The Shape of Copywriting in 2014
Copywriting in 2014 is shaping up very nicely. Last year saw the emergence of content marketing and, thanks to Google’s various releases, online copy became more important than ever.
Many websites were whacked by the Hummingbird algorithm in 2013, and had to be completely rewritten as Google looked to punish poorly-written, spammy websites. Blogging became big business as regularly updated content became one of the best ways to keep your website’s ranking, and copywriters saw blogging become their bread and butter.
So far in 2014 then, it’s been business as usual for the profession. Businesses are grasping the concept of content marketing and starting to engage with it. And as the economic outlook begins to brighten, so too does the amount of money being spent on marketing. More and more smaller companies, as well as larger organisations, are starting to embrace blogging, social media and regular PR as a serious way to increase their profile. Some are employing writers directly or looking to outsource it to freelancers.
There are more jobs out there for copywriters too. Many of them are advertised as content writers but when you read the job description, it’s basically what copywriters have been doing for years. And in an interesting twist, several newspapers have posted vacancies for online writers without recognised journalistic qualifications. They’re beginning to recognise writing for the web can be a slightly different skill to writing for a newspaper and are recruiting people with relevant skills and experience to write lots of smaller articles reacting to breaking news stories.
Social media looks set to maintain its upward trajectory and play its part, along with copywriting, as a vital part of SEO. The major search engines are focussing on engagement and social value, both of which are simple to achieve with Twitter and Facebook. It’s easy to distribute content on social media too, so the coming year will continue to see blogs, articles, photos, press releases and videos shared this way.
The emphasis on quality will remain in 2014. Google’s Penguin and Panda updates last year ranked websites with well-written and properly punctuated copy higher than those without. It also loved brand-focussed copy which addresses the reader directly and tells a story. Which brings me to my next point; story telling was big in 2013 and will be even bigger this year. Websites with stories and informative, friendly copy will see great results when compared to those that don’t.
Long-tail copy will be everywhere this year too, as Hummingbird exerts its influence. Instead of isolating keywords and short phrases, it will look to prioritise longer sentences and phrases so web pages written as How To guides or addressing specific problems will rank well.
Copywriting is in great shape for 2014. Business owners are seeing the benefits of it more than ever, and web designers, developers and SEO companies are working closer with copywriters to combat Google’s updates. No longer is copywriting seen as just putting any old words on a website to match the pretty pictures. It’s being taken seriously as a necessity now.
Hopefully the industry is in for a very profitable year as a result.