Millennials will make up roughly 35% of the global workforce in 2020 and right now many are optimistic about their career prospects – two-thirds to be exact.1 Because of the collective push for well-curated and highly targeted content in both B2B and B2C markets, skillful young writers have ample opportunity to break into the workforce through the art of copywriting. And today, it really is an art form.
Professional copywriters have quickly recognized the need to adapt their writing style and content delivery methods to satisfy peers and charm decision makers. The overcrowded Internet has changed the way consumers find and digest information, with most users seeking instant answers and dodging the growing presence of brands on their favorite websites and social media platforms.
Copywriters today are tasked with producing fodder for a machine that’s hard to please: search engines. They must create content worthy of page one that at the same time breaks down the barriers between companies and their audiences. What is a modern copywriter to do? To meet these demands, copywriters must rewrite and continually revise their content strategy.
Standing Out with SEO and Style
Is copywriting creative or calculated? If you want eyes on your content, it has to be both. To rank on the search engine results page (SERP), you’ll have to factor in search engine optimization (SEO) when brainstorming topics and planning your piece. Search engine optimizers say the value of written content is judged by its substance which includes length, keyword usage, organization and unfortunately, even some unknown criteria that influence SERP rankings.
The challenge? You can’t only write for an algorithm and if you’re taking SEO into consideration when crafting content online, your competitors are too. The copy must follow machine-dictated rules and still be genuine, useful and unique. All of these factors combine to push your writing higher up on search engines like Google, where users make 2.3 million searches per second and select from 130 trillion indexed pages.
The democratization of information online has changed the goal of traditional copywriting, redefining best practices and adding a new level of unpredictability to the actions of all audiences. However, there are a few things that copywriters can count on.
Today’s readers want:
- Clean and concise copy that’s free of typos and avoids the use of slang
- Easy-to-scan articles with shorter paragraphs, descriptive headings, and bolded key terms
- Digestible pieces that break down complex subject matter and industry jargon
- Visual content to support copy including shareable photos, videos, charts, and infographics
- Relatable blogs and social posts that blend the professional and the casual
- Articles hosted on fast-loading websites that link to social media profiles for easy sharing
- Blog posts and other forms of content that are fully optimized for mobile viewing
User Expectations and The New Niche
Keeping people engaged is a difficult endeavor made all the more challenging when writers can’t rely on a common set of user behaviors and preferences to guide content. Content curation tries to confront this uncertainty by gathering and offering only the best resources for a niche audience to consume. Content marketing stakes out similar territory, operating on the belief that inbound marketing will generate interested and qualified leads with continued effort.
New copywriters should put these techniques into practice by testing and refreshing their tactics to capture increasingly elusive audiences. Brands have learned that niche marketing is not a tactic reserved for bloggers; in B2B industries, embracing your market and individualizing your content can help grow a smaller but more ideal audience of buyers who crave consistency.
Guide your writing around the new niche – a narrowed and fully explored focus that taps into influencer marketing and engages subject-matter experts (SMEs) to take content to the next level.
Analyzing Content and Proving ROI
Now that many recognize the power of content in shaping brand personality and impacting audiences, business leaders have placed content under a microscope. Content marketers and copywriters are asked to prove the value of campaigns, but reporting on content initiatives is difficult when writing still stands in the context of a highly competitive space.
Today’s copywriters can present a number of data points to take stock of their writing efforts, set goals and exhibit ROI.
Writers should measure content marketing, SEO and other goals with stats such as:
- Number of landing pages, backlinks and page views
- Landing page conversions, CTA button clicks, and confirmation page views
- Referral traffic, bounce rate and time on site for specific pages such as blog posts
- Marketing and sales qualified leads delivered (MQLs and SQLs) and cost per lead
- Number of blog and newsletter subscribers and qualitative data such as comments
- Email open rates, click-through rates, and response rates
- Social media metrics such as likes, follows, shares and impressions
The Copywriter’s Future
Writing in advertising, marketing and media will always be in demand, but it takes a forward-thinking individual to keep up with the needs of consumers and the requirements of new technology. Copywriters, both new and established, should actively seek information on how to improve their writing across all channels by following industry blogs and news outlets, listening to thought leaders and field experts and obtaining new certifications.
Writers should never hesitate to learn about other subjects that will enhance their skills, such as digital marketing and project management. With an open mind and continued education in place, copywriters are guaranteed to succeed; if you write what you know, you’ll be destined to grow.
About the Author
Alyssa Dannaker, Content Marketing Associate at Sagefrog Marketing Group. Alyssa is a copywriter and content marketer with experience in public relations and project management. Sagefrog is a top rated B2B marketing agency with specialties in healthcare, technology, and business services. Visit Sagefrog.com for more information and connect with Alyssa on LinkedIn and Twitter.