Times have certainly changed over the past century. Back in the early 1900s, toward the end of marketing’s so-called Production Era, it was rare for a business to actually promote its products or services. The focus at the time was on increasing production and lowering the costs of storage and distribution, as there was a seemingly unlimited demand for products and little need for advertising.

Beginning in the 1920s, as we entered the Selling Era of marketing, copywriting became a secret of the pros. The shift in focus from mass production to selling created a need for advertising content that would leverage evolving channels to carry a message and persuade customers to make a purchase.

Related: Great content needs to be part of your social media campaign

copywriting principlesThese channels progressed over time in response to changes in both marketing and technology. The evolution of print demanded creative yet informative headlines. Radio copy needed to capture people’s attention with compelling scripts. Television then integrated scripts with motion pictures. And today, social networking limits a headline to as little as 140 characters and introduces a new era of copywriting.

Although communications channels continue to progress, now faster than ever, the secret to strong copywriting is to apply time-tested, proven ideas to both the new and traditional channels. The following are the fundamentals of developing quality written content:

  • Draw the reader’s attention. Whether writing a headline, lead, title, post or tweet, don’t waste your readers’ time. Give them the “goods” right away with creative, personable and readable content.
  • Keep copy clear and concise. Be straight and sincere. Briefly spell out the main points and explain ideas that need more clarification. The more focused you are on your target audience, the better your chances of meeting their needs.
  • Focus on the reader. Yes, your copy will contain information and facts about your product or service, but be mindful that clients’ needs, wants, desires, problems or concerns are the top priority. Write using the same language as the reader so that he or she understands the message and its intent.
  • Include a call to action. The goal of every component in a marketing campaign is to encourage some sort of action. This action must be spurred by great copy, but without coming on too strong.
  • Be detailed. When generalities are used throughout marketing campaigns and copy, a reader feels less confident in a brand or product. Facts sell, so give proof and add credibility to your messages.

Although marketers might not agree on which channels are best for communicating to target audiences, what we can all agree on is the importance of well-written copy. From writing for internet banner ads to traditional press releases, and from a radio spot to a Facebook post, every interaction your audience has with your business should result in a positive experience.

ProPRcopy is one of the leading providers of copywriting and content creation services in North America.