It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, sooner or later you’ll end up drowning under a pile of paper.
We’ve all been there; the bottom of your tray has been invisible for months, then, just as you are about to unearth it your boss dumps another load of work on you with the passing comment that the Annual Report is due out in a few weeks so make sure you’re on it.
Before you lose it completely, take stock of your situation and what you have to do. Be rational: not only do you not have the time to write the report, you’ve never written one before and have no idea where to start. Even when he tosses last year’s at you for reference you’re completely nonplussed. So what do you do?
The simple answer is bring in a professional copywriter – one that is:
- Available to work for you within your time-lines
- Capable of doing what you want
- Able to complete the work within your budget (just make sure it’s realistic – if you pay peanuts…)
Great – so when you’ve found them what do you do next?
Before you brief your copywriter make sure you know exactly what they need to do.
There’s no point in rushing out and telling them what you want them to do if it’s not what your bosses want.
Most copywriting projects will involved more than one department, so make sure you know exactly what is needed (from the ultimate decision maker) before you start.
It’s also a good idea to allocate one person to review the text. If too many people have an input into the process the end result will be confused, weak and you’ll have a very annoyed copywriter on your hands. Its important to remember that they are expert writers, so trust their judgement.
Once you know exactly what needs to be done provide them with a full brief (along with supporting material such as past reports, examples of the tone of voice you want etc.) and let them get on with it.
A single contact
If you want your project to run smoothly make sure your copywriter has one contact within your company for any questions – that means you.
There’s nothing worse than being CC’d into a string of emails that may or may not be relevant. Make sure all questions (from your company or your copywriter) are fielded through you. At least that way you’ll know exactly what’s happening with the project and so will your writer.
Use the phone
Email is an easy way to communicate, it can also be a complete cop-out.
If you’re dealing with complex issues, or you need an answer to something quickly, pick up the phone and talk.
It’s usually easier for you to get your point and ideas across, and your copywriter can react with questions speeding up the whole process and avoiding misunderstandings.
Following on from your brief and any questions, the first draft is now ready.
Remember it is a first draft, which means it’s unlikely to be perfect so resist the urge to scream and shout and throw your toys out of your pram.
This is the starting point from where the content can be shaped and refined along its journey to the perfect final draft.
To keep the project on track, it’s important you respond to your copywriter’s questions quickly to either:
- Give them the information/answers they need
- Tell them you’ll find out the information they need and when you’ll get back to them
- Let them know when they can expect to receive your revisions
By keeping the lines of communication open, everyone will know where they stand.