Interactive Copywriting: The Difference

Deal with it, advertisers. Interactive copywriting differs from traditional copywriting. But how?

First: Don’t throw out the baby with the soggy diaper. Declaring yourself a marketing interactive copywriter requires you to master the skills of traditional copywriting. If you’re going to enjoy success in this business, you still must be able to:

  • Concept with an interactive designer or art director
  • Come up with 9,003 big ideas and executions
  • Endure dirty looks from creative directors
  • Come up with better big ideas and executions
  • Write smart, compelling, conceptual copy

That’s hard. No matter what kind of copywriter you call yourself, chances are good you’ll need to attend an advertising portfolio school or take a concentrated, mentor-guided journey before landing that first job. Building up to interactive copywriting requires mastery of additional considerations:

  1. Your audience cares. (Hallelujah!)

    Because online and mobile initiatives require active participation, people reading your bullet points, listening to your podcast or watching your spot hold you to a higher standard. You must be able to answer their questions and make them smarter. This means you must be able to weave conceptual solutions with meaty, often expletory, content.

  2. Your audience needs you to be good at Jenga.

    Interactive copywriting is how we create choose-your-own adventure stories for corporate America. It doesn’t matter how well you can write. If you can’t create (or collaboratively understand) site maps and information architecture, you’re ignoring user experience. Your copy will fail. In other words, you’ve got to keep a beanie and a pocket protector in your soul.

  3. Your audience wants to be told what to do.

    Yes, traditional copywriting includes calls to action. But you’re not trying for a point-something percent response rate. Part trail guide and part waiter, you must eliminate guesswork and name action steps clearly and compellingly. Tell them to open the e-newsletter, download the widget or bookmark for a time when their boss isn’t peering over their shoulder.

  4. But, your audience wants to tell you what to do.

    As a wise mentor put it, interactive isn’t another media space for messages. It’s fundamentally changing the nature of branded conversation. Your audience wants to take part in your creations. Allow them to customize, personalize and navigate their own journey with your brand. Give them space to speak up.

  5. Your audience is ready to run with the message.

    Perhaps you’ve heard of the term viral marketing? Or social media? Meaning your boss wants you to crank out a blockbuster right now? In order for someone to pass along your message, you must make it compelling (hilarious, unusual or somehow otherwise relevant), customizable and somehow better when shared.

Interactive copywriting adds distinctly new skills to the traditional bread and rum butter of Mad Men-esque copywriting. That’s cool. After all, geek is the new glamorous.