What’s on the Horizon: Copywriting Trends from Industry Experts

Time to Read: 7 mins

Copywriting Trends Summary

  • We spoke to industry experts to get a glimpse into copywriting trends for 2021.
  • The pharmaceutical industry is booming, copy voice is changing, social listening is being utilized and advertising channels are shifting.
  • Keeping up with pop culture trends and knowing your niche will give you the upper hand when it comes to writing copy.
  • Profiles copywriting recruiters can help you find a copywriter for your team or take the next step in your copywriting career.

What do all wordsmiths have in common? Well, not very much, as we found from speaking with two copywriting experts. Copywriters draw from various lexicons, painting a wide range of images with their messaging.
Understanding how to craft the perfect call-to-action (CTA) is an ever-changing pursuit that requires copywriters to be in touch with their audience and up to date with current copywriting trends so they can produce relevant copy.

Below are perspectives gathered from two talented copywriters based in San Francisco (SF) and Washington, DC who have observed various copywriting trends within the industry.

Copywriting Insight from Subject Matter Experts

The first copywriting expert is a freelance creative director and published author with fifteen years of copywriting experience currently based in San Francisco. They have written for some of the most influential firms in the Bay Area, including Twitter, Apple, and Google as well as many world-renowned ad agencies such as Ogilvy, DDB, and 72andSunny.

The second copywriter based in Washington, DC has worked on projects for clients such as U.S. Cellular, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Ciena, and Danaher Corporation. They recently started as a full-time Junior Copywriter at a large healthcare agency.

These copywriters gave us a glimpse into emerging trends in the field and what we can expect to see in 2021.

Copywriting Trends to Look Out For

Pharma Industry on the Rise

For marketers, the clients they work for often fluctuate because of changing market conditions or because a company has a desire to advertise in a new space or target a new demographic. For the SF-based copywriter, this was undoubtedly the case. They have taken on clients in thriving industries like the health & wellness space, specifically within the supplement, psychedelic, and cannabis industries. As new companies emerge, it is crucial to gauge how a brand’s voice will change. For example, the cannabis industry conveys a lot of emotion in their ads, according to the SF-based copywriter.

 The DC-based copywriter we spoke with recently began working in-house at one of the largest pharma ad agencies in the world. Their new position is indicative of a marketplace trend showing the growth within the Pharma industry. In fact, Pharmaceutical Commerce Magazine quotes an IQVIA study and identifies that the value of the pharma industry will reach $1.5 trillion by 2023, a significant increase from $1.2 trillion in 2018. The increase in revenue for the pharmaceutical sector translated into increased digital advertising spending in the healthcare and pharma industry, which will grow by 14.2% to reach $9.53B in 2020. If an enterprise is flush with capital, it increases the likelihood of outsourcing work to ad agencies. For marketers, this can transform the job market as certain ad agencies look to hire due to an influx of project needs from their clients.

Copywriting Voice

In the current marketing space, it is crucial to get to the point when writing copy. Why? According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 searchers will read headline copy before clicking a post, but only 2 out of 10 will actually read the post. Meaning a writer’s copy must be concise and compelling. But how? According to the SF-based copywriter, it starts with understanding the client. They have worked closely with Eli Lilly, Toyota, and Levi Strauss and Co, mentioning that every client has a different tone of voice. “Each entity has a spirit with a voice,” they said, and the trend over the last five years has been similar to that of; simple and concise. 

However, they pointed out that over the past few years, “everyone was channeling a simple tone in the image of Apple, and now they are not able to cut through with simple anymore”. So, has the trend of simplicity faded away and brought forth a new style to captivate the audience? They think yes. According to the SF-based copywriter, there is a growing movement towards personalized copy. Whether it be subscription packages or creating multiple versions within a campaign to reach different people in a target demographic, personalization catches more eyes. Personalized CTA’s are 202% more effective than other styles of CTA’s. (HubSpot).

According to the SF-based copywriter, writing effective copy takes a writer who truly understands human behavior. The writer must translate the strategy and goals of their client and analyze their demographic accordingly. Luckily for copywriters, there are troves of feedback waiting to fuel their next headline or slogan.

Social Listening

The SF-based copywriter suggested reading comments under social media posts where real people are using the product. This process, formally known as social listening, is a method the DC-based copywriter also mentioned using. They spoke about utilizing TikTok as a tool to better understand the consumer. Social listening involves monitoring social media mentions, hashtags, engagements, and comments to evaluate social media’s sentiment on a particular topic. By using social listening, companies can fine-tune their social media captions to include more relevant keywords in hopes of evoking specific emotions from the viewer. For example, the DC-based copywriter alluded to a shaving cream advertisement from EOS that had stand-out copy inspired by a viral TikTok video.

The Importance of Linguistics and Grammar

Precision is the name of the game with the level of brevity that accompanies the copywriting space. 74% of web readers pay attention to the quality of spelling and grammar (Nielson Norman Group). The DC-based copywriter spoke of some of the linguistic pitfalls to avoid in 2021. They mentioned dead words such as ‘unprecedented.’ They also pointed out a tonal shift occurring in the copy space; a departure from heavy and emotional copy to casual, lighthearted, optimistic, and even sometimes sarcastic copy.

The SF-based copywriter spoke on their international work experience to suggest writing concise copy that has a direct CTA. They pointed out that while advertising is more of a hard sell in America, it is more conceptual in the UK and EU. Even if you are writing for a domestic audience, it is wise advice to write shorter form, punchy copy that makes the information more relatable.

Outlook for Copywriters in 2021

Advertising Methods and Channels

Our interviewees also touched on what is on the horizon for copywriters in 2021. The DC-based copywriter pointed out that out-of-home advertising is on the rise. After a heavily saturated past sixteen months, many ads are moving away from an online space. According to the Statista Research Department, in 2020, digital out-of-home advertising spending in the United States was estimated to amount to 2.72 billion U.S. dollars. It is projected to further grow to 3.84 billion dollars by the end of 2023. This is good news for copywriters struggling to land captivated eyeballs. Research conducted by The Neilsen Group found that 71% of digital billboard viewers found that digital out-of-home ads stood out more than online ads.

As for the role technology will play in the coming year, not only has it revolutionized the once print-heavy out-of-home advertising space, but it is also impacting how marketing departments operate internally. The SF-based copywriter spoke of IBM Watson’s success using internal data to create a human side to their marketing. For example, IBM Watson’s marketing analytics can inform decisions on whether to use humor to target a client. This is a bright spot for a tech field that brings in top-tier copywriters to humanize their largely fact-based and somewhat sterile marketing.

Staying Up-to-Date

To help us stay in line with these evolving copywriting trends, our copywriters offered some advice. The DC-based copywriter shared that many loyal consumers can be found on Reddit, sharing unique insights about brands and products. They also like to turn to literature and creative writing sites like pw.org or sites like moat.com when they are looking for strictly copy and ad inspiration.

They mentioned the need to be a student of the game with today’s fast-paced trends, especially on social media. This could include spending time on budding platforms or absorbing the newest ad campaigns on sites like adsoftheworld.com, where there are 110,000+ advertisements featured.

In our conversation, they also noted the growing space for influencers in advertising. That relates to copywriters because they often write captions for influencers who post advertisements to pre-existing networks. This copy must be tailored to the influencers’ network and discreetly show the post is an advertisement. 

Understand Your Niche

The SF-based copywriter shared that in an age with blurring lines between different forms of copy, it is increasingly important to understand your niche. They elaborated by saying that copywriting is more emotional while content writing is more rational. Medium’s research on this front says that the ideal blog post is seven minutes long, approximately 1,600 words. However, AdEspresso analyzed the text from 752,626 Facebook ads in 2018 and found that the average headline is five words, and the average ad text is 19 words. The differences between copywriting and content writing are much like the trends touched upon above. They can be subtle or stark, but flawless execution of either requires a flexible mindset and awareness of the copywriting industry.

Copywriting Recruitment with Profiles

Copywriters give a brand its personality and voice. The goal is to create content that reaches the intended audience and promotes engagement. Profiles works with leading brands and top-tier copywriter candidates to make a perfect match. Reach out to learn more about finding a copywriter for your team or landing the next step in your copywriting career.

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