5 Things SEO Copywriters Can Learn from Traditional Marketing

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You always hear people in the SEO industry talking about how traditional marketers need to step aside because online marketing is the future of the industry. While I certainly agree Internet marketing is increasing in importance by the day, I think it’s unwise to completely ignore the fundamentals of traditional marketing.

As a copywriter, I believe we can learn a lot from our print advertising counterparts. By studying their techniques, we can learn how to create stronger copy that gets better results. Remember, SEO copywriting isn’t just about keyword placement; it’s about converting visitors into customers.

Here are 5 things SEO copywriters can learn from their predecessors.

  • Sell the Benefits- The first mistake many online copywriters make is to get distracted explaining the features of their product to website readers. Look, nobody cares if you make youth sports apparel from a unique dazzle cloth blend with rib knit waistbands. The customer wants to know if your product is durable and will stand up to repeated washings. Tell them specifically how they will benefit, and you’ll begin to see more responsive website visitors.


  • Keep it Short- In copywriting, they often tell you to make your content as short as possible; then, cut it in half. Brevity is key. Now, sometimes that flies in the face of what we’re taught as SEOs (the more content for Google to crawl the better.) However, I believe you can have the best of both worlds. A typical 400 word webpage can look very short, if presented properly. Keep in mind that online readers tend to scan your text, and present them with short, easy-to-scan paragraphs. This helps you get your point across quickly and effectively.


  • Strong Call to Action- Traditional copywriters will tell you that everything hinges on your call to action. If you want to snap your readers out of their passivity, you have to make them take action. Your call to action should give the reader the incentive to act right now. Limited time offers and free information giveaways tend to provide effective motivation for taking action. Don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you want them to do. The clearer you are, the better.


  • Use Text Formatting- One thing you notice instantly when you pick up a piece of print marketing is the text formatting. Your eyes are automatically drawn to bolded words and other unique text formatting. Text formatting is particularly important online where reader’s attention span is much shorter. Use bolded headings and italicized phrases to direct your reader’s eyes to the key points of your copy. This will help lead them to their final destination: the call to action.


  • Talk with the reader- The best copywriters know how to engage in a discussion with the reader. Nobody wants to be talked down to. Your reader is too smart for that. Engage them by writing copy that sounds like you’re speaking with them. Show them that you understand their problems. Talk with them to lead them to the conclusion that you can help them solve their problems. Personal copy is much more effective online than stiff, hard sell content.
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