ABCs of Copywriting: Digital Copy
You might be tempted to save money by reusing print copy on your digital projects. My professional advice to you: don’t even go there. Yes, there might be some usable gems in your print brochures and whitepapers—highlight them and see if you can work them in on digital projects. But don’t copy and paste blindly and think your job is done. There’s a lot still left to consider for your digital media. Optimize it for use online.
Search Engine Optimization
Writing for print means writing for a human audience exclusively. Writing digital copy means writing for humans and search engines. Your priority should always be to write copy that’s engaging to humans, but you need to spell things out for search engines so that those same humans can find your content on the web. How does this look in practice?
- The respectful use of keywords and phrases
- The refusal to trap words in images where the text can’t be indexed
- The ability to write short, compelling content descriptions
Sometimes businesses put print collateral on the web. PDFs of brochures and white papers are searchable; therefore, you’ll want to treat those items as print and digital collateral.
F- Layout Reading Patterns
Writing digital copy requires knowledge of how humans read information on the web. Did you know readers—especially first-time visitors—skip most of your copy? Read the Nielsen Norman Group’s “F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Web Content” to learn why and how your copy can accommodate readers who don’t have much time to read.
With no printed materials to pay for, A/B Testing becomes a lot less expensive to implement on digital copy. Be prepared to test multiple treatments of your call to action to find which ones result in more conversions. For an example, check out this article from Unbounce.
With digital copy, there’s always the chance your company will go viral. The problem is, that’s not always a good thing for your business. Remember Chick-Fil-A’s botched handling of comments on social media? Or AT&Ts 9/11 product placement tweet? To design and write social media copy without repulsing customers might require the skills of a copywriting pro. Just sayin’. The moral of the story here is to remember to remember that every piece of writing needs to be tailored to a specific audience for a specific purpose. A one-size-fits-all approach is never the way to go.
Photo Credit: ilco