Amazing images are the thing these days. We’re all seemingly suckers for sumptuous visual stimulation. Which means beautifully crafted copy is a thing of the past, right? Don’t believe a word of it.
If a picture used to be worth a thousand words, then how many finely honed sentences are a thousand pixels worth nowadays?
And if the mangling of that old adage doesn’t really make sense then that’s ok. Words are on their way out anyway.
Image-based social media like Pinterest, Instagram and tumblr continue their relentless march, changing forever how we view and share stuff, how we interact with brands and with each other.
Which is why more and more companies try and master these dark arts (well, actually admittedly pleasingly colourful, and eye catching arts) and why the big guns like Twitter and Facebook continue to tweak what they offer to meet the rise in popularity of image based marketing.
So where does that leave the poor old written word? Is there still a place for expertly crafted copy in this world? In the age of shortening attention spans do we even have time to enjoy a well crafted line or two?
After all, there’s now a speed reading app now that lets you plough through a novel in an afternoon at up to 1,000 words per minute.
And a recent campaign showcased venerable Madmen bemoaning the dying art of the wordsmiths.
But copywriting isn’t dying. It’s not even looking a bit peaky.
Like the way we shop, listen to music, watch films, read books, stay in touch with people and so on, the way were respond to marketing has changed.
And copy has changed with it.
With legions of posts, blogs, streams and messages screaming “Look at me!” it’s more important than ever to use the right language to connect. To engage. To inform. To entertain. To persuade.
There may well be less time, less space and even less budget than the days when classic posters and press ads were lovingly curated in leather bound tomes, but there is much more of a need for expertly crafted copy.
And that’s because despite our apparent time-poor existence the vast majority of activities we all take part in online are still based on reading good old fashioned words. From news feeds to search engine results, tweets, updates, e-mails, product reviews and so on.
Amongst all the clamour, finding the right words to tell your company’s story and doing so well and consistently, isn’t easy. Which is why brilliantly crafted copy is still so vital.
Let’s take Twitter. Your company bio is a tiny, tiny space to say everything you want to convey about you, your brand, your ethos, your personality. Get it wrong and you can be bland, confusing, or as irritating as any individual who follows their job description with the word ‘ninja’.
But get your Twitter presence just right and everyone thinks you’re refreshingly different, interesting and not just a faceless corporation.
Remember Sainsbury’s fish pun conversation with a customer? It delighted people everywhere, was widely shared instantly, got them some fantastic PR, and they came out looking like real human beings who cared about engaging with their customers.
Now try doing all that with one picture.