A Cautionary Tale: Be Open-minded When Working With a CopywriterJune 20th 2017 Sally Ormond copywriter, how to engage a copywriter, Sally Ormond, working with a professional writer
Help! I need a copywriter.
You decided it’s time to call in the experts.
It can be a tough decision to make sometimes, especially because of the impact it will have on your costs.
However, it’s important to focus on the long-term benefits.
Let’s take content outsourcing as an example.
By that, I don’t mean engaging one of those offshore content mills that churn out sub-standard articles. No, I’m referring to working with a professional copywriter.
Using their experience and outsider’s perspective, they will create sales copy (in just about every format you can imagine) that will engage your customers, bolster your brand and boost your market visibility.
Typically, these relationships go well (OK, there may be minor hiccups along the way, but nothing that can’t be learned from), but there are occasions when relations can get strained.
Let me explain.
I would imagine, before hiring your copywriter, you used to do the writing yourself.
Whether the plea for a professional was to improve your content or to save you time, it’s important to remember they are not going to write like you.
For a start, they will be more audience orientated; the most important person in their minds will be your reader, not your CEO.
They will bring their outside experience with them to shape your communications into they type of thing your customers will want to read.
In other words, you must appreciate that what they write will not be the same as what you would have written.
That doesn’t mean they (or you for that matter) are wrong; what it means is that for the relationship to flourish, you must have an open mind.
Trust your copywriter’s judgement
Why am I telling you this? So you can learn from a recent experience I had.
I was working on a project with a client’s marketing person.
To give you a bit of background, the company is growing rapidly, and the content demands are too much for one person to deal with. Therefore they came to me to provide the expertise and support they needed.
The member of staff in question is an accomplished writer, but they needed to take on a more strategic role.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I received a brief for a piece of work, given a deadline (quite tight) and went away to work on it.
Within 24 hours, the time limit was brought even closer, and someone else got involved with the review process that wasn’t part of the original briefing team. As a result, there was disagreement about how the piece should be written, where information should come from, the style it should take, blah, blah, blah.
And to top it all, my initial contact wanted things altered to the way they would have written it because they seemed unable to let go of their old role and be open to new ways of doing things.
As you can imagine it was a complete disaster.
Thankfully, the relationship wasn’t sullied because of this because the client could see what the problems were and we’ve both learned from the experience for future projects (which had worked perfectly).
The moral of this short tale is that no two people write the same way.
If you hire a professional, listen to them, take on board their suggestions and work with them to make sure their new content is on brand.
It’s in our nature to be conservative and to want to remain within our comfort zone, but if nothing changes your business can’t grow.
If you’re about to collaborate with a professional writer, remain open-minded. Yes, you will want them to create a distinct voice and tone, but listen to their advice and suggestions.
They are there not only to create the content for you but also to enrich your marketing with fresh ideas that will make you stand out in your industry.
Sally Ormond is an international copywriter that brings brands to life, a smile to your project, and a collaborative way of working.