What happens when you put 150 copywriters in a room?

 

 

For someone who deals primarily in the written word, that’s a pretty disheartening thought. Are you not hanging on my every syllable, wondering what witty turn of phrase I’ll be offering next?

No, because you’re reading this online. You’re busy and impatient, and probably want to get back to looking at pictures of cats. Don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal (in fact, after writing this I’ve got a hot date with Procatinator).

So what does all this mean for copywriting and its wonderful, talented practitioners?

Gone are the days when people had hours to read beautifully crafted copy (unless you’re on the tube that is, and even then it’s probably just a distraction from your neighbour’s poorly positioned armpit). But rather than lamenting the tides of time, we should be embracing the huge opportunity on offer.

Good copy has all the power it ever had. In fact, as online grows, so does the value of the written word. Ever bought a product from a website with no words? I thought not.

So it’s hardly surprising that the 2015 conference embraced the digital age. David Levin’s entertaining opening talk focussed on the power and potential of Twitter, Laura Jordan Bombach explored how copywriters can adapt to the online world, and Doug Kessler even shared some impressive stats on the geographical use of swear words by US social media users.

The overriding message, however, was that copywriters can’t just cocoon themselves in and think only in terms of their own discipline.

As David Levin pointed out, Twitter is the ideal space for the writer. With a character limit that rewards clever copy, it’s the go-to place for the wordsmith. But it’s also tailor made for eye-catching images and entertaining videos. To get the most from the social network, writers need to team up with talented photographers, videographers and designers.

And the same goes for websites. We can’t just drop in, draft some copy and leave the rest to the web developers.

In a brilliant breakout session, Tim Fidgeon gave an insight into the world of UX (or user experience to the wider world) and what it means for copywriting. As website visitors we take in text in a completely different way; we won’t read all that much, we won’t remember all that much (especially if we’re viewing on mobile) and we expect a certain amount of consistency.

In spite of all this, the art of good writing remains. Today’s world may be well and truly digital but persuasive copy is still king.

Taking inspiration from some of history’s greatest orators, Andy Maslen explored how emotion is at the heart of persuasion. To make a sale, we need to convince customers that they want something, not simply that they need it. One of the best ways to do that? You guessed it, good copy.

If you’re like the majority of web users, you’ve probably skimmed a lot of the above and landed here at the bottom of the page. That’s cool - thanks for taking a look. And if you’ve read it all? Well, you’re my new best friend.

So what’s the secret to brilliant copy in 2015?

The same as always - don’t forget your audience. Their needs and expectations may have changed but they’re still there and they still matter.