The infinite reach of the online copywriter

A blogger’s potential reach is endless.

I wanted to write for print when I became a copywriter. Web pages and blogs didn’t interest me much. To me, newspapers and magazines were ‘where it was at’. They seemed, somehow, more legitimate.

Well, my ego still enjoys seeing my work in news or magazine stands, but being there is no longer my primary goal.

You see, reading habits have changed and copywriters have changed, too. Not because we wanted to but because we needed to. To be honest, I don’t like it — change that is.  And if I had my way, right now I’d be happily tapping away on a typewriter (and chewing through a small forest in the process).

Anyway, despite my resistance, I’m still quite keen on earning a living. So, this ‘natural-born Luddite’ must move with the times.

Don’t get me wrong. Print isn’t dead. Many people (me included) still prefer the feel of a book or magazine. In fact, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the Washington Post now that Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, has purchased it.

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Anyone, any time, any place

I have a morning routine. While wrestling with the awful concept of getting out of bed, I reach for my iPhone to see what’s happened while I’ve been asleep. My favourite sites to visit are NZ Herald, Facebook and Twitter.

This behaviour doesn’t stop there, either — whenever I have down time, like during TV ads or waiting in a supermarket queue, I reach for my trusty device.

Am I the only one to become accustomed to instant information? Most certainly not. I’m a natural-born Luddite, remember.

What I’m saying is that if your content only exists on the pages of a physical newspaper or magazine, your exposure is limited to the number of people who go out and purchase that publication. These days, that number is becoming progressively smaller.

When your content is online, anyone can access it, any time and in any place.

That’s powerful.

Here for ever

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish-and-chip paper.”  This does NOT apply to online content. When you post content online, people can still stumble upon it for years to come. If you’re a celebrity caught in a compromising position, this is probably not a good thing (although Kim Kardashian seems to be doing okay). If you’re a business person, you now have more power than ever before.

Unlike the old days, anyone can now self-publish material like

  • blogs
  • case studies
  • white papers
  • audio
  • video
  • Slideshare.


Done well, this kind of content is keyword rich (for Google search) and filled with useful information designed to answer an online visitor’s questions. There is absolutely no place for blatant old-fashioned self-promotion here — save that for adverts in newspapers or Google Adwords.

Going viral

Part of my job is to ghostwrite articles for clients. I remember one client being particularly pleased about getting an opinion piece published in a major newspaper. The article appeared both in print and online. In his opinion, the online publication was a nice bonus.

Now, I have no doubt that lots of people read his article in its physical form. However, what excited me was the response he received online.

As the article was a little controversial, he received many comments from people either agreeing or disagreeing with his stance. On top of that, the article was shared all over the internet. So, while the physical newspaper became fish-and-chip wrapping the following day, the online version remained alive and kicking.

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One Comment

  1. Another insightful blog Mr.Healey and of course what you say is true – but there is quite a lot more to just doing blogs. You have to understand the dark mysteries of SEO and not least how to attract folk to your blog in the first place. Some powerful reminders in here though!

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