How can we improve the state of digital copywriting?

Marketers face lots of challenges when it comes to planning and creating effective digital copy, our new survey shows. So what do they need to help them improve things?

 How can we improve the state of digital copywriting?

As our State of Digital Copywriting survey shows, content professionals face a wide range of organisational challenges that get in the way of great digital copy – from a lack of time and resources, to cultural ignorance about what good copy should even look like. So what can be done to address these challenges?

Challenge 1: ‘People don’t get what good copy is’

Almost exactly 60 per cent of respondents say this is the biggest challenge when it comes to producing good digital copywriting in their organisation.

The answer: What’s needed here is education – communicating to people both the ROI of effective content, but also demonstrating what best-practice digital content actually looks like.

Challenge 2: ‘Too much to do, not enough time’ 

This is a challenge for 55 per cent of respondents, and especially for b2b marketers generally.

The answer: There are lots of ways you can make your content go further and make best use of both your time and your team – creating a piece you can spin off into different formats, developing an editorial calendar, harnessing the knowledge of your internal experts, and so on. For more on this, see How to meet the b2b marketing challenge and How to get more value from content – reduce, reuse, recycle.

Challenge 3: ‘We can’t get the budget’

Our survey respondents tell us that getting budget for content is a major headache.

The answer: It’s easier to build a compelling argument for more investment in content if you can measure copy effectiveness in some tangible way. At the moment, 1 in 5 of our respondents aren’t measuring content at all, so putting in place some basic strategic metrics is a good place to start.

Choose a simple self-contained project or two, get some demonstrable results, and start to build the business case for greater investment in content.

Challenge 4: ‘We don’t have a plan’ 

Many respondents say they tend to create content in a tactical rather than strategic way. Only 25 per cent of respondents have a formal content strategy in place. Just 1 in 10 always follows a written brief, and almost half say they don’t have content guidelines or don’t use them.

The answer: Do some planning, develop some guidelines. Without some basic strategic sense of what your content activity is for – audience, business goals, calls to action, success criteria, metrics – content is doomed to fail. You can’t benchmark your efforts, build on your efforts, or even know what success looks like.

And without basic guidelines around content and tone of voice you can’t deliver a consistent, on-brand experience that’s in line with digital best practice. And when it comes to content production, planning ahead in true old-school editorial style can generate enormous production efficiencies and drive up quality by allocating to each part of the creation process the time and resource it deserves.