understanding copy in the digital era

digital is where it’s at and where it’s headed. in this new world, information bombards potential prospects from every turn, and to adapt, they’ve become selective in what earns their attention. as copywriters, it’s our job to keep up and engage a new, slightly more distracted audience.

for pointers on approaching the digital realm, The Copy Lab invited copywriter and brand strategist jean railla to share her insight on digital writing techniques.

working with computer

copy should be short, specific and straightforward
you have as few as three seconds to convince a user to keep reading. it’s imperative that a site is easy to navigate and quick to scan. to-the-point heads and subheads, bullets, pull quotes and graphics are all effective techniques for enhancing scannability. display key messaging in the upper left, where the eye goes first, and congregate important points from the top down.

engage your brand’s “influencers”
great success has been had when brands interact online with the people who love them. know your voice and stick with it to strengthen the connection to your audience. no detail is too small: don’t underestimate the power of personalizing your site’s feedback or error messages — they could provide even more opportunity for branded wordplay.

copywriter = tour guide
there is no beginning or end to the web, which means users can (and will) enter a site from other than its homepage. it’s up to the copywriter (you!) to provide direction and make it clear where or what readers should do next. CTAs should be short and clear: sign up today; request more information; download now.

consistency is a must-do
if you call it a cart instead of a shopping cart, make sure it appears that way everywhere. put together a vocab list and pull from it as you write — it will keep your copy on brand and help orient the user. avoid outdated “click here to…” directions and opt for action-oriented “learn more” with a link.

the digital landscape moves quickly…the most successful copywriters will keep pace. connect with other writers and creatives at The Copy Lab’s upcoming speed-date networking event on tuesday, april 16. reserve your spot now. it’s an event not to be missed.

–meredith clinton bell

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CL snapshot: brand strategist jean railla

jean

a flash interview with jean railla

brand strategist

three words that sum up your job:

impossible! what i say is that i am an observer and creator of culture.

[I’m a:]

published author

freelance copywriter, with an emphasis on digital and social tools

instructor on ‘brand writing’ and ‘copywriting for the web’

cultural producer for public radio’s word of mouth

food blogger mealbymeal.blogspot.com

passionate cook

the highlight of your career (so far!):Get Crafty

creating the online community getcrafty.com (no longer exists) and publishing Get Crafty: Hip Home Ec with Broadway Books (Random House)

working with Nike (at R/GA) on the launch of NIKEgoddess

rebranding PS3 with a team of fellow parents

teaching cooking to kindergartners…

the best advice you’ve ever been given:

don’t take it personally.

if you weren’t a creative, you’d be:

full-time blogger/writer

Hendricks Gincopy or campaigns you admire:

i love how seamless of a brand experience the Hendrick’s Gin has created.  I also admire how Starbuck’s has created a public space with their coffee houses.

best two reasons to attend your Copy Lab event:

i offer new ways of looking at interactive media.

gain a better understanding to how brands are allowing their consumers to shape what they do.

jean joins us tomorrow for a look at digital advertising and the disappearing line between brand and culture. sign up now!

from jean’s portfolio: