Acorn Strategy’s in-house copywriter Omar Khalifa takes a broad look at the emergence of copywriting and why good copy is critically important.
In one of the world’s earliest acts of copywriting, a family that lived during the Song Dynasty in China wrote a few words on a bronze plate to market a needle shop, and the message was fairly straightforward: “We buy high-quality steel rods and make fine-quality needles.” This advertisement went live one thousand years ago.
And it was an uphill journey from that point forward. Populations grew, cities expanded, and modes of transportation and communication became sufficiently advanced to facilitate commercial activities on a large scale, thereby creating a distinctly more complex situation for businesses that had up until that point dismissed marketing as an unnecessary luxury. This may not have been a problem when you were the only shop in town making “fine-quality needles,” but it quickly becomes so as soon as another shop pops up, followed by five and ten and twenty. This is how competition was born, and competition necessitates differentiation. Differentiation is a simple formula comprised of two variables: 1) the quality of your work, and 2) the way you communicate that quality.
Surely, you can be the best in your business, but as the old saying goes, “in the dark, all cats are grey.” To bring your business to light is to advertise, and to advertise is to write. This is how copywriting started, and it has since evolved into an infinitely diverse ecosystem of language that extends to cover everything around you: product labels, brochures, web pages, magazines, TV commercials, social media posts, billboards, radio stations, food menus, podcasts, and even songs.
With the advent of the information age and the globalization of competition, the task of developing relevant, informative, engaging, coherent and original content becomes more critical than ever. The digital buzz never stops and the flywheels of creative teams work one layer beneath the surface to produce content that is aggregated, indexed, paywalled, liked, shared, algorithmically ranked, prioritized, monetized and converted into exposure and revenue.
How Can You Get There?
Writing a copy that accurately captures your brand and immediately engages the consumer is not an easy thing to do, and it requires enlisting several creative tactics that vary depending on your business, sector, region, the nature of content, and your specific goals.
But these aren’t the only factors to consider when you’re developing your copy. One important aspect is to pay attention to the medium. A copywriter in the modern age is not just a linguist or storyteller; their domain and experience should extend to include intimate familiarity with the layout, dynamic, audience and speed of each medium they develop content for. Still, however, a copywriter must have more rabbits up their sleeve:
Cultural awareness: marketing books are full of examples of culturally insensitive writing that ended up causing public relations nightmares. Special attention should then be given to the task of developing decent, informed, and politically correct copy
Currentness: the lifetime of copywriting is considerably shorter than that of any other type of writing. Whether you’re newsjacking, riding a trend, or incorporating memes into your work, you must have done sufficient research to capture topical developments accurately and tell an engaging story
Integrity: plagiarism isn’t just a moral issue. It can become a legal quagmire very quickly, and it is thus important that you ensure your content is original. Of course, no one owns copyrights to idiomatic expressions or metaphors, but there is a limit to how much your work can be ‘inspired’ by something else, including common linguistic expressions and even your own work: yes, re-using content you’ve already sold is also plagiarism
Sound language: there are very few situations where the creativity of output can offset the poverty of grammar or spelling. A writer, any writer, must take great pride in following established rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation
These are but some of the qualities a good copywriter must be in command of, and which guarantee that your copy will always meet a certain quality standard that in its own right is indicative of reliability and professionalism.
And this is what Acorn Strategy offers: reliability and professionalism. For the last ten years, we have provided our clients in different countries and sectors with copy, marketing strategy, public relations and secondment services at such a level that has effectively and measurably contributed to their progress and transformation for the better.
So, let this be our bronze plate: we offer high-quality services.
To learn more on how Acorn Strategy can help you write a flawless copy and develop engaging content, drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org