There’s nothing better than getting comfy with a good magazine at the weekend. Or perhaps you prefer getting lost down a Buzzfeed rabbit hole?
Whichever side of the digital vs print battle you fall into, one thing is for sure. As a copywriter, you’re expected to write for a wide range of mediums and have a deep understanding of the nuances of each. So whether you’re writing for print or digital, you’ll need to craft persuasive copy that captures your customer’s emotions and attention!
In this post, we’ll explore the differences between writing print and digital ads so that you can improve your copywriting technique and woo your audiences.
Digital VS Print: What’s the Difference?
Digital copy refers to any ad that’s published online. This means everything from search engine marketing to banner ads and paid social media. If you’re reading it on your smartphone, tablet, or mobile, it’s a digital ad.
Print copy is exactly the opposite. Print ads run in publications, such as newspapers, magazines, and trade-specific publications. They may be included alongside the page content, woven throughout the content in the form of an advertorial, or be separate, full-page ads.
There’s fierce debate over which form of advertising yields the best results. But in reality, both ad styles are still immensely popular and a blended marketing strategy is usually best for both B2B and B2C businesses. As a novice copywriter, you’ll need to know how to write for each before deciding whether to specialize further down the line.
How Do I Adapt My Writing Style for Digital and Print Copy?
Nowadays, the majority of consumers view both digital content and print publications, although digital content consumption is growing at a faster pace. However, this doesn’t mean you can use the same copy for both ad types. We make conscious decisions about what, where, and why we read and these factors aren’t the same for each channel.
Reading print, whether in the form of magazines, newspapers, or books, is often thought of as a leisure activity. It’s something we choose to do to unwind in the evenings or relax on Sunday afternoon!
As a result, we’re open to new information when reading print; studies have shown that readers retain more information when reading printed material. Conversely, whilst we read print to relax, we use the web to find specific information- the internet is, in effect, the world’s library. Reading online is typically more task-driven as people search for the questions they want answers to.
As a copywriter, you need to adapt your writing to the consumer’s purpose. This means keeping digital ads informative, helpful, and advice based. Focus on addressing questions relating to the product/service you are advertising or show how that product solves a problem your potential buyer is facing to get the best results.
For print ads, you can be more creative and promotional. Write copy that invokes curiosity in the reading and makes them want to discover more about your product.
When writing for print publications, the length of your ad is usually pre-determined, as is the form and structure of your writing. You’ll normally be expected to adopt the format of the publication and stick to defined word counts. Digital ads, on the other hand, provide more flexibility.
As reader’s attention spans are shorter online, ads tend to be much shorter. They’re also attention-seeking; American’s see a staggering 4,000-10,000 pieces of content every day and your role as a professional copywriter, is to write eye-catching copy that cuts through all the noise. Above all else, when writing digital copy you need to stand out!
Editing and Proofing
One of the significant benefits of digital ads is that unlike printed ads, your copy isn’t set in stone! Once you print your ad in a magazine it’s unleashed upon the world- there’s no recall option if you make a mistake or if you need to adjust something further down the line.
To that end, copywriters need to have finely tuned editing and proofing skills. It’s not enough to be a great author, you need to have the whole package. Our advice is that print copywriters carry out additional rounds of proofreading than they might otherwise for digital. Step away from your copy overnight, and come back to it the next day with fresh eyes to make sure it’s word perfect!
For digital, take advantage of your ability to make changes and tweak your copy regularly so that remains as relevant as the day it was first published.
Is Print Still Relevant?
The popularity of digital ads and the ability to update copy as your clients grow might have you asking the question: is print still relevant? The answer is a resounding yes. Both mediums have their benefits and when combined to form a unified marketing strategy, they reinforce each other by encouraging clients through your marketing funnel.
Print ads are often the first experience a prospective customer has with your product or service. For example, if your client offers cloud hosting, they’ll want to target IT, Service Providers. You can do this by placing targeted print ads in industry-specific publications (this is your top of funnel activity).
Once they become aware of your offering, the customer might head to a URL placed in the print ad. Que your digital copy skills. You can then reinforce your messaging through banner ads and other web content that nurtures the buyer through the sales process. Rather than print or digital, the focus should be on print AND digital copy.
Want to Learn More About Digital and Print Advertising?
Whether you’re an aspiring copywriter or already established in your career, there’s no denying that being skilled in both digital and printed copy is the key to remaining in demand and attracting clients.
If you’re looking to learn more about digital vs print copy, the San Francisco School of Copy Writing has the solution. Our online copywriting 101 courses will improve your writing and help you drive more customers to take action. Check out our upcoming courses to get started.