Frustrated with your efforts in writing copy for your digital marketing campaigns? Confused by what digital marketing agencies in Singapore are telling you about copywriting?
In this article, I will share what I know about digital copywriting, and provide some best practices in copywriting which you can use. I will also offer some tips on how you can hire the right agency to help you with online copywriting.
Before I plunge into the different types of online copywriting and what you should take note of, let us first look at why copywriting is so important in digital marketing.
Why Copywriting Matters in Digital Marketing
You probably heard that content is king in the online world.
Sadly, I often see beautiful websites, Facebook videos, emails, and display ads here in Singapore short-changed by shoddy copywriting.
Beyond obvious blunders like spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, and grammatical boo-boos, issues such as content length, flow, omission (or overuse) of search keywords and other missteps can seriously impact the effectiveness of your digital campaigns.
While visual content helps to attract your prospect’s attention and allow you to stand out from the clutter, it is often the words you write which results in whether a customer will buy from you.
The right copy can also help to direct your readers attention on your page, push their emotional trigger buttons, and elicit the right response from them. It can also help to build brand trust, improve overall customer perception of your business, and strengthen loyalty.
What are the Different Types of Digital Copywriting
Now that you’re sold, your next question would probably be this: “What forms do online copywriting take?”
The most common types of online copy used in digital marketing are the following:
- Online Ads (Display Ads, Banner Ads, Social Media Ads, etc)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Copywriting
- Social Media Copywriting
- Website Landing Pages
- Blog or Article Writing
- Email Copywriting
Let us look at each of these in detail.
#1 Copywriting for Online Advertising
Online ads come in a wide variety of forms. They include Google search ads, display ads, banner ads, native ads, social media ads, email ads…. The list goes on and on.
With programmatic advertising platforms coming into the fore these days, demand for savvy online advertising copywriters will only increase—especially since A/B testing becomes par for the course.
Thankfully, there are some rules in traditional advertising which still apply for digital ad copy.
For a start, consider using the A.I.D.A. strategy, ie:
- Attention: Attract attention from your audience, using prominent one-liners and headlines
- Interest: Stoke their interest further by describing their pain points
- Desire: Strengthen their desire for your product or service, by further elaborating their gains
- Action: Include a strong Call To Action (CTA) that drives them to further action
If you’re writing an ad for Facebook, consider these 7 copywriting tips.
#2 SEO Copywriting Best Practices
What if you are writing a web page to attract organic search traffic from Google? To win in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) game, adopt these habits in content creation:
- Use an SEO keyword research tool such as Google Ads Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest or Keyword Tool to hunt for the right keyword opportunities.
- Consider what information your prospects are looking for, and structure your page to answer their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
- Trawl your competitor’s web pages using online spy tools like SpyFu, Ahrefs Site Explorer, or Moz Link Explorer. Observe how their top ranking pages are structured, copy their keywords and descriptions and improve on them.
- Ensure that your content is long and comprehensive enough. Longer web pages of 1,500 words or longer tend to do better on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) than others.
(More on SEO content creation strategies here.)
#3 Social Media Copywriting
Copywriting for social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube?
Well, you need to focus on building trust and relationships rather than sell products.
And let’s not forget about triggering social shares. Here, Jonah Berger’s six STEPPS is worth thinking about:
- Social Currency: Anything that makes your users look good will be shareable. Remarkable facts or content, campaigns with game mechanics, or insider secrets.
- Triggers: Seasons, phrases, or buzzwords that people associate with a term. For example, when you “have a break,” people will immediately think of the brand Kit Kat.
- Emotions: Focus on high arousal emotions like awe, amusement (ie humour), anxiety, anger or excitement.
- Practical value: Anything that has good utility or practical use (see Youtility for more info.)
- Public visibility: Also known as social proof, this could be a highly visible action (eg shaving your head bald for “Hair for Hope”) or the number of likes, comments and shares on your social media posts.
- Stories: Probably the most important component of virality if they are done well. People tend to believe and remember stories more than plain vanilla facts and figures.
#4 Website Landing Page Copywriting
What about copywriting for landing pages?
Well, the secret here is to consider how your customers think, and how you can use the right words to nudge them along a journey before they take action.
There are various techniques here to consider:
- Headlines and subheads: Make sure that your headlines and sub-headlines attract your reader’s attention and interest
- Bullet points: Keep your copy as short as possible, but make it as long as you need to get the job done
- Trust builders: Write testimonials, customer success stories, endorsements, awards and accolades to reduce risk
- Call To Action (CTA): Make sure that your CTAs are compelling and straight-forward enough
- Image copy: Yes, your images should have some text too! Keep them really short and to the point though
#5 Blog and Article Writing
This is where the plot twists because blogs and articles aren’t really examples of copywriting—they are more akin to editorial copy (think newspaper and magazine articles).
Focused on education, entertainment and engagement, blogs ought to be written in a conversational style. Use the active forms of the language, and keep your sentences and paragraphs short and easy to read.
Beyond this, consider using the inverted pyramid style of writing—start with your most important point, followed by the main body of your piece, and end with a conclusion that delivers a sharp point.
(Read my piece on writing great content to learn more about writing winning blogs.)
#6 Email Copywriting
Perhaps the greatest question when it comes to email copywriting is this: “Is email still relevant?”
And the answer is a definite “YES!”
In fact, emails are much better in delivering conversions than most other online platforms, given how close and direct they are to your users.
When writing emails, consider using a personal tone of voice. Treat your emails like writing a letter to a friend: avoid hype or hardsell, and stay far away from sensationalism.
Use your emails to build customer loyalty and a sense of community. Do so by providing useful content to your email newsletter subscribers, peppered with occasional offers and deals.
Here are some of the common types of emails you can write:
- Brand Storytelling: These help to introduce what your company does, how your brand works, and why it matters
- Newsletters: These go out to your subscribers and help to inform them of what’s happening in your firm. You can also use them to deliver regular valuable content.
- Sales Offers: These are emails that help to convert your subscribers (or customers) to buyers
- Educational: These are emails that can teach your subscribers how to use your product or service
Choosing the Right Digital Copywriting Agency in Singapore
As you’d imagine, online copywriting isn’t for the faint-hearted. Take it from me, I’ve spent literally decades honing my craft and I’m still learning each and every day.
If you wish to consider outsourcing your digital copywriting needs to an agency here in Singapore, you’ll need to consider the following checklist:
- Portfolio: Look at the agency’s portfolio of clients, and see if their profile matches yours
- Track Record: Ask for your agency’s track record and past successes. Match them against your needs (eg SEO copywriting or social media copywriting)
- Knowledge of Data Analytics: Work with an online agency that doesn’t just know how to string the right words together, but how to measure success.
- Match Your Brand Voice: Can the agency craft content in a manner that can match your own company’s brand voice?
- B2B vs B2C Content: As I’ve previously written, B2B digital marketing isn’t quite the same as B2C. Check if your agency is able to match your business’s unique needs.
- Knowledge of Art and Algorithms: You’ll be surprised to know that not all copywriters can write well. With online audiences growing increasingly sophisticated (and educated), it makes sense to engage digital copywriting experts who knows how to write for both humans and bots.
- Cultural Nuance: This is so elementary yet so critical in ensuring the success of your campaigns. Hiring an offshore agency that uses non-local copywriters may sometimes result in strangely crafted phrases that don’t make sense.
- Don’t Compromise on Quality: Yes, good quality content may not come from the lowest priced agency. However, the damage you’ll suffer from a cheap content mill that churns out heavily plagiarised, badly crafted and irrelevant content will be more costly over the long-term.
Digital copywriting is both an art and a science.
The art part lies in knowing how to creatively string together words, sentences and paragraphs to capture attention, convict the heart, and convince the mind of your audiences.
The science part lies in understanding how online algorithms for search and social media works.
Now that you’ve learned the basics of digital copywriting, your next step is to put these best practices into action.
PS—Do take time to read my other articles on Content Marketing to learn more about the best practices in online copywriting.