Copywriting – A Crucial Part of PR Success, or Obsolete?

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Do Public Relations firms and marketers still need copywriters?


If you’ve been following the news at all, you probably realize that the stranglehold that traditional media once held on marketing is now fading. Newspapers and magazines are either folding, or in trouble. Even television and radio ads are no longer as effective as they once were.

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Mitch Joel, writing at his blog Six Pixels of Separation, does a good job of summarizing the current environment in his post titled The Present And Future Of Media – Big Trouble Or Huge Opportunity?.

As we’ve explained before on Everything PR, less established media forms such as social media and Internet marketing are replacing traditional media.

The copywriter’s role in traditional marketing was quite clear: write compelling copy for advertisements, press releases and the like. Once complete, the copy was then printed in newspapers and magazines or broadcast over television and radio. (Of course, that’s an oversimplification of the copywriter’s role – but you get the picture.)

The newer forms of media are much more interactive and community-driven. Not only that, much of the new media is user-generated. To top things off, words are being replaced by videos (a la YouTube), podcasts, and graphics.
One might be tempted to think that copywriters have completely outlived their usefulness. One might think that they’ve been totally replaced by newer positions such as, oh, let’s say for example, a community manager.

If one thought that, though, they would be wrong.

Words are still important. Copywriters do still add value to a marketing campaign. Having worked as a copywriter myself, I know that copywriters can do many things.

Here are some ways that copywriters still help marketing campaigns, even in today’s changed advertising environment:

  1. Close the deal. Keep in mind that while a video or graphic image may draw your audience in, the words are often what it takes close the deal.
  2. Target the audience. Good copywriters have a lot of experience targeting the right market for a product or service.
  3. Add creativity. The best copywriters are creative. A good copywriter can suggest a creative angle for an otherwise mundane campaign.
  4. Provide the “backbone” for other media campaigns. Copywriters can write for company videos and/or podcasts too!
  5. Inform and educate the public. Don’t forget to about product education. Copywriters can convey information to help your public make wiser, more informed choices.

As you can see, copywriters still have a vital role to play in the marketing arena. It’s time to think outside traditional roles and see what a copywriter actually can do for your business.

How do you see the role of the copywriter evolving in the current marketing environment? Leave your ideas in the comments.

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Comments

  1. susan hart says

    As a 25+ year PR professional, I’ve found writing to be the single most important skill that one can bring to the table. The next one is problem solving, but that’s for another blog. I’m stunned at even the thought that good, effective and compelling writing isn’t needed now or in the future. The medium may change, but writing won’t go away. Thanks for your post!

  2. says

    Hi Susan!

    Thanks for chiming in.

    I definitely agree.

    Personally, I feel that copywriters still have much to offer – even in the new mediums that are cropping up.

  3. says

    Hi Ben!

    I would tend to agree – although perhaps today’s copywriters need different training than the copywriters of the past. (As you point out in your comment, understanding and creating web content is now a vital skill.)

  4. says

    Hi – I run a copywriting agency in the UK. I wouldn’t say that words are being replaced by video – they’re vital to help people find the videos in the first place.

    I think traditional copywriting still needs the same talents, but good online copywriting requires an understanding of the web’s mechanics – how optimised pages are constructed, how search engines work (more or less) and so on. What hasn’t changed is the fact we all still need to be very creative before we put pen to paper.

  5. DeneneWrites says

    Laura,

    Great post! I don’t think the copywriter’s role is going anywhere. The industry may be changing, but words are still at the core of publishing — whether online or off.

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