Do we really need offline copywriting anymore?
Thousands of business entrepreneurs are joining the online marketplace every year. More and more consumers are embracing the speed and ease of shopping on the web. Traditional bricks-and-mortar shop owners are finding it harder and harder to compete with digital competitors with little or no overhead to worry about.
In this current climate, questioning the need for offline copywriting appears legitimate. Yet, there’s a wealth of evidence to show that if you neglect what some consider to be ‘old-fashioned’, you do so at your peril.
Here’s the bottom line – Google isn’t ‘God’, isn’t the be all and end all of a business’s existence. Some marketers are such sycophantic disciples of Google, their perspective develops blinkers – they can see one and only one way forward – SEO and SERP (search engine results pages) rankings.
But running your business only according to what Google wants and ignoring proven marketing practices developed over hundreds of years seems counter-intuitive. For one thing, it’s never wise to only have a Plan A and no Plan B.
For another, offline marketing is in some respects as strong as ever. When you watch the TV at night, all the channels still have all their ad spaces completely filled. Brochures, flyers and business cards are still mainstream.
On top of that, sticking with offline strategies ensures more personal contact with consumers. Having hard copies of brochures, flyers and business cards means that you have an opportunity to hand them to prospects, and at the same time have a chat, get to know them and build a personal rapport.
Increasing face-to-face personal interaction – in a way that online communication does not allow for – gives business owners a great opportunity to learn more about what their customers want and then be able to take steps to address those needs.
It follows then that the possibility of building long-term relationships is significantly enhanced.
So, yes, we do still need offline copywriting.
The main difference between offline and online copywriting
The purpose of offline and online copywriting is the same – to write persuasive text for the purpose of advertising or marketing. However, there’s one fundamental difference – the way people read.
The way you read words on a computer screen is completely different to the way you read printed material. For one thing, internet users are often looking to find information quickly, jumping from item to item or page to page, so they quickly skim over material.
In addition, staring at information online, especially for extended periods, can cause eye strain or even significant pain, which makes the skimming habit even more ingrained.
When you pick up and start reading through printed material however, like a brochure or a flyer, your reading habits change. You only have one piece of content available rather than millions, so you instinctively are more inclined to closely follow the logical progression of ideas from start to finish.
What Online Copywriters Need to Know
There are considerations that online copywriters need to be aware of that offline copywriters don’t need to worry about…
1. The content needs to be easily digestible – broken up into ‘chunks’ using short sentences and short paragraphs.
2. The content must be easy to navigate – use headings, sub-headings, bullet points, bold emphasis, italics.
3. All the most important information should be at the beginning so it is not missed.
Most importantly, the writing style has to be concise. Heed the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson…
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
If you’d like to read more about the art of copywriting, look out for more blogs in this series. Or if you’d like to share your thoughts, contact me at email@example.com.