Writing for digital media: what to do, what to ignore

Anyone who writes commercially is concerned about promotion, projection, and protection: pushing an organisation’s products and services, while sustaining its brand image and reputation. This is as true offline as it is online, although the rules of engagement in the virtual world are still changing. In part, this is due to the pace and extent of technological advances.

Thanks to the rapid rise of social media, and the growth of mobile phone ownership, people now consume and respond to information differently. Today, we’re all able to access emails, websites and other digital media from wherever we happen to be, and to publish our opinions instantly and globally. As a result, marketers – and copywriters – have less control over what’s been said about organisations, products and services.

What difference does that make to the way a copywriter works? To what she writes? To how he writes? Are there any rules about what you can and can’t do? And if there’re are, what are they? This training course aims to answer those questions, and to provide you with some practical tips on the craft of copywriting online.

Unsure about the need to attend? Just look at the following table and see if you recognise the situations on the left. You do? Now look at the right-hand column: isn’t that where you want to be?

The writing problems you face

You’re lost in a web

Creating the text for a whole website, or even parts of one, can be a daunting task: there’s so much to share. As well as gathering that information together, you’ve got to organise it into a sensible order too.

How do you figure out – or help your client to decide – which elements are most important, what’s less significant, and where it should all go? And with some sort of plan in place, what do you do next?

The SEO-trap

Search engines like Google are integral to how everyone uses the internet, yet improving your organisation’s ranking on the results pages (through search engine optimisation, or SEO) can be tricky.

SEO is couched in techno-babble, and best practice changes rapidly. So have you, like many others, fallen victim to the SEO-trap of complexity and scale?

Your emails aren’t successful enough

Everyone relies upon email these days – but do we analyse whether they’re successful or not? Do you understand why more people aren’t opening your messages, or clicking through on the links within?

How can you get more of your clients, prospects and colleagues to open your emails and act upon them? Is it possible to test out some variations, and prove which approaches work – and which don’t?

You can’t control social media

Trying to stay on top of social media is time-consuming. How do you start generating your own content, and choose the right vehicles for publishing it, when deadlines are looming?

Can you also keep track of what’s been said about you (or your client), and respond in the right way, at the right time? Or has your social media management simply gone out of control?

The writing solutions you want

You want to find your way

The earlier you get involved in the web-creation process the better. Ideally, you’d sit with the client and the technical developer and map out the structure of the website on paper, before any coding or writing begins.

You’d decide upon the subject of each page, and create the appropriate headlines and sub-heads. You’d know where the links will be, and which (internal and external) pages they link to.

You want to know SEO

When it comes to SEO, it’s possible to remove the cloak of mystery and de-code the technology-speak. And to keep up with the latest updates by Google and the rest – you just need to have an experienced guide.

Armed with the right on- and off-page techniques, you’ll have a better understanding of the rules of the game – and know how to improve your rankings and win.

You want more effective emails

There are some basic rules to follow if you want your emails to evade the spam filters, and then to encourage people to take notice, open them, and act. And while subject lines are an essential element, it doesn’t stop there.

You see, proving the effectiveness of one subject line over another, by testing the variations, gives you a good starting point. But the rest of the content has to match up. And you need to know how it’s done.

You want to be an SM master

Mastering social media comes down to the two Ps: priorities and planning. You have to work out which platform(s) to use and monitor, based on what will help you achieve your commercial objectives.

Then, you need a publishing plan that appeals to your audience, and which you have the resources to deliver. And a system for monitoring mentions, industry trends and so on.

Get what you want – with Copywriting Online from RichWords

This one-day training course builds upon the lessons of our Copywriting Fundamentals course while adding a new dimension: the digital world.

We start by sharing 10 rules of online marketing, and looking at some good, bad and ugly examples from the internet. With this common understanding established, we discuss the importance of Information Architecture to planning a website – and, by default, to mapping out your written content.

We’ve divided our analysis of SEO, dealing with your choice of words before investigating the behind-the-scenes factors that affect ranking. With emails so ubiquitous in business today, we offer seven tips for your success in this medium, and then review your options when it comes to social media management. You’ll end the day with a practical writing exercise, answering a brief to create the structure and text for a web page.

After completing the course, you’ll be better placed to succeed with your online copywriting, and will have earned the opportunity to gain something else too:

Three hours of FREE ADVICE from RichWords.

To get this advice, all you have to do is submit three pieces of your digital work to RichWords in the three months following your completion of the course. You can send us whatever you’re working on at that time.

As long as you give us some information about your target reader and communication objective(s), we’ll be able to give you expert feedback on your copywriting – at absolutely no charge.

Copywriting Online: Training structure

Occasionally, we run this one-day interactive training session as an open course. More often, we tailor our core modules to suit the needs of a particular client, delivering the training to a maximum of 12 members of staff from a single organisation.

Delegates will work on real-life copywriting examples during the day (their own samples, if it’s a tailored course), looking at writing style and effectiveness in a series of ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenarios. This creates an opportunity for delegates to learn from each other (and from the RichWords writing trainer) within a supportive environment.

Here’s the basic schedule for our one-day Copywriting Online training course:

09.30 – 09.45 Introductions & Training Goals Interactive Group Session
09.45 – 10.45 10 rules of online marketing Interactive Group SessionExercise (Web’s Good, Bad & Ugly)
10.45 – 11.00 Break
11.00 – 11.45 All about Information Architecture Interactive Group SessionPairs Exercise (Website planning)
11.45 – 11.50 Break
11.50 – 13.00 SEO (Part 1) An ABC approach Interactive Group SessionIndividual Exercise (SEO basics)
13.00 – 13.45 Lunch Break
13.45 – 14.45 SEO (Part 2) Moving beyond words Interactive Group SessionGroup Exercise (Behind the page)
14.45 – 14.50 Break
14.50 – 15.45 7 tips for email success Interactive Group SessionPairs Exercise (Email challenge)
15.45 – 15.50 Break
15.50 – 16.30 Managing social media Interactive Group SessionGroup Exercise (Content Creation)
16.30 – 17.00 Final Writing Exercise: A web page Individuals (Writing a web page)
17.00 – 17.30 Final Exercise ReviewConclusions Interactive Group Session

Copywriting Online: FIT for purpose

Like every other training course from RichWords, the one-day Copywriting Online workshop is FIT for purpose:

Flexible You can choose the length and location of training session that’s best for you. We can convert the course into a more detailed two-day writing workshop and deliver either version at your premises, or at a suitable external venue.

If you want delegates from around the globe to attend, we can also re-configure this copywriting training into a webinar format. While this means including far less content, a web-based session can still include key learning points and be of value to staff working overseas.

Interactive We understand that people learn differently and that attention spans can be short, so we make our training sessions interactive rather than just “chalk-and-talk”.

There’ll be questions to answer throughout each training course, and attendees will complete practical exercises to reinforce the learning points.

These drills help to ensure that the training leads to behavioural change in the workplace, so that everyone completing the course continues to write more effectively afterwards.

Tailored To maximise the delegates’ learning, we base the session on writing examples provided during our pre-training preparation stage.

We’ll use these samples to illustrate various learning points, creating and sharing new versions to show how the originals could be improved.

We finish the Copywriting Online training course with a session that instructs attendees to create a web page that can ‘go live’ once they return to the office. This could be a revision of an existing page, or an addition such as a campaign-specific page.

Is this Copywriting Online training course for you? If you want to improve the effectiveness of your online business communications, this one-day training workshop is for you.

By attending, you’ll learn how to apply the 10 rules of online marketing when developing your own content, and/or when analysing the digital communications of your competitors. You’ll also understand how to plan and structure a website, and learn why writing for humans also works for robots, spiders and other SEO creatures.

What’s more, you’ll hear about seven techniques for getting more people to open your emails – and to act upon the content. You’ll complete a social media plan too, ensuring you’ve always got content to publish, and gain practical experience in creating the text for a web page.

If you’re attending a tailored course with a number of colleagues, you’ll all have provided examples of your work in advance. This means you’ll need to be prepared to listen to constructive criticism from the facilitator and your colleagues. All feedback is constructive, since it gives you useful insights into how others perceive your writing style and choice of words, and provides practical tips on how to improve both.

Your area of business shouldn’t be a barrier to attending this course, since you can apply the principles to online written communications originating from any industry sector, and aimed at any audience.

In fact, RichWords has helped companies from sectors as diverse as construction, consumer electronics, energy, information technology, manufacturing, professional services, retail, telecommunications, and transportation.

“The content was really interesting, presentations engaging, and examples very compelling. It was one of the best training sessions I’ve attended in a while.”

One of 84 delegates from Crown Worldwide who attended a series of web-based training sessions.

What to do next

To reserve your place on one of our Copywriting Online open courses, priced from £225 per delegate, email via the contact form or call him on 020 3286 1702.

For information about RichWords creating and delivering a tailored version of this course, developed to address your company’s specific needs, please take 10-15 minutes questionnaire.

Thanks – we look forward to reading your answers and discussing them with you soon.