The reason? Marcom and PR activities for many high-tech companies are shifting from traditional, document-based communications to more dynamic, multimedia forms of information sharing and dialogue.
In the past, the marketing-communication process for new product launches typically started with a checklist of "we need a data sheet, white paper, press release, and a few case studies."
Now, with communications media from print documents to webinars, videos, and podcasts, from web pages to blogs, wikis, and Twitter tweets, marketers and their copy writers need to look at what they produce in a whole new way.
Communications planning can now begin with questions such as:
- Who are the different audiences we want to reach with this product?
- What will they want to know about it?
- What are the best ways and places to reach them?
- How can we develop appropriate content for each of these outlets?
- How can we maximize the visibility and use of our content elements?
- How can we ensure that all content presents our information accurately, clearly, consistently, and coherently?
The result of this analysis is likely to be a unique list of content resources to develop for each marketing activity -- a mix of traditional print documents with web and social media content.
For the copywriter, working in this new world means expanding your thinking and writing skills beyond the traditional document definitions.
You'll need to learn how to think in visuals as well as words, from creating image concepts with graphic designers to writing scripts for Flash-based web presentations, video broadcasts, and webinars.
You will also need to become a master at crafting "bits and chunks" -- or, as it is more formally called, "atomized" content, that lends itself to easy referencing and replication across the web and blogosphere.
You will need to understand copywriting techniques for search engine optimization certainly, but also effective strategies for tagging and writing "link bait" copy, the text that can attract visitors to your blog or website.
For those of you with experience as technical communicators writing online manuals and help files, the concept of content development and management isn't new. But it may not be implemented as formally by a marcom group as it may be by the technical publications group.
If you have always been a copywriter, especially writing long-form marketing materials, you have some learning ahead about new ways to conceive, write, and manage your information.
And if you're like me, with experience in both the technical writing and copywriting realms, it is a matter of learning the best content development principles, practices, resources, and skills.
I will be exploring this topic more in 2009 and sharing the resources I find in future blog posts. But to begin, I looked at my book Copywriting That Sells High Tech, where I found especially useful ideas for content marketing in these chapters and sections:
- Chapter 6: Content Types describes how to handle the types of subject matter typically found in marketing materials for technical products, services, and companies.
- Chapter 5: The section on Visuals; also see my recommendations for infographics.
- Chapters 10-12: For each of the sales, press, and alliance materials described in these chapters, I present a list of content ideas that can be adapted to many media types.
Are you starting to see a shift in the nature of your writing assignments? If so, how is this shift changing your work and writing skills? Which resources have you found to be useful as you learn to write for podcasts, Webinars, blog posts, and other social media outlets? How is your marketing department starting to practice content management?
Share your insights by entering a comment on this post.