This is part two of my post on getting the most from using a copywriter. (Part one covered pre-project planning through to the research phase.)
The writing phase
If your project is large, such as copywriting an annual report, it’s a good idea to prepare an outline before the real writing begins, so you can agree the basic structure and how it will all fit together. If you’ve briefed your copywriter well enough, they should be able to prepare this outline for you.
There’s nothing quite like writing about something to test your knowledge of it. Your copywriter may well come back to you with questions and requests for more information. Answer as soon as you can. You have a vital role in hitting the project deadlines.
It’s fine to check in with your copywriter from time to time. In general, though, let your copywriter get on with it. Don’t ask for drafts while they’re still work in progress, no matter how keen you are. For many copywriters, writing is an iterative process. What you receive as a first draft will have been through several versions already. Demanding something too early is a fast-track to disappointment.
The review phase
When you get the first draft, look at it as soon as you can. Send it out to everyone in your organisation who needs to see it. Give them a realistic amount of time to read and comment, then chase them. Multiple reviewers are one of the biggest causes of missed deadlines. The more senior the reviewer, the more likely they are to delay you. If you expect problems, see if you can get them to delegate sign-off to someone more likely to respond on time.
Give your copywriter specific comments. A big question mark next to a paragraph won’t help your copywriter fix it. Unless your comments are basic word changes, then arrange a phone call to run to through your issues. Provide any missing information.
If you have multiple reviewers, managing their comments can be an issue. Go through their comments yourself, resolve any conflicting ones and create a master set for your copywriter.
The final copy stage
You have copy you’re happy with and everyone’s signed off. Job done? Not quite.
First, get it thoroughly proofread. This needs to be done by someone other than you or your copywriter.
Second, don’t allow your designer to make a mess of the text when they lay it out. Many a project has been spoiled by the designer randomly combining paragraphs to make the words fit the space or sticking carelessly selected phrases into pull quotes. Keep control of the process.
After it’s done
Once your project’s complete, let your copywriter know what you thought of it. Good feedback is always appreciated, particularly if it leads to a glowing testimonial, but if you have some constructive criticism, don’t be afraid to pass it on.
And finally, please pay on time (or early). There’s nothing quite like sitting on an invoice for three months to make your copywriter not want to work for you again. And that’s a waste, because when your next project comes around you’ll have to spend time explaining your organisation to a new copywriter. Building a relationship is better, all round.
Find out more
Contact us to discuss how we can help with your copywriting project.