The Future of Copywriting by Eric MoellerNovember 30, 2014
There are a number of broad global business trends that have had an impact on copywriting and will continue to do so in the future. These trends include globalisation, customer centric marketing and technological innovations.
Copywriters who want to thrive in the future need to understand and anticipate these trends.
They need to make decisions now about how best to avoid the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities presented by these changes.
1 Software will both help and hurt copywriting
Whilst split testing has always been available to direct marketers, new software tools are making it faster and easier to conduct split testing online. With incredible speed1, entrepreneurs and copywriters can create offers and A/B test different options to see which pulls the best.
Technology will increasingly allow us to test every element of our copy online, and manage the analysis of a growing number of variants. It will also offer predictive suggestions to help copywriters improve results.
Software has already been created to help entrepreneurs autogenerate headlines2 . The creation of this type of software shifts headline writing from art to science, which could lead to homogeneous headlines and their reduced effectiveness. With more entrepreneurs taking an interest in sales copywriting, we can expect to see more automated tools. For example, software that can write effective calls to action, or analyse copy for the use of persuasive words and phrases. Tools such as these may reduce the amount of bad copy, which is produced, but they will lack the creativity needed to produce great copy.
2 The use of content marketing will continue to expand
Content marketing will be used more, due to the lowering costs to produce content (written, audio and video), and as more organisations realise the value of sharing it. Organisations will leverage content marketing as a tool to build rapport and trust with customers and prospects, and in an attempt to establish competitive differentiation. The large volume of content being created is making it more challenging to get the attention of customers, and this will only get worse. Valuable content will be consumed and shared, bad content will be irrelevant.
From a demographic perspective, having more millennial generation workers in senior marketing and leadership roles will also shift the focus of marketing. As the first generation of digital natives, millennials are more accustomed to creating digital content (such as video) than their predecessors, which will result in a higher emphasis on content marketing.
3 Globalisation will further reduce the quality of copywriting
With more organisations wanting to reduce costs, copywriting work will increasingly be outsourced. The explosive growth of websites that facilitate outsourcing3 has been a catalyst for copywriting work being sent offshore. Content created offshore (where the copywriter’s first language is often not English) tends to not be as good as content written by native English speakers.
The growth in outsourcing copywriting to offshore resources has put downward pressure on domestic rates for copy creation. This is due to the large (and growing) supply of available copywriters, and the lower going rates for offshore copywriters.
Globalisation will continue to put downward pressure on prices for content creation, however the impact will be on lower value content. There will always be strong demand for high quality, high value sales copy, and offshore resources will not be successful competing in this market segment for the foreseeable future.
4 Copywriting will be learned and used by more people
Over the past century there has been a shift in who uses copywriting techniques. In the past, sales copywriting knowledge was relegated to advertising agencies and direct response marketers. We have now reached a point where all competent marketers and entrepreneurs have wisely discovered the power of sales copywriting and are employing these tactics to their full advantage.
Sales copywriting has become a must-have skillset for the best marketers to cut through communication clutter. Similarly for entrepreneurs, the strength of their sales copywriting can determine the life or death of their startup.
With the explosion of small online businesses, having standout copy is critical to their differentiation. Blogs, social media and podcasts have made it easier to share information and teach copywriting best practices to a growing audience who are eager to learn.
5 Businesses will use social media more strategically
Social media presents an incredible opportunity for companies to understand their customer’s likes and dislikes, and to have a direct line of communication with them. As such, social media is certainly here to stay, and will become an increasingly strategic tool for companies. More businesses will realise they need to use copywriting techniques to improve the effectiveness of their social media initiatives. They will focus on writing content that speaks to their audiences’ self-interest (not their own).
Final thoughts on how to succeed in the future
Despite all of these changes that will affect copywriting in the future, one thing remains certain. The more those copywriters can adapt to change, and think like entrepreneurs, the better they will be positioned to succeed.
Globalisation is not something to be feared, but instead accepted and used as a source of motivation to provide higher value sales copy. New technologies should be experimented with to discover what is effective and what lacks value. Technologies should be seen as tools, not as a replacement for skill.
And finally, customer centric marketing should be viewed as a positive reminder to focus on writing sales copy which addresses a customer’s problems, needs, wants and desires. This has been, and always will be, the key to writing successful copy.
1 Products like LeadPages and Unbounce enable different landing pages to be created in order to test the responsiveness of different sales copy, layouts, etc.
2 For example KingSumo Headlines, a WordPress plugin made by Appsumo.
3 Elance, Odesk and Fiverr are a few examples.
Visit Eric’s Copy Dojo for more tips on effective copywriting.