A copywriter colleague who specialises in writing copy for radio ads once told me that he had tried to get into writing web copy, but that it ‘involved too much writing’. He preferred to write short spots and not worry about ‘all that detailed stuff’. Maybe that is why it’s so hard to find a (good) web copywriter.
Funny as his comment was at the time, it is a serious insight as well. Web copy is different from what most copywriters are used to. Even direct copywriters find web copy difficult because whereas their paper-based discipline is time-tested and proven, web copy is new, complex, detailed, variable and full of technology that doesn’t always behave as expected. If the traditional copy pros find it difficult, is it any wonder that your marketing team feels overwhelmed the website copy?
A good web copywriter pays attention to detail and composition
Though I can make mortar and stack bricks, I wouldn’t trust myself to build a wall that won’t topple over. Like a mason, a professional web writer brings the tools, talent and skills of the craft to your content job. A web copywriter can write well-composed text that is detailed and captures the sound and essence of your brand voice as well as engage the reader to keep them reading (even when it’s physically difficult such as from a small computer screen).
There are the tangibles like tense, voice, and point of view that can be tricky for non-professionals. But a pro web site copywriter will also introduce the intangibles that most non-writers can’t quite emulate: variable sentence structure to keep interest, an eye (ear?) for composition that moves the reader onwards, story-telling to unite the content purpose, persuasion to help readers make buying decisions, and emotion to tie the reader into your cause or brand.
We care about web site copy
Beyond just being a good writer, a web copywriter must be able to do a lot of other tasks that my copywriting colleague found daunting:
- Write content that people can use
- Understand complex information architecture
- Utilise user experience design principles in the copy structure
- Manage a (huge) inventory of content that is constantly changing
- Write copy about the content (meta data)
- Compose keyword-driven calls-to-action
- Understand basic SEO strategies
- Map and link to related concepts within and through the content
- Understand consumer behaviour in all stages of purchase lifecycle (not just Awareness)
- Non-linear composition
Not to mention web copywriters should also have a keen love of technology, and an insight into how it all ‘fits together’; error messages, buttons, tips, customer support, whitepapers, blogs, and a myriad of other content types found online.
Looking over this again, I realise I’ve just written a job description for website copywriters, but it should give you an insight into why you need us – no one else can (or wants to) do what we do.