I wrote direct mail. That was my thing. I have never written a radio spot. I have never written a TV commercial.
Back then, it was fine to focus on a single copywriting skill, because there was no connection between what I wrote for a client as a direct response writer, and what their agency copywriter wrote for TV.
Sure, we all worked to the same brief, keeping within the same campaign idea.
But the key point to understand is that the quality of my direct mail piece didn’t depend on my knowing anything about writing for TV, radio or any other medium. Why? Because each medium was separate from the other.
All that changed with the arrival of the web.
Online, everything is connected. (Think hyperlink.) Every page on a website is connected to other pages. Emails and e-newsletters are linked to site pages. Site pages are linked to social media sites. Social media tweets, updates and posts are linked back to websites.
This is a game changer for copywriters.
As online copywriters we can no longer do our best work in one area without at least a clear understanding of the bigger picture, and how everything is connected.
For example, if I were asked to write an online sales page for a company, I would do well to think about more than just the page itself. I would certainly ask about how the company planned to drive traffic to this page.
Just through internal links on the site itself? Or by email? Or through PPC ads? Or through social media? Or through all of these channels, and maybe more?
To put it another way, to write a great sales page I need to know my audience. And part of the challenge of knowing my audience is to understand where they are coming from.
Are these warm and trusting prospects from an in-house email list? Are they fans coming in through social media? Are they complete strangers who have come in through PPC ads? And so on.
Once I ask my client these questions we are going to get into a conversation about email, social media and PPC.
Or, just as likely, the conversation will be initiated by the client as part of the briefing.
It’s at this point that my client will learn whether I can hold an intelligent conversation not only about sales pages, but also about email marketing, social media and PPC.
If I can’t, he or she will experience a moment of disappointment, and the perception of my value in his or her mind will fall.
If I can, the opposite occurs. The perception of my value rises. Suddenly I’m not just a copywriter for hire, but am also acting like a consultant, exploring the larger marketing picture.
This is why it makes sense for online copywriters to understand all aspects of writing for the web, through multiple channels. No, you don’t have to master ever channel, but you do need to know enough to hold an intelligent conversation with your client, and to do your work with a clear understanding of how it fits in with everything else.
The bigger your toolbox, the greater the opportunity.
Several years ago I was approached by a prospective client and asked to rewrite their homepage. This was a fair sized company in the insurance industry. Certainly I was qualified to do what they asked. But I wanted to know more. I asked about the major category pages one level down from the homepage. Were they going to be rewritten too? If not, then it would limit the changes I could make to the homepage.(Remember, everything is connected.)
We talked about that, and in the end decided I should rework the homepage and those second level pages.
Then I asked about all the other pages on the site. If I were to significantly adjust the tone and approach of the top level pages, this would have implications for many other pages.
No, I didn’t get to write all those pages as well. Nor did I want to. But I did get paid to fly in and talk to their in-house web team about what I was trying to do with the new pages, so they could adjust the lower level pages accordingly.
On another occasion I was asked to write a landing page. After talking about it for a while I learned they were going to drive traffic to the page through an email campaign. I suggested that I write those emails as well. Having the same person write the emails and the landing page would ensure a clean and powerful transition from email to web page.
I took the same approach with every client, and significantly increased my earnings as a result. But I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I didn’t have a firm grasp on multiple aspects of writing for the web.
If, like in my offline days, I had been a one-trick pony, and focused just on sales page, or just on homepages, or just on email, I would have limited my opportunities and would also have diminished my value in the eyes of my clients.
Where can you get professional grade training in multiple areas of online copywriting?
This is where we are going to transition gently into a soft sales pitch.
After working with corporate clients online for about 10 years, and after training many of their in-house teams in online copywriting across different channels, I decided to create a program based on everything I have learned and taught.
That program is called Copywriting 2.0.
As far as I know it is the only professional-grade training program that is focused on teaching copywriters multiple aspects of writing for the web. Once you have worked through hundreds of pages of printed materials, watched the 16 embedded videos and sat through numerous bonus webinar presentations, you’ll have online copywriting skills that are both broad and deep.
Like I said…if you want to maximize your value and your earnings, you want to approach your clients with a big, fat toolbox, stuffed with online copywriting skills.
Copywriting 2.0 is published by AWAI, and you can find their information and sales page for the program here…
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
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