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Marketing Copywriting Forecast 2008: 5 predictions that can improve your copy in the New Year

Is copy still king in 2008? What trends will most affect your marketing copywriting this year? Can knowledge of predictors help you hone content, target prospects and better engage your customers? Here are five New Year predictions for copywriters that just may give you the competitive edge.

Prediction #1: You’ll join Facebook or another social network—even if you’re forty-something.
Can’t fit your big toe into a pair of Forever 21 low-rise jeans? Don’t listen to Ben Kweller? Sorry, those excuses don’t exempt you from social networking. As a marketer you need to build online community, stay on top of emerging trends, and identify opportunities.

So ignore your disgusted teenager’s cutting comments—“Oh. My. God. Mom. Old people on Facebook are losers!!”—and create a simple social network profile. Feel free to peruse my Facebook profile—with the following caveat: I am a loser. In the first two months after joining Facebook, only two people “friended” me—my husband and another mom checking out the medium.

Prediction #2: Your print materials will start to look more like online content.
Time-pressed customers increasingly read print materials the way they read online content. They scan pages quickly to decide whether or not your carefully crafted copy is worth their precious time. So use informative—not arch and clever—subheads. Make scanning easier with bullets and lists along with short words, sentences and paragraphs.

I’m a fan of Future Now’s brilliant Persuasive Online Copywriting and use their persona-targeted tips for print as well as web content.

Prediction #3: Fifteen minutes of fame—and more—can be yours through the magic of video.
Experimental applications like Utterz and Seesmic make it easy—okay, easier—for us tech-challenged incompetents to create, post and share videos.

Do you really need to become an auteur? No. We’re not talking DreamWorks production values. With little more than a webcam and your brilliant ideas you can create very effective audio and video pieces that support or even supplant some of your print materials.

People are desperate for edited, relevant content in accessible formats. Spoken and viewed articles, newsletters, tip sheets and blog posts are a welcome relief for many busy customers.

Still not a believer? Check out 2007’s must-watch video, Shift Happens, to learn about the current exponential data barrage. One example: More unique new information will be generated in the next 12 months than was created in the past 5,000 years.

Prediction #4: Green will be the new black for sophisticated customers.
Be sure to tout your company’s environmental efforts—whether you actually purvey green products and services or are incorporating more earth-friendly packaging and practices. Seems like a no-brainer, right? But some product marketers—Cut-Rite’s terrific wax paper sandwich bags come to mind—seem oblivious to the double impact of brand equity and environmental friendliness.

Note that your savviest customers now turn a jaundiced eye on easy-fix-let’s-switch-light-bulbs-and-save-the-planet promises. Skepticism—and economic concerns for mass market customers—may be obstacles.

Let people know about your association with organics, locally grown and made products, less or no packaging, green energy alternatives, environmentally-friendly building materials and low-carbon or reduced waste manufacturing and transporting policies.

Prediction #5: Snail mail will make a comeback.
Today more and more marketers and executives filter or delete unopened email. An increasing number follow Tim Ferriss—author of The 4-Hour Workweek—and adopt a Low-Information Diet, checking email only a couple of times a day and answering it even less frequently.

When you need a decision-maker’s attention, send a hand-written note delivered by ye olde mail carrier. Heavy, premium stationary and a fountain-penned cursive hand are hard to ignore.

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Think my predictions are a crock? Let me change your mind: Explore my articles and resources.

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