How to shape standout copy for different platforms and audiences

How to shape standout copy for different platforms and audiences

Copywriting is a core marketing skill. But as the marketing landscape grows more diverse and nuanced, marketers are required to produce versatile, targeted copy that works. In our article, expert and CIM course director Laura Bracher, reveals the industry secrets behind getting your copywriting right from the get-go.

Whether your job title contains the word 'copywriter' or not, knowing how to write is a fundamental skill required in most marketing roles.

When I tell people I'm a copywriter, it's not unusual to be met with a blank face. Before things get uncomfortable, I usually mumble something about writing content for businesses. But, as any experienced copywriter will know, there's much, much more to our craft than that.

Copywriting has the power to determine how a brand feels, influence the reader's emotions, and even convince them to part with their hard-earned cash. In short - copywriting has the power to make or break a business. Yet, with so many voices competing for attention across all mediums, how can we ensure our words are the ones that make a real impact?

Looking to fortify your copywriting skills? Check out our Copywriting – The complete guide course, where you’ll gain the practical tools and techniques you need to enhance your skills and your credibility as a copywriter. 

Fortify your copywriting

Versatility: Your ticket to success

Learning to write copy seems to be something that really scares people, and perhaps that's because of how it's portrayed by the media. Copywriting has long been linked to advertising, glamourised by the likes of Don Draper, sitting behind his desk nursing a glass of whisky (and a hangover). Yet, the reality is, over the years it's made its way into the lives of more and more marketers. While we still associate copywriting with selling and creativity, its role extends far beyond that now.

The key is to be versatile. You only have to look around to see that it's everywhere: from leaflets to food packaging, on the bus and in your local leisure centre: the uses are endless. Of course, it's also online when you browse the internet, social media, and check your emails. And, while it would be nice to read a book on copywriting and instantly become the next Ogilvy or Schwartz, being able to adapt our writing across multiple formats and audiences is something that only comes with practice.

Engage is another crucial word. How much of the copy that you come across do you notice in the first place? While these might seem like minor tactics, the words you choose and how you put them together can make the difference between someone aimlessly scrolling past your email or deciding to commit to a six-month subscription. So, with that in mind, let's look at how copywriting might vary across two different platforms.

Adapting your writing across platforms

Before we explore the differences, it's important to remember that two things should remain consistent no matter the format: your content should always be reader-driven, and it should remain actionable. By writing with that in mind, you're a step closer to keeping those engagement levels high.

Now, back to the task at hand. Social media and email are two remarkably different mediums, yet both hold significant roles in the marketing strategies of most businesses. While social media is a public space, email, on the other hand, is a much more personal way of communicating. And, while a person may only have one or two email accounts, they might have several profiles across social media platforms.

Writing for social media

More concise writing is usually required for social media. It can be a powerful platform for businesses to increase brand awareness, loyalty, and generate leads, but the very nature of social media is chaotic and fast-paced. Readers are often on the move when using it, or scrolling aimlessly, which is why it's essential to get your message across quickly. Just like a catchy or surprising blog title, placing your hook at the very beginning of a post is the best way to capture attention.

Of course, you must also be mindful of the differences between the social platforms themselves which will impact the way you write. For example, Instagram is much more visual than LinkedIn, so you may choose to get creative with how you display your message, while LinkedIn is full of busy professionals with little time to spare, so your content must offer a quick payoff. 

Writing for email 

Email marketing is another popular communication tool for companies, allowing them to nurture existing customer relationships and reach new ones. With most businesses sending out multiple marketing emails a week, there’s a high demand for creating new and engaging content, which is why the role of a copywriter is crucial.

Unlike social media, email is a much more personal channel, allowing us to address the recipient by name and even provide them with content that's directly tailored to their preferences. We still need to intrigue them with a catchy subject line - similar to what we would do in a social post - but once they click through, we have more space to captivate them, taking them further down the marketing funnel.

Email is a private and personal marketing channel. Therefore, for your copy to resonate with the reader, it should speak to them personally. Use words like "we", "I", and "you" to help it feel like a personal conversation between two people.

Just like any other content on the web, email subscribers still have limited time to read emails, so it's essential to get straight to the point. Email offers more space to work with, so you can afford to break up copy with white space and bullet points, using short sentences and clear call-to-actions.

Maintaining a consistent tone of voice

Although the way we write across platforms will vary, when it comes to tone of voice, this is something that should remain consistent. A business's tone of voice is fundamental for developing a personal connection with its target audience and keeping them engaged. It's especially important if its competitors are using the same marketing channels as them, as it will help them to stand out.

Think about it - why would a potential customer scrolling on social media pause and read your advert for shaving foam over the five others they've seen in the space of ten minutes? Therefore, before any writing can take place, you must have a thorough understanding of a business’s tone of voice.

Mailchimp is an excellent example of how to do that well and it shows, as it now holds 72.98% of the email marketing market. While the nature of Mailchimp's business is highly technical, it avoids using confusing terminology when speaking to its customers, making it both relatable and accessible. It uses plain-spoken language to engage its audience, which it maintains across the website, social channels, email marketing, and live chat support.

At the end of the day, copywriting is a conversation, not rocket science. By taking time to recognise the different approaches, strategies, and how to speak the language of your desired audiences, you’re giving yourself the best chance of standing out among the millions of other voices competing for attention on the daily.  

Looking to fortify your copywriting skills? Check out our Copywriting – The complete guide course, where you’ll gain the practical tools and techniques you need to enhance your skills and your credibility as a copywriter. 

All ACIM, MCIM and FCIM members can access this high-quality course for free through their MyCIM.

Fortify your copywriting

Laura Bracher News analyst CIM
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