Ever since Mark Zuckerberg decided to evolve his hot or not website into a student directory, social media has shifted the way we perceive content. The humble word has been seemingly eclipsed by an ever growing array of rich media formats, from image filters and 10 second video clips to gifs and audiograms, while lazy grammar and abbreviations have become normalised as “text speak”.
That’s assuming we even bother to use letters and there isn’t an emoji to say it all for us.
With this apparent battering of the written word, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it just didn’t matter any more.
And you’d be wrong.
Very fucking wrong.
Here are three reasons why copy writing continues to be the absolute bedrock of all marketing:
It determines your entire brand personality – the language you choose, the tone you adopt, the detail you dig into or avoid – these words and ideas, whatever format they end up in, are the beginning, middle and end of your brand personality. Even if you decide that your brand you should keep things lightweight and informal, perhaps even, heaven forbid, to the point that you substitute real words for deliberate miss-spellings and abbreviations – it’s still your selection of these words that will determine who you are and how you’re seen.
It transcends channels and formats – if you watch a powerful video that drives you to make a purchase, that didn’t happen by accident. Somebody wrote a script. And if someone clicks through to your stunning image gallery, it’s because they saw a headline or call to action that compelled them. There is not a single channel whose activity is not, some some level, shaped by words.
Most importantly, if social media has taught us one thing it’s that stories are our oxygen. Whether they spark intrigue, fear, sadness, joy or inspiration, stories and the emotion they elicit are what drive action. And what are stories – they are words.
Sometimes clients ask me what skill they should be hiring as they establish their marketing function internally. The answer is always so simple.
A world class copy writer.
Don’t worry if they know your market or whether or not they’re comfortable with wordpress, twitter ads or SEO. Just find someone breathtakingly good with words, and every piece of content on every channel will be transformed.
See you next time,