An Introduction to Digital Copywriting Agencies – Nothing Like Mad Men!

The Average Joe has very little idea about what a copywriting agency really does. Except perhaps they think it’s something like Mad Men…

In reality, copywriting agencies have very little to do with Mad Men most of the time (and that’s regardless of the period setting) and especially for digital agencies. Here we will look in a little bit more detail at what a digital copywriting agency does, how they vary and why their role is so crucial for countless businesses.

How Mad Men is Different

If you thought Mad Men was about copywriting, then you weren’t wrong. However, what’s key to point out here is that there are lots of different types of copywriting. Man Men is actually a show about a traditional advertising agency which hires copywriters to write slogans and headings and to help sell products and services. That job still exists today, though it’s not half as glamorous (or dramatic) as that show would make it seem.

‘Copywriting’ in this instance simple refers to the fact that the characters are writing copy – or in other words, content that isn’t so much ‘creative’ as much as ‘functional’. Journalism means writing editorials, news and interviews for magazines, literature means writing creatively as a novelist or non-fiction book writer and copywriting is everything else.

Copywriting has always been important for businesses because every industry needs writing. Whether it’s writing internal letters, writing e-mails to clients or writing instruction manuals for products – even the least ‘creative’ organization will need writing in some form or other.

The Role of Digital Copywriting Agencies

Only today, that has completely exploded and companies now need more writing than ever before. Why? Because the internet, that’s why.

Not only do companies need all the content they need before but now they need digital press releases, blog content, social media posts, reviews, copy for their home page, copy for their mailing list… and more. ‘Content is king’ is a phrase often used to describe the importance of writing on the internet and it really is true.

Companies then have the option to hire an in-house copywriting team, or to outsource their writing to a third party. And that’s where digital copywriting agencies come in.

How These Organizations Work

So your typical digital copywriting agency will be a large organization with a number of writers on the payroll. These might be in-house employees for that agency or they might be freelancers. This then means you have two scenarios: either a big busy office filled with lots of people typing away, or a decentralized organization made up of people working out of coffee shops or from beaches as ‘digital nomads’. So it is actually quite dramatic and glamorous, just in a different way…

These companies will then receive orders from companies asking them to write content for their new websites, their blogs or the backs of their DVD cases. Some agencies will specialize, while others will cover all kinds of subjects and industries.

Also worth noting is that sometimes digital marketing agencies and digital copywriting agencies are interchangeable. Digital marketing agencies are companies that handle SEO, social media marketing and press releases for companies to help them promote themselves online. With Google working mainly through content and ‘content marketing’ being a big deal in itself, the lines are somewhat blurred in many cases between digital marketing and digital copywriting.

The Types of Jobs That Digital Copywriting Agencies Will Handle

Digital copywriting agencies vary as companies in any industry do. As a general guide though, you can expect most of these organizations to handle the following jobs:

  • Website content
  • Press releases
  • Headlines
  • Slogans
  • Ad copy for PPC campaigns, banners and solo ads
  • E-mail marketing copy
  • Letters to clients
  • Proofreading
  • Blog posts
  • Guest posts for blogs
  • Social media posts and updates
  • Profiles for social media
  • Instructions
  • How-tos
  • SEO articles
  • Scripts for videos and audio
  • Meta descriptions
  • And a lot more besides…

Finding a Copywriting Agency

There are plenty of big copywriting agencies out there but not all of them are made equal. Some work to very high standards and have a long list of big-name clients, others though are just out to make a fast buck and produce poor quality work. How do you find the right ones?

To start with, bear in mind that you get what you pay for. If you’re looking at a copywriting agency that charges $1 for 100 words then chances are they are outsourcing your copy abroad – that means it might well be written in Pidgin English. Bigger companies hire local professionals and of course this costs more as a result.

Another tip is to always ask to see a sample of the company’s work. Most digital copywriting agencies will have samples of their work right on their site but if they don’t – ask to see them. You can also ask who they have worked for previously and look for testimonials from well-known companies. Ask too where they find their writers and how they ensure they are of a high standard. The best companies will have all the content they send to you proofed after it has been written by a second member of the team. Even for professional writers, proofing your own work is very difficult and having a fresh pair of eyes look over it makes a big difference.

Finally, always start with a small order to begin with and be sure to keep checking the work. Even if you’ve been working with a company for years, it’s smart to check the work you’re receiving constantly to ensure that the standards aren’t slipping. Once you find a great copywriting agency though, stick with them as they can make all the difference to your business!

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