Why modern copywriters must be fluent In analytics

The world for marketers is changing … from “tell me how great your campaigns are” to “show me the actual results.” For copywriters, this matters too.

Being able to produce quality copy alone should no longer be enough for professional copywriters. Why? It doesn’t matter how creative or smart your think your writing is.

If you can’t show precisely how and why it’s successful, you’re missing that all important feedback loop to improve (and make a compelling case for why more people should work with you).

Previously, being a great copywriter was about having that high profile client list. But having worked on a well-known media site or hot startup is just the beginning – that alone is only half the story. If you want to be truly persuasive and get conversations with your dream clients, you now have to be numbers savvy too.

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You are now a great copywriter, not purely because of pedigree, but because your content improved conversions on a client website by 40%, or because your brilliantly-worded landing page helped a new publisher grow their email list from 2,000 to 10,000 subscribers in one month.

When I was consulting, those were the types of numbers that would make my ears perk up when my agency was looking at new copywriters to hire. And It’s not just marketing copywriters. We have seen a shift in journalism models as well, where writers on many popular sites are at least partially accountable for the success of a given story (including some brands actually giving bonuses for high trafficked stories).

Copywriting can no longer be considered a soft art that’s impossible to measure. It’s now incredibly easy to get data behind your work and prove success in black and white — and you should highly consider it if you want an edge in the field.

The best part is marketing teams have become much more democratized over the last few years as everyone understands the importance and benefits of sharing data with all stakeholders, something that leads to everyone’s success.

If you want to get an in with an A-list team as a copywriter, the path is simple: begin to assign clear success metrics behind your work when showing samples, or if you’re a copywriting agency, include a healthy amount of proof points and data on your own collateral.

So, don’t just link to a bunch of articles, blog posts, web pages, or email campaigns you wrote. Instead, spend the extra effort to package your work in a case study format with some proof points (hint: start to make this part of your process as you work so you can have a list of successes anytime).

A few sample metrics you could consider including:

  • Results of an webpage A/B test you created (shows you understand how to effectively test two different messages while staying on brand as well as work with analysts).
  • Pageviews for the content your company publishes for thought leadership such as executive posts you ghost wrote (perhaps average views per month, show us you created something that’s in consistent demand not just when first published).
  • Social shares for all your content (indicates you understand how to create sticky content and have your finger on the pulse of what’s sharable).
  • Performance of the emails that you write. Specifically the click through rate and even the number of business-related conversions that result from your email.
  • Anything else that matters to your client in your specific field

One note for Analysts: if you work with copywriters (or really any type of writers) you should create a simple process for these team members to easily see how their work is doing and bring them into your group of stakeholders if they aren’t already there. You could build them their own custom dashboard!

The best copywriters aren’t just writing — they are acting as consultants to their clients (or in-house teams) on how to test and tweak language in order to improve their results. What was once mostly art is now equal parts science.

Even if you’re already in a favorable position and not reporting numbers — what is the harm of at least starting to track your success? You might find initial numbers aren’t great, but they will provide a benchmark of where you are. Then you can work to improve them scientifically by building on past successes.

Adam Singer is Analytics Advocate at Google, a marketing, media and PR industry speaker, startup adviser and blogger. Singer blogs at The Future Buzz and can be found on Twitter.

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