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This site is currently under construction. We are, however, pleased to say that the SMU 102 Digital Copywriting Unit is now open. We've also added Marketing Principles and an Intro to Public Relations. Our Content Marketing Unit is currently in development.

Why copywriting?

So why do we follow the branding unit with copywriting? It's a fair question. And one that our campus-based students always ask. Always.

Take a look at the image below and see if you can guess.

an image illustarting the relationships between the different functions within integrated communications

Just like business strategy directs, leads and informs brand identity and brand strategy...copywriting underpins all forms of brand communication. If our copywriting doesn't directly link back to our brand strategy - and, by default, back to a clearly understood business strategy - well, we're just writing for the sake of writing. Without this direct connection, all business writing activities - from emails to social media posts - are unfocused, ambiguous, hit-or-miss affairs. In other words, a bit of a mess. How can we expect to write effective brand messages if we don't understand the exact purpose or objective we want or need to satisfy.

This is where students usually chime up and say something like 'to make money, of course!" or "to get people to buy our stuff!"  And this is true, in part. However, there is so much more.

Using film making analogy, think of business strategy as the Executive Producer of a film. It's the top boss and is responsible for the overall management. Brand strategy is like a film's Producer; the most senior supervisor who answers to the Executive Producer. Think of copywriting as the film's Director.  Like a Director, copywriting controls a brand's artistic and dramatic aspects,  guiding the technical crew and actors (e.g. brand messages) in the fulfillment of that vision.

Everything else - from blogging to websites to social media to newsletters - are like actors or characters in the movie. Each actor has its own specific role to play.

So that, in a nutshell, is why we delve into copywriting before jumping straight into aspects of brand messaging like public relations, social media marketing, content marketing, etc.

So, let's take an initial look at copywriting...

Copywriting is your brand’s way of speaking to your customer. Think of your business's or organization’s copy as a verbal version of a logo or colour palette. Just like these visual elements, the text you use in your touchpoints needs to have a consistent feel, underpinned by a clear strategy. It doesn’t make sense to print all of your key collateral with different logos, or in completely different colours if you’re trying to focus an audience's attention on one consistent brand image. For the same reason, your copy needs to consistently embody your brand strategy across all of your touchpoints.

With this is mind, copywriting is the natural follow-on stage from our branding unit, which you will have just completed.In that unit, you developed an understanding of a brand's benefits, values and unique selling points. We developed your knowledge of what an audience is, as well as its constituent tribes, and how to connect to an audience on an emotional level. We delved into the world of demographics and the importance of shaping your brand stories to the needs and wants of specific audiences and tribes.

In order to produce strategic and effective written copy - especially if you are writing for the web - you must have an understanding of all of the main themes and topics we covered in the Introduction to Branding Unit.  This unit not only focuses that knowledge within a specific context - writing - we will be exploring these topics in greater detail.

Copywriting brings these topics to life.

This unit isn't about turning you into the Svengali of the copywriting world. Although it may inspire a few you to become just that. Nor is it an English 101 or creative writing course. The focus of this unit is to improve your writing when it comes to introducing, pitching and selling your brand. And to boost your writing confidence. While there will be a little bit of theory, the focus is on practical, hands on learning to improve your marketing and promotional copy.

We will take you from being a non-writer - or someone who either doesn't write very well or has little confidence in his or her writing - to being a credible copywriter and teller of compelling brand stories.

This unit uses approaches from three different copywriting mediums: advertising, direct marketing and journalism. While purists will cry foul, we focus on these three writing disciplines because they share more in common than you think. They are all based on persuasion - they persuade us to act or think in specific ways. It is for this reason you won't find a specific session on persuasion in this unit. The concept of persuasion is embedded in each session within this unit. Through the sessions, we will be exploring the art of persuasion in great detail. Understanding the commonalities within these three forms of writing will enable you to develop concise and persuasive copy for traditional print media as well as for online formats like social media posts, blogging and websites.

The video below is the perfect encapsulation of the key points of this unit. 

This course introduces you to the concept and different aspects of branding. The aim of this course is to provide you with a hands-on, practical toolkit for you to develop your brand writing skill.

The unit is in two parts. In order to become a credible digital copywriter, a copywriter with a focus on the web (blogging, web copy, Facebook posts, tweets, etc), you have to understand the rules of traditional copywriting (copywriting for print, radio and television advertising, brochures, catalogues, etc). The first half of this unit will teach you the basics of traditional copywriting. The second half will adapt that knowledge with a focus on writing for the web.

The content of this course has been adapted from a peer-reviewed module taught at Falmouth University at undergraduate, postgraduate as well as external career and professional development level. To gain the best experience, we invite you to view and approach this as a course.

Overview

Copywriting is an invaluable and transferable skill.Once you understand the basic tenets of producing effective brand copy, you should see more focus and confidence when it comes to producing other forms of business communication: from emails to reports.

Compelling brand copywriting is a crucial component of any organization’s brand marketing. It lets you speak directly to your audience's need, in their language, through marketing collateral or digital media. If your copy isn't underpinned by a clear, audience-centric strategy, it runs the risk of being passed over, and this leaves the door wide open for the competition to speak more directly to your audience's need.

Learning outcomes

  • Develop basic writing skills and the ability to adapt and apply them to producing brand copy
  • Concept development skills and the ability to develop a diverse range of creative brand copy ideas
  • Develop your critical thinking via analysis of written copy concepts and writing examples
  • Develop the ability to systematically and effectively plan branding copy
  • Develop skills in applying appropriate research methods, legal and ethical considerations to concepts and copywriting
  • Understand how to write for different media: Radio, Television, Print and Online
  • Develop ideas for new media: social media, facebook, mobiles, online gaming, applications, crowd sourcing and internet
  • Develop an understanding of digital copywriting and publishing law

Course content

  • The principles of copywriting and its components.
  • The principles of copywriting elements.
  • How to understand the audience you are writing for.
  • The role of psychology in copywriting.
  • Copywriting contexts.
  • The importance of copywriting structure: strong written opening sentences and paragraphs, the inverted pyramid of writing and strong closings.
  • The principles of developing strategic brand story ideas, and research.
  • The principles of publishing law.

How this course is organized

Sessions

This course is made up of a number of sessions. Think of sessions as building blocks of knowledge. Each session addresses one key theme, with a set of sub-themes that link back to the main session subject. Each session builds upon the knowledge gained from the previous sessions within the course.

It is important that you don't skip between units. Units need to be studied in the order they have been provided.

Session Overview

Each session has an Overview. The overview bullet gives you the learning aims and outcomes for that session. The overview also puts each session into a specific context. In other words, it's here that we tell you what you need to learn, the reason for it and how it applies to the overall branding process.

Session Preparation Activities

Each session will have preparatory activities that need to be done before you listen to the lecture.
It's a successful approach we've carried over from the campus-based courses we teach. The preparatory activities introduce basic aspects of that session's theme. Building a foundation-level understanding of the lecture's theme makes for a shorter lecture - and a more informed lecture. You'll find that you will get much more out of the lectures by doing the preliminary reading and/or watching a series of short videos.

Session Lectures

Each session has a lecture for you to listen to. The lectures formally cover the main theme of the session.

Session Scenarios

Branding is a creative activity. It involves imagination and abstract thought. The purpose of scenarios is to help support your creative approach to the various elements and components of your brand developed within each session. In essence, they are a reflective activity. Reflection helps us assess and evaluate what we do and why we do it - our approaches to things. Reflection also helps us understand our strengths and our weaknesses - areas where we perhaps need to do some further study or adopt a different approach. Without reflection, it is almost impossible for actual "learning" to occur.

There's a famous chap in education by the name of John Dewey. He has a famous quote: "We don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience." That's the essence of the scenario activities provided in each session.

Doing the scenarios prepares you for...

Session Templates

Templates have been provided in each session for you to formally engage with a specific aspect of your brand. This could be identifying your audience, identifying what key messages you want to communicate, the tools you will use for communicating with your audience, tone of voice, etc.

Templates are the final formal stage in each session. These are literally your takeaways from each study session. Each is specifically focused on a precise area of your brand and/or brand strategy.

Session Reading Room

Each session has a Reading Room. Each reading room contains additional reading to further and deepen your understanding of each session's theme. The reading isn't mandatory. However, we do recommend investing some time in engaging with the reading. We've trawled the internet over the years of teaching this material - and we have found some of the best books, articles and whitepapers on the various aspects of branding...and they're here for free.

 

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