I remember my first serious leap into copywriting for the web; contributing to blogs and writing articles. I soon learned that I needed to get to grips with the principles of something called “search engine optimisation”. As far as I could tell there were lots of complicated technical parts to do with servers, HTML and hyperlinks. In terms of copywriting there were logical steps such as including keywords in the headline and body. This made sense and I soon learnt how to write copy that search engines and, 95% of the time, users would love.
Moving on a few years, SEO has changed and so have I. My understanding has developed and now I’m confident across a range of “inbound” marketing channels, including search. Content has always been king and it’s always been true that good copy can influence potential customers and make for a better web. A few years ago I learned that SEO was a big deal in becoming a decent web copywriter. Now it seems that strong copywriting skills are becoming a prerequisite for web marketers. From writing optimised articles, landing pages and PPC ad headlines to email subject lines and call-to-action buttons, good copy can lead to success on the web.
In the past I felt that copywriting was undervalued, that people would rather outsource cheaply than invest in good, long-lasting copy. Now, although through experience rather than surveys, I see that people are more willing to invest in skilled copywriters. People are learning the value of well-crafted web content and that can only be a good thing.
Where to begin
So, where can you begin if you want to improve your copywriting skills? I’d recommend the book Copywriting: Successful Writing for Design, Advertising and Marketing by Mark Shaw as a start.
As a reminder of the importance of words and language, I suggest this blog: http://blog.bufferapp.com/which-words-matter-the-most-when-we-talk-the-psychology-of-language
I would make the point that when writing headlines for stories, ads or social media posts, it’s always worth A/B testing a couple of options to see what works best for you audience.