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In the digital age where everything is a click or a swipe away, and images and video seem to have all the say, whatever happened to good old-fashioned words? Even though your average ad in 2017 won’t usually have as much copy as this classic Rolls-Royce ad (long held as a shrine to the marriage between informative and narrative copy), good-old-fashioned copy is still here and just as important in the age of apps and snaps as they were decades ago. You can still capture your audience’s dwindling attention with superb digital copy.

vintage car advertisement from magazine published in 1959

The only real difference, I’d argue, is the purpose. While there’s a lot of great copy in this 1959 ad, we wouldn’t quite consider it optimized by today’s standards, especially with phrases such as “a picnic table, veneered in French walnut, slides out from under the dash.” That sounds great – but isn’t great when it comes to quality scores (are we selling picnic tables or cars?) or SEO.

So what exactly is the role of copy in digital? It’s all about breaking your customer’s experience out into search queries and keywords.

Leveraging Your Keywords

When people (i.e. your potential customers) are looking for solutions on search engines and social media, they are using keywords. When writing content for the digital space, make sure that your copy includes your keywords so that Google can actually find and rank your content for the queries you actually care about. Using keywords for headers and titles of content not only helps your desired audience find your content, but it will help you focus your writing as well. 

Selective Wording

While keywords are, well, key to success online, there is still the opportunity for classic copywriting. Using specific, targeted words that have a greater emotional impact on a reader than relatively generic words gives a writer more leverage and ability to generate a strong emotional response, leading the reader in the direction you want them to go – whether it’s downloading an ebook or buying their next Rolls.

Target Your Copy for Maximum Impact

Aim for your target with thoroughly researched and planned copy. When you write with an unconscious mindset, you run the risk of missing the mark with your audience. Oftentimes, business owners who try their hand at copy take for granted that their potential customers already have a basic understanding of the product. Expecting an audience to read between the lines is a common mistake. Copywriting is aimed at a target, so it has to hit them right between (or, perhaps in?) the eyes. A diluted message can interfere with a prospect’s interpretation as much as static on a radio. And you don’t want to risk your message missing your recipient due to a misinterpretation – that missed opportunity could cost you ad dollars and a sale.

As a writer, you’ve got the ammunition your reader lacks—all the facts. By leveraging your keywords, nurturing an emotional response from your prospect, and communicating the merits of your product, you’ll be on your way to writing killer copy.