By Copywriter Brooke Blanton
To be a copywriter for a marketing agency is to speak in a thousand unique voices. Each client has its own terminology and tone, that are then put through the filter of the platform we’re writing for. Social media is punchier and more concise, while website copy allows a bit more time to get to the point. Responsive ads, web browser ads that only show the copy that fits on the particular screen of the viewer, require all vital information at the beginning, but blog posts allow for more storytelling that don’t fit in the main campaign collateral. Video scripts have a strict time limit and billboard headlines need to tell a story in a split second.
When getting started with a new campaign that has so many different copy needs, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start. While still in the brainstorming phase, it’s easiest to allow yourself to do a “brain dump” of all your ideas. That could include headlines, social media hashtags, a summary of the campaign concept, and maybe even some creative executions. From there, I find it most efficient to start with the longest copy piece needed, then whittle down from there.
If the client is asking us to write new website copy, I’ll start there since it requires the most words. Once the website copy is approved, I’ll then use that as inspiration and guidance for the remaining verbiage needed, tweaking the tone as needed for the particular platform.
Last year, for our client San Antonio Water System (SAWS), we put out the latest Waterful campaign, which highlights the importance that water plays in our everyday lives and how SAWS improves quality of life for San Antonio residents through its responsible use of water resources.
The campaign needed copy for the following assets:
- Blog posts
- Print ads
- Landing page
- Social media videos
- Responsive ads
- HTML5 ads
- Facebook Instant Experience ads
The four-month campaign relied on four different message pillars to get the point across. In the first month, we focused on SAWS’ innovations in drought management, followed by resource development, infrastructure, and water quality. We started by updating the destination we would ultimately drive viewers to — a campaign landing page.
We then crafted blog posts for each month the campaign would run, sixteen in all, expounding on our specific topics in relatable and shareable ways. For example, for drought management, we used the trend of potted succulents to talk about a typically dry topic.
Offline, we created print ads which illustrated the drought management topic through the visual of a rain barrel and which featured language that neatly summed up the topic for the reader.
Animated Print Ads
In order to bring the metaphor to social media, we created animated versions of the print ads that, in line with social media best-practices, relied more on visuals than on copy.
Further driving the point home for our online audience, we created short videos designed specifically for social media that featured quick copy and easily digestible tips and tricks for saving water in your home. Every word of the campaign had to bring the audience back to that month’s theme, and to the message of SAWS as a whole, while remaining appropriate for the venue it was being delivered in. Before the internet, copywriters had fewer platforms to write for. In today’s marketing world, social media and digital advertising make up a huge percentage of our clients’ budgets. This has opened up a never-ending list of ways to advertise online — and each one has different copy requirements.
A true integrated marketing campaign in today’s age doesn’t simply slap the print copy onto the internet, but instead takes the heart of the message and spins it to fit the digital space it is meant for. From the concepting phase to the campaign wrap-up, copywriters are responsible for knowing the clients’ key messages inside and out and ensuring that their audience is receiving that message in the best way possible.