Message & Media: Writing Identity Crisis Averted

Design is key when delivering important content to subscribers and customers. Weight Watchers recently sent an email about the new ActiveLink personal fitness monitor (shown here). It clicks through to a landing page, using a gray type that is too small and too difficult to read easily. 

Design is key when delivering important content to subscribers and customers. Weight Watchers recently sent an email about the new ActiveLink personal fitness monitor. It clicks through to a landing page (shown here), using a gray type that is too small and too difficult to read easily. 

FranklinCovey gets readers to click through to a blog post that shares seven tips for getting more organized by using this teaser in its Tech Tools, News & Tips e-newsletter.

18 tips for copywriters and content developers to improve their cross-channel writing skills

Recently, I experienced an identity crisis. While I’ve built my career as a copywriter, I now had a client asking me if I also was a content developer.

Hmmm. I hadn’t thought about it. And frankly, I didn’t know.

What I did know was that on any given day, you’d find me writing emails, direct mail, space ads, whitepapers, e-newsletters, landing pages, website pages and ads, blog posts, package inserts, and a whole lot more.

So was I content developer? I thought I might be, but I also thought it was wise to confirm the definition before billing myself as one. Here’s what I learned:

A (traditional) copywriter’s job is to attract, persuade, promote and sell. That means the years I’ve spent using words to sell and generate leads for everything from hog sperm and burial insurance to bloodletting chairs and designer sweaters hand-knit in Peru qualify me as a copywriter.

A (digital) content developer is responsible for presenting information for which the reader has been searching. The business objective of content is to engage the reader and establish the provider of it as an expert or trusted resource.

Because content needs to be keyword-rich to attract search engines, a content developer also needs to understand search engine optimization (SEO) writing. As a blogger, e-newsletter contributor and writer for websites, it appears I am a content developer. Whew! Question answered.

Here’s what’s fascinating to me: While I’ve become a cross-channel writer, I use the skills I originally learned writing for traditional direct mail. And you can, too, if that’s your background. But if you’re not a direct mail writer, here’s a tip: Traditional direct response techniques work for writing digital content, too. The goal of both is reader engagement that leads to action … a click, a call, a visit to your store or website. Here are 18 tips for cross-channel writing:

Pat Friesen is a direct response copywriter, content developer and creative strategist. She is also the author of "The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook," published by Direct Marketing IQ. Reach her at (913) 341-1211.
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Comments
  • Heather Sloan

    Great article Pat. I agree that both roles (content and copy) are essential. While all the tips are good, #2 and #7 are my favorites.