Few aspects of marketing – and that certainly includes copywriting and PR – exist in isolation. Hence the ever-present fall-back position of ‘integrated marketing’. Implicit within this is the concept of devising synergistic and vertically aligned packages that deliver a far better return on investment (ROI).
In a parallel way, the skill-sets involved within a specific marketing discipline – such as the design and print skills needed to create brochures, ads or newsletters – include copywriting as an essential ingredient in the creation of a tangible end product.
So the ways in which the creative and commercial skills of copywriting and PR can be applied boil down to devising innovative packages that pinpoint specific solutions. This avoids the wasted time and resources that are often criticised in advertising and marketing circles – especially by clients who are paying for what are sometimes seen as superfluous (and expensive) services.
Online action? Bring it on!
The latest online marketing techniques – especially social media – have given integrated marketing its biggest-ever shot in the arm. Social media in particular has helped realise the connected nature of the web by linking one site with another – and one person’s views with another – at the click of a mouse.
This has spilled over neatly into more traditional areas of marketing where packages can be created to underpin both tactical and strategic elements. This is all so new that the door is wide open for innovative thinking and applications.
Some would say it was ever thus. The solution was there if you had the flair to find it! For the truly enterprising, if the solution wasn’t there, you would be honour-bound to create one – necessity being the mother of invention.
When it comes to those sub-sets of marketing communications which – for the purposes of this article – cover the various aspects of PR, social media and copywriting, the potential permutations of the ways in which they can be used has grown exponentially. All that remains is for someone to codify all possible outcomes!
The introduction of new media into the marketing mix has blurred the edges of what are regarded as commercially viable solutions. In some cases, the jury is still out on whether certain social media applications are cost-effective – or effective in any way at all in a business-to-business context.
It’s realistic therefore to look at the ways in which copywriting and PR packages can provide discrete solutions to a range of business challenges. And it’s very clear that the standalone virtues of copywriting rely heavily on the complementary skills of visualisation and design.
Tactical and Strategic Thinking…
Does the selling of PR and copywriting as ‘service packages’ amount to the commoditisation of creative services? Or is it making the offering easier to understand by a clear presentation of the package benefits (that ultimately add value and present the client with an elegant solution to specific marketing problems)?
By creating a wide choice of packages, a copywriter or copywriting agency is providing clients with ready-to-use products and services in the same way as an advertising, PR or digital agency would do.
A major benefit is likely to be a far higher level of creative and cost-control over the finished article. For clients, this will result in a seriously professional service at a potentially lower cost. For the copywriter, a premium can justifiably be charged for the unique hands-on skills and project micro-management involved.
Very broadly, ‘packages’ can be seen as either strategic or tactical. Strategic packages adapt and align various PR and copywriting elements to achieve a wider marketing aim such as building corporate reputation or credibility. They can be used to improve marketing communications, boost search engine optimisation (SEO) or cross-fertilise for long-term business building.
‘Tactical’ packages involve specific skill-sets that are finely tuned to maximise the potential of each, but in a wider business setting than a simple copywriting scenario. The client therefore enjoys a self-contained service that goes beyond the mechanics of a pure copywriting brief.
As an example, a tactical package could include the interviewing/research and information gathering that are an integral part of a copywriting brief to create a newsletter or website page. Beyond the copywriting function, a tactical package may involve the copywriter in a project management role by bringing in designers, printers, website coders, photographers and so on.
The benefits of either approach include a closer co-ordinating role on the part of the copywriter. This mirrors the functions of ad agencies where creative groups work with account handlers and others to achieve highly specific marketing solutions.
When a copywriter undertakes these wider functions (and integrates them with copywriting), a better end result will follow, as will more realistic and business-like pricing structures given the value-added nature of the work involved.
A major virtue of tailored packages has to be the sheer practicality of the solution. In simple language, a package is a collection of services that sit together logically to create a profitable outcome for the client.
Copywriters ‘selling-in’ the concept should be creating an image of a multi-layered solution. That may sound complex but an experienced copywriter with an extended collection of skill-sets (and an address book to match!) will soon identify an optimal mix of services.
What clients (and many copywriters) don’t always realise is that copywriting isn’t just about writing commercially. The BUSINESS of copywriting is also about anticipating client needs and generating solutions that will add value and generate profits for clients and copywriters alike.
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