Copywriting is easy. Right? I’ll let you in on a communications industry joke – ‘even the boldest of client often ends up at copy sign off by committee’ – making light of how frustrating it is to have a wide group of people (without initial involvement in the project or understanding of the communications strategy) tell a copywriter how things should read.
It’s a big problem that’s way more common than you might think, caused mainly by an ‘anyone can be a copywriter’ belief, something all of us in the copywriting, communications and PR industry have experienced and been deflated by.
Hang on, I’m jumping ahead a bit.
Firstly, it’s probably best to address why you – the client paying the bills – should care.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Usually the B2B businesses we work with hire a copywriter because they want their website, sales, and marketing collateral to work way harder.
More leads. More sales.
As seasoned copywriters our job is to clarify the message so that more customers within a target industry listen and then act (choose our client over the competitors).
Usually clients are gung-ho at the initial story mapping stage – inspired and excited to determine audience personas, key messages, proof points, and tone of voice.
Then there is a point, once the writing starts, when copy sign off by committee rears its ugly head on the project horizon.
The frustrated author in accounts wants to get involved.
The ‘grammar ninja’ in operations has an opinion.
Things start to unravel.
The messages and tone of voice – skilfully designed by the copywriter to deliver against the brief, connect with customers, attract more leads, and make more sales – are diluted and made impotent.
Right there and then, the ROI you hoped to achieve from your investment in a professional copywriter is lost.
That’s why you should care.
That’s why you should be brave. Stick to the plan. And avoid copy sign off by committee if you want commercial content that delivers.
(Yes, I did start a sentence with the word ‘and’ – it’s OK to do that because grammar is a guide, not a rule, and the style fits with my chosen tone of voice).
Need more evidence?
Take a look at this beauty…
McDonald’s – ‘I’m lovin’ it’. Now, had it been down to the ‘grammar ninja’ in operations, this would have read ‘I am loving it.’
Thankfully, they didn’t get their hands on it.
So, there you have it. The reason why the light in your copywriter’s eyes goes out when you try to jig about with the copy, re-write the copy yourself, or worse — request that half the company proofread and provide feedback.
Avoid sign off by committee.
Because more leads, and more sales, await the brave.
Connect with Jill Willis via LinkedIn
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