’s be honest, how can a company be expected to deliver high-quality goods if they cannot spell and their text is unintelligible and inapt?
Whereas rightly targeted, accurately written and relevant copy immediately captures the attention, attaches itself like a sticker, answers pertinent questions and solves the main problems of visitors.
As a process, it is almost like seduction. The time of aggressive approach tactic has passed. The key is to offer reliable and high-quality content that visitors can find themselves, based on their needs, and that does not impose any obligations.
The context of the growing importance of content creation
In addition to trust and overall brand image, there are technical reasons for this development. Google only wants high-quality content, not a bunch of keywords and backlinks (as was the case a few years ago). Consequently, you no longer need only a SEO expert as your best friend but certainly also a copywriter.
I will elaborate a little on the context of this statement. The latest major change in the world of Google algorithms occurred in 2011 when the web giant launched its Panda algorithm, followed by the Penguin algorithm a year later. Penguin and Panda were two of the most ground-breaking – one could almost say, revolutionary – algorithm changes that completely transformed the landscape of online marketing.
Panda’s job is to identify high-quality content that is likely to be relevant for website visitors. As a result of this great effort, the ‘noise’ that was created by marketing companies and content farms before the arrival of Panda and Penguin is pushed further down in search results. Penguin, in turn, focuses on backlink generation environments, crawling across them like moral police to assess the value of links and, thereby, the quality of content.
In conclusion, Google today prioritises the ability of websites (content) to keep their visitors (target group) on the site and interact with it. The keyword is user-friendliness, also known as UX design.
The algorithms rate the quality of a website as high when visitors use it to buy something, send queries or move around in different sections of the site. A UX designer together with a crafty wordsmith can be of great assistance in this regard.
Do you have any questions, suggestions or cool ideas? Do not hesitate to contact us!