Like any good digital enthusiast, business or agency, you’ll already know that ‘Content is King’ – after all, we’re told it regularly enough and are aware of how effective fresh, quality content can be for Google. Having great copy means having great copywriters, but have those finely-tuned copywriting skills that were once revered by marketers all but disappeared in the digital age – or are we seeing a new breed of content writer emerge?
Well-used and well-loved, the car advert in print is still a good analogy for the development of the copywriter. Once upon a time these adverts were all about the delicate, intricate writing: the explanation of how this chassis, rather than that one, would showcase your knowledge and aesthetic understanding of motoring to the rest of the world. As the ability to create and print high quality visuals developed, so too did the need to hone the copy further, concentrating the quality down into a mere couple of lines – or words. Instead of an image supporting text, text began to support the image.
This shift to a concentrated ‘essence’ of high quality copy in print advertising is finding a parallel shift in the online space, where quality content is being deemed more powerful than previous ‘high-volume-negotiable-quality’ content. Google’s recent updates that give preferential treatment to freshness and quality are well-known, while the importance of seductive, targeted content to social media can’t be underestimated: in a world where everyone is talking, saying the right thing at the right time has never been more important. Content – whether visual, verbal or aural – underlines every facet of a brand: from SEO to social media to PR and even those 35 character lines in a PPC ad. It is the fuel that powers a brand’s journey across the entire digital space.
But having a great content strategy isn’t enough. In order to create content that is going to sustain your brand across all platforms, targeting all audiences, and fulfilling all your brand objectives, you need content creators who will be drivers: people who can control, manoeuvre and put the pedal to the floor when it comes to strategy, as well as get stuck in with a spanner when something doesn’t work.
The craft of copywriting isn’t dead – now, more than ever, that precision tooling of words is essential to any digital content strategy. Yet having copywriters isn’t enough. Your content provider has got to be able to work with words in a way that complements content in all its multi-faceted digital forms of image, video, and audio, and works with 35, 140 or limitless character counts. Just as print advertising copywriters began to distil their skills into fewer and fewer words that supported an image, so now digital content writers need to be able to concentrate their skills into drops of ‘brand fuel’, each coloured with a different hue for the multiplicity of available online platforms.
The necessity of a robust, tailored and – above all – magnificent content strategy to SEO is widely recognised and, for the most part, implemented. But in its implementation, as well as in the production of a content strategy that works for every facet of a brand’s digital presence, we need to recognise the necessity of employing and developing digital content creators who are able to do this. Finely-tuned copywriting skills are still essential, but there are content providers who can do so much more – and all with a sound knowledge of SEO, social media and the skills gleaned from being part of a creative team. This new breed of a hands-on content team will be an essential part of a successful brand’s digital engine in the future of search marketing. The question is – have you got them in the driving seat?
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