Call us egotistical, but we copywriters we like to think of ourselves as artists. As we weave words together to put products, companies and brands in the best light, we’re also hoping to entertain and inform along the way.
It’s a challenge we relish. We love that moment when our words sound JUST RIGHT. And all HAS been right – so far. Throughout the history of advertising, we knew the challenge and did our best to meet it: our print ads sang with beauty; our radio and TV scripts brought joyful laughs or heartfelt tears.
And then came search engine optimization, or SEO. Now we have to ask, is the art of copywriting dead? Did SEO kill the copywriting star?
Take a look at this pretend web copy for the fictional Star Brand Toothpaste – before and after the web developers get to it.
Want teeth as white as snow? Choose Star Brand Toothpaste.
Want to say goodbye to cavities? Choose Star Brand Toothpaste.
Want to say goodbye to your dentist (even though 4 out of 5 of them recommend us)? Choose Star Brand toothpaste.
Want to be a Star? Choose Star Brand Toothpaste.
Want teeth as white as snow with our teeth whitening? Choose Star Brand Toothpaste with its great teeth whitening properties.
Want to say goodbye to cavities? Choose Star Brand Toothpaste and get rid of cavities with our cavity-fighting ingredients.
Want to say goodbye to your dentist (even though 4 out of 5 of them recommend us)? Choose Star Brand toothpaste, recommended by your dentist.
Want to be a Star? Choose Star Brand Toothpaste, the best toothpaste for you because it whitens your teeth, prevents cavities and is recommended by your dentist.[/one_half]
We exaggerate for affect, but when we produce copy for websites these days all anyone wants to know is How’s the SEO? They “suggest” we “fit in” a few dozen keywords that are most likely to come up in a Google search for that product or service.
So you think it’s our sensitive artist egos? That may be part of it, but this is a business concern as well. It’s all well and good to attract readers to websites via SEO, but once they arrive, shouldn’t they find a decent read? Well written web copy will let the consumer know that the company cares about its work and is experienced enough in its field to write intelligently about it.
On the other hand, SEO is not just another marketing strategy. It’s been proven to boost sales leads, brand recognition and sales themselves. In short, it works.
Moving forward we have a couple of solutions to this new dilemma.
1.) Lock the copywriters and web developers in a room together, provide very little food and don’t let them out for a week. Winner takes all.
2.) Strive for balance. Learn SEO so thoroughly that we’re able to weave it into our web copy so seamlessly that art is saved and business is served.
Do we have a choice?
No, but, as we have throughout history, we relish the opportunity to do what we’ve always done: weave words together to put products, companies and brands in the best light – SEO or not.