Content writers are supposed to be big readers, but geez! there’s so much to keep up on. Here’s the best information pertaining to website copywriting from eMarketer’s solid report, Digital Trends 2012.
- People are going berserk for iPads, and Digital Trends 2012 spends a lot of time reviewing how companies are creating movies, games and interactive apps to engage customers. They call these visual toys “magnetic content,” because they PULL the consumer to the brand, rather than interrupting entertaining/educational content on television/radio/print.
Specifically, the report finds that American tablet users will number 89.5 million in 2014 (1 in 3!), up from 33.7 million in 2011. More, tablet users will make up 35.6% of internet users in 2014, up from 2011’s 14.5%.
What about the content writer’s friend, good old text?
Enter Flipboard and Zinio, software that puts a magazine, newspaper or book page right on the iPad in magazine color and format. Also called “digital newsstands,” these software applications collect “the content of social media (blogs, Facebook, etc.) and other websites . . . and allow users to “flip” through their social-networking feeds and feeds from websites that have partnered with the company,” according to Wikipedia. The New York Times is now on Flipboard. That’s right. You can now read the paper in bed again comfortably, without the encumbrance of a keyboard (but not the bathtub, no no, not the bathtub). Content writers should be exploring whether to change a writing style to complement these platforms. (Does that mean me? I have to research it? Okay, on the To Do list.)
- Consumers will expect their content to move easily from Flipboard to desktop computer to smart phone, retaining the same shape and structure. While this demand resides more on the plates of IT people (phew!), the savvy content writer will keep it in the back of her mind when writing.
- Video/text flip flop. Rather than a video being the whole advertisement (like a commercial) with a little text at the end (“e.g. “BMW – Sheer Driving Pleasure” in white letters on the screen as the car winds around another turn in the Scottish Highlands), the video gets reduced to “in-page,” supplementing text and other forms. If a concept is better conveyed through video, a content writer can keep in mind that the words can provide the flow, structure and sales messages while the video delivers the more dry information.
- Measurement increasingly more crucial. While customers for a long time seemed to accept that blogs and other social media platforms were too new (“let’s just get our feet wet”) to measure, the Honeymoon period is over. Clients will expect measurable return on investment more and more. Remember to take baseline measurements and make sure the client has an analytics program to measure the success of titles you devise.
- EReaders are losing out to Tablets, which makes sense since Tablets can do so much more. For the content writer, know that people will be reading, taking a minute to check email, making notes, even taking a photo.
- Important publications are migrating to video. The Onion is a prime example. Before you get too scared, however . . .
- Ebooks and Epublications will most likely revive the reading of text. Hooray! Tablets will bring a renaissance to the written word, and who cares whether its written in ink on paper or on ether on a screen. The tablet has incorporated comfortable reading with other tasks like email, note-taking, etc. eBook publishing revenues should hit 13% in 2014, up from 3% in 2010.
- The wallet on the phone. Starbucks started this with its QR codes, making spending money on big, bitter drinks easier than ever. Expect many more companies to develop this
- Magnetic content is more of a conversation than a soapbox. The website content writer must put prompts in the prose like: “what do you think?” “Do you agree?” “Have you had an experience like this?” It can be a challenge for us oldsters who’ve converted to website copywriting to remember that what we write is often just the beginning of the long conversation.
What Digital Trends Will Boost Your Content Writing Business?
Keep in mind that the earliest adopters of these trends will be the big brands: Coca Cola, Red Bull, Ford, etc. It may pay to watch and see how the heavy hitters adapt before making any significant moves for our medium to smaller sized businesses. The bottom line is that the two words I read all over that report were “Tablet” and “Video.” The good news for content writers is that world will always need the written word, even in video (“scripts!”). Need help with website copywriting or getting a handle on the future of web content writing? Contact us!