Whether you’re a copywriter or content writer, at some point in your career, if not at several points, you’re likely to be asked to write in a different style of media than that you’re used to. This can be somewhat intimidating if you’re fluent in writing for one particular media: for example, writing a blog post requires an entirely different set of skills to writing a press release.
Even if you have a wealth of examples showing your writing for different media in your portfolio, you may well come across a challenge that you’ve not navigated before. The audience can be a significant factor in this: how do you write an Instagram caption for a brand that sells to 16-25-year-olds when your long-form writing has typically targeted B2B corporations?
If you’re not anticipating such a big shift in your written requirements, it’s better to be prepared than find yourself stuck further down your writing career line. Let’s have a look at different types of media, and more importantly, how to ensure that your writing is on brief every time.
Writing for different media
Identify what it is you’re being asked to write
Knowing what it is you need to write should be obvious, but it’s still important that you hone in on the specifics of the media you’re writing. For example, the media type could be specified as an article, which gives you some idea of where to start. However, an article can encompass a myriad of different requirements, which is why you should have a checklist that’ll help you do the digging you need to establish how you’ll achieve the finished product.
Media writing checklist
Note down the following specifications:
The target audience can vary vastly, from young teenagers to large corporations. Already the audience is more than just about age or gender: you need to have the ability to speak just as fluently to at-home readers as you do the most serious of professions. Digital School of Marketing has some top tips on adapting your writing to different market segments, which brings us on to the next element to hone in on…
Your tone of voice is crucial when it comes to writing for different media. A large corporation, after all, may well target their content at young teenagers. Written tone is invariably intrinsically linked to the type of media required, as writing a tweet comes with obvious limitations due to the nature of the platform. Alternatively, a blog post could be 2,000 words plus: plenty of room to be as serious or as colloquial as you want (or need) to be.
Press releases are notorious for having multiple stipulations. You’ll be required to include several bits of information that don’t always fit in content writing fluidly, such as price: including the ‘£’ symbol in any text, for example, looks jarring! However, it’s important that you find a way to incorporate the client’s needs, however unnatural they feel as part of your writing inclusion.
How do you effectively communicate in all your writing?
The most important thing to remember when it comes to copywriting and content writing, whatever the media, is that your chief aim is to communicate clearly. After all, that’s the essence of being a writer. Keep this in mind throughout your checklist and planning process: how can you get your core message to your readers succinctly, without missing out on any must-haves?
Bear in mind that visuals are essential, and we’re not just talking about images. Structure can be make-or-break when it comes to adapting your copywriting for different media. Think about blog posts: it’d be hard to sustain anyone’s attention for a couple of thousand words without intriguing subheadings that inspire the reader to keep reading.
Make sure you check out online tools and templates that will help guide you through addressing an unfamiliar writing brief, or help sharpen your skills when it comes to old hat content writing, such as blogging.
All writing has a storytelling element involved!
Storytelling can often seem best left to prose authors rather than content writers. However, no matter what you’re writing, it should always tell a story. What do we mean by this?
Not characters or a plot per se, but a definitive arc that guides the reader to its key takeaway, whether that be a specific piece of information or a call-to-action (CTA).
Similarly to keeping your writing concise, try not to expand on unnecessary tangents or add ‘filler’ copy – i.e. text that does nothing to help achieve the goal of the media you’re writing for. Doing this will, above anything, put your readers off, even if you’re writing a quick piece of sales copy for a pair of shoes, for example. In this instance, filler copy could be something as benign as being generic – if it’s not relevant to the product specifically, get rid of it!
Writing well doesn’t stop when you’ve finished
Be it a press release, blog post, article, social media copy, product description, web page… whatever you’ve written, it’s reasonable to expect a reaction from readers, particularly if it’s an opinion piece or a piece of writing that invokes a response. Embrace this, positive or negative, and you’ll sooner be able to establish yourself as a writer that is versatile, adaptable and ready to engage with readers.
Taking this approach will also help you gain traction in terms of writing opportunities. For example, if you work freelance and a particular business reads a blog post that you’ve written and responded to commentary on, they’ll know that you’re ready to embrace feedback and that you’re confident in the work you produce. Give the impression that you’re a strong communicator and you’ll become one – even if you don’t feel at that stage yet!
Where do I start?
If you’re looking for instant writing opportunities across a range of different media, Copify is ideal. Encompassing every media mentioned here and more, you can pick and choose what you want to write and take on new challenges for real clients. If you’re a business looking to get several different types of media content written, get in touch with us today – we have copywriters skilled in every type of copywriting.
Main image credit: NMG Network
Internal image credits: William Iven, Franck V., Kelly Sikkema