Emojis for copywriters: learning the new online language

Smiley emoji drawn on a smartieFor those who tried to ignore emojis, that luxury no longer exists, says freelance writer Katelyn Piontek.

Those expressive symbols have slipped beyond the boundaries of a text message and into online communication.

Ad Age reports that, because emojis are so prevalent as a form of communication, marketing firms are looking to create tools to analyse their and draw conclusions on brand engagement.

As copywriters or marketers we are responsible for creating or editing work: being picky about turn of phrase is in our job descriptions. But how do we navigate this role when those carefully crafted words are interrupted by these cute (sometimes obnoxious) little emojis?

Emojis for copywriters: the abridged guide

If we’re at the point of measuring emojis, then, as copywriters and marketers, we better know how to use them. We need to consider how they fit into email, social media, blog articles and other content.

Personally, I’m not ready to throw them into blog content and deliverables like whitepapers or eBooks quite yet. However, emojis can be helpful in online marketing communication like email and social media when:

  • it conveys the emotion of the message
  • it takes the direct place of a word in definition or sentiment
  • it relates to or adds to the theme of the message
  • it fits in with your brand’s identity (this is most important).

Everyone understands a smiley face, angry face or sad face, but emojis have gone way past emotions to represent an array of events, holidays, actions and states of being which can correspond to marketing messages. Brands have even created custom emojis to use in their marketing campaigns.

Remember though, those uncomfortable with emojis are sometimes right. They might not be right for the brand you are writing online copy for or the marketing message you are composing. You should avoid using emojis:

  • when it’s inappropriate or insensitive
  • in nonsensical ways with too many or unrelated symbols
  • in coded messages the reader needs a translator to figure out
  • if it’s not right for your brand (aka your buyers don’t use or respond to them)
  • when you want to be sure that your copy can be read by screen readers and other tools used by the visually impaired, which may not be able to read emojis.

While it may seem awkward (or threatening to the integrity of your copy), emojis are a new form of communication – a universal language. You don’t have to use them, but, as a copywriter, it is your business to know how your brand audience communicates.

Take time to determine when, where and how your audience uses emoji, or, if they don’t use them at all. If your buyers are using emojis to communicate, then you better make sure, at the very least, you know how to speak the language.

Katelyn Piontek is a freelance writer based in the USA. This post was originally published on the Articulate Marketing blog.


26th November 2015

Jackie Barrie


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