Google the phrase “Is copywriting dead” and you will retrieve almost million results giving a clear indication that the question is taking the digitally-led world by storm.
Gone are those pre-digital days of the 1980s when there is no smartphone, no internet, and no technology. Those days are lost forever and we have moved on towards the digital era which continues to be the new frontier and constantly dominating the industry. Today, it has become a common destination where the best and worst campaigns are found. Copywriters know this.
The state of traditional copywriting is in turmoil, for sure and it needs a serious consideration as the content marketing has brought new trends into the advertising and digital spaces. In today’s age of competition, the volume of copy for modern content campaigns can’t rely wholeheartedly on copywriters. Brands are getting inclined towards Content Marketing, which is a vague discipline including writing blogs, articles, videos, interviews, briefs, social media, in addition to copywriting.
Traditional Copywriting is dead
Or at least it is slowly getting over according to Tony Brignull in Madmen v Mavens, a short documentary exploring the role of copywriting. Watch this documentary, which was a part of The campaign for great British copywriting, launched by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). In the video, you can see copywriting celebrities – like Tony Brignull, John Salmon and Barbara Noakes – and emerging talent, discussing how traditional copywriting aspects has evolved over the past few decades, how it is being shaped by changing media, and what the future holds.
The nine-minute film is divided into two groups – the “industry veterans” who bemoan the state of copywriting today and full of disdain for the changing landscape of advertising, whereas the “youngish guns” proclaimed: “Copywriting is dead” and curiously inarticulate. Truthfully, the copywriting is not be dead, but the nature of copywriting game has become entirely different than 20 years ago. In today’s era of social and digital marketing when audiences are born and die every single minute, 2018 is going to be an adapt-or-die year for the copywriters. It’s now on their shoulders to implement the winning “rock-the-market” copywriting strategies, which, in many cases, will help them to create engaging content and meaningful experiences in the digital space.
As the global business environment is transforming at a rapid speed with an emphasis towards more on a freshly brewed (yet informative) content, the old-school copywriting is not going to work online anymore. Copywriters have to take on the new skills imperative to move into roles with improved capabilities to compete in a constantly evolving dynamic environment. And to achieve sustainable competitive advantage in the dynamic environment of today, professionals are expected to have skills to be disruptive, innovative and agile, in order to respond the volatile digital marketing trends.
Embrace the change
Just look around, we are living in an age where the technology is winning over the human and the attention of audience spans is being measured in seconds rather than minutes. A simple “online SEO-optimised copy” is not enough to tell a brand story in a deliberate way, especially when readers have access to 140 characters tweets, visual appealing infographics, stimulating memes, Facebook videos and new platforms that someone can devour in seconds and swim into an ocean of information.
“As the amount of online content available to us is growing exponentially, Internet users’ attention span decreases. People no longer reading the full stories, they just scan. And this brings an acute requirement for copywriters to follow “a strategic approach” to sail the boat in an ocean of information and make sure their online copies not drowning in a deluge of information.”
The contemporary copywriters have to ditch those many age-old copywriting “rules” and those hard-selling broadcast-style copies because they’re no longer making any sense. They have to be proactive participants and need to embrace the new changes that are on the horizon. Getting stubborn with “I’ll just try to be convincing” approach towards copywriting simply means you’re setting yourself (as a professional) up for an absolute failure. To produce an engaging online copy, copywriters are expected to do a number of important things including: