Design and Copy need each other
Design and copy are two creatures that need to live together in order to create the most engaging content ... put at its simplest – words and pictures. Together they make a whole. They deliver meaning. They evoke an emotion. Here’s why they make the best of companions and why the best copywriting and design should always live together:
Together they’re stronger and more engaging
Design without words is often just something pretty for aesthetics sake. Words without design and graphic content, can obviously be read (in the context of a book for example), but integral graphics help bring the copy content alive. Think of a blog post for instance that is simply a page of text. Then imagine the same blog post including an infographic - which will be more engaging to read and share?
But everyone can write ... right?
Well ... to a lesser or greater extent, yes. However, writing can be quite a personal thing. If you’re too attached to your copy, you can often write it too long, or too complicated and industry-specific, filled with jargon for instance. A good copywriter can certainly write industry-specific copy, you can find one who has experience in your sector. The advantage is that they will be able to detach themselves from the ‘personal’ danger of verbal diarrhoea and concentrate fully on the subject in hand. Using their skills they will also make it as concise as possible, without leaving out important content, but making sure it's not War and Peace. Also, some people simply can’t write that well. Stick to your talents – if you’re not confident in what you’re writing, this will come across in the content, so get a professional in.
A halfway house sanity check
If either budget or the control freak in you means you’d still rather write copy content for your business yourself, then why not use a good copywriter to sanity check your writing? A copywriter can do an edit and read-through, checking for the obvious spelling and grammar, as well as editing to make a sprawling ten pages much more manageable for your audience.
Not just in it for the long copy
Think of all the great memorable ad campaigns, either in print or on television. The most memorable advertising headlines and brand tag lines will all have been sweated over by talented copywriters before they made it to your ears and eyes. Even if you're not currently commissioning national ad campaigns or brand strap lines, think about headlines for your web pages, blog posts or email newsletters.
The conceptual copy creature
As well as writing for headlines and strap lines a good conceptual copywriter can look at concepts for internal communications such as brand mission, vision and brand values. These, in conjunction with some beautiful design from can lead to some stunning content that can be shared with your clients or customers as well as internally with your staff.
Writing for that other beast – the web
You’ll also find that many copywriters nowadays have strong SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) skills. They can write copy that is both relevant to your business and will also rank well with online search engines. This is particularly important for blog posts and even more so for the main pages of your website. There’s no point writing online content if it’s difficult for people to discover.
I asked one of my trusted copywriters, Sammy Castillo, from Castillo Copy, what her take on it was from a copywriters perspective …
“Like good design, great copywriting is a craft. It’s not something you can just turn your hand to because your boss says, “you’re good at English”. The ability to produce great copy develops over time. Don’t get me wrong, being a grammar guru helps, but the skill of a great copywriter is in the details: it’s interrogating the brief; getting inside the heads of the target audience; knowing everything about the product/service; the media; and developing a story that distils the marketing patter to deliver the message simply, clearly and concisely.
In short, great copywriting is about thinking first, writing last, and being economical with words.”