5 Questions About Copywriting

Guest author Brian Beatty shares his thoughts on copywriting.

8.24.2016

At 5 by 5 Design we believe it’s possible to change the world by posing the right questions, listening to the honest answers, and following the path that emerges from the dialogue. Today we’re asking about copywriting.

Brian Beatty is a copywriter with 16+ years of experience. In that time, he’s worked with marketing, advertising, and design clients, and gained invaluable expertise. We’ve asked him to share insights about how copywriting builds brands and what trends to keep top-of-mind.

1. How does a solid message platform build brands?

Solid message platforms encourage consistency of brand communications, which can help build equity. That’s especially important across larger campaigns or larger organizations with multiple stakeholders.

2. In your role as a copywriter, what are you primarily trying to accomplish (the most important goal)?

Ventriloquism. A copywriter’s job is to become invisible, to create a voice and messaging that make the client’s brand or product the star.

3. How has the role of using copy to support a brand evolved?

Social media has changed everything. In addition to creating more and more personal brand touchpoints that didn’t exist just a few years ago, it has made marketers crazy. Everybody’s scrambling to crack the hash-tag code, because they’ve convinced themselves that Millennials, for many marketers the only audience that still matters, only communicate via their thumbs.

There’s B2B, B2C and now B2M.

It reminds me of when all clients thought their websites had to include Flash animation on the homepage. Or every piece of signage required a QR code.

New media touchpoints do matter, of course. But the traditional ones do, too. Social media’s primary value has been to reintroduce brevity into the copywriting conversation.

4. What misperceptions do you think people have about copywriting?

I can think of a couple:

One, that it’s like what they saw on Mad Men. It used to be, maybe, in a place and time, but it’s not now. PowerPoints and web videos are more common than a full-page print ad or SuperBowl television spot.

Two, that simply articulating an idea is the same as writing it. Getting an idea down on paper is just the beginning. Real writing will bring an idea to life. That’s the craft of it. From an audience experience point-of-view, it’s the difference between website wireframes and a designed website.

5. What trends do you see in copywriting? How long do you think they’ll last?

Everybody desperately wants to learn how to “speak” Millennial. Smart clients and creatives have already figured out that authenticity and empathy are key to engaging this younger, more connected audience—that their age doesn’t mean they speak in code. Everybody else will realize it just in time for the next big marketing scare/scam to come along.

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