How to Get The Most from your Copywriter

Posted on November 2nd, 2020  •  by Jonas Gagnon

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Hiring a good copywriter is just the first step to getting good copy. No matter how good your copywriter is (even if it’s us – and we’re pretty good) they can’t help you if you’re not ready for them.

But, by preparing ahead of time, you can make the most of any copywriter.

What hampers your copywriter

Lack of preparation.

Fin.

So, I guess we could unpack a little further for you folks out there.

What does a lack of preparation look like?

Let’s slip sideways into an extended metaphor.

John decided to build a house, so he calls up a contractor and books a meeting. The contractor comes in and they have a fruitful conversation about houses, but then the contractor asks: ‘Can I see the lot?’

Now, John hasn’t even looked at lots yet, so he asks for advice. Next thing the contractor knows, John’s asking to see what lots are on the market.

John is unprepared.

And, what’s going to happen, if the contractor doesn’t just walk out, is he’s going to waste his time and the contractor’s time.

Your copywriter is a contractor, and if you don’t put that preparation in, you’ll end up working through all those same steps, only you’ll be pulling a copywriter along.

Almost without fail, this type of workflow ends up creating endless meetings, discussions, and edits. This draws out the process until everyone is burnt out.

So, to help you move from a decision/design process to a decision –> design process, we’re going to give you three tips to help you make the most of every minute with your copywriter.

1. Avoid group decisions

Democracy is great at a national, or provincial level. Personally, I want to have a say in where my country is going. However, in a private company democracy can create a blockade that makes the whole process incredibly awkward.

This doesn’t mean feedback from different sectors in your company is bad or counter-productive. But it does mean that those discussions need to happen before your first meeting with your copywriter.

When you plan those meetings first, as preparation, you understand what your people want in the copy. Then you can collect and filter all that , giving your copywriter one person to get back to, and only one person who is going to request edits.

If you want to let others in your organization have a say, ideally all those opinions will come in a preparatory meeting. Then you can decide who is going to take point, and they can filter through all the opinions and requirements to create a single list.

This gives your copywriter one person to get back to, one person to make happy, and that, in turn, will make your copywriter happy.

This way, you don’t have an employee requesting an edit on a previously edited section, which then goes on to get re-edited later when the third employee reads that section.

2. Know what you want from your copywriter

Copy, of course.

But, do you know what type of copy you want? Are you going for a hard sale with a heavy downpour of CTAs? Or perhaps you want something more educational to help foster your relationship with your clients.

Copy can be so many things, can meet buyers at so many points in their journey. And, for each of those uses, there are different ways to write that copy. Then, you add in brand voice and things get really complicated.

That’s why we have a brand voice questionnaire we work through with all of our clients. This gives us a foundation to work from, so we better understand what you want.

This saves us both time that could be better spent moving forward.

One way you can make sure you know what you want is by going through the process yourself. Co-schedule has a great article on how to create your own brand voice guideline.

Alternatively, you could start a séance with a couple Grub Street ghosts to really dial in that brand voice.

3. Communicate clearly

If you can nail down what you want before the process, allowing you to avoid large group decisions, you’re most of the way there. However, if you and your copywriter can’t communicate clearly, all that work will be lost.

This, however, is probably the simplest step of them all. All it requires from both you and your copywriter is a little bit of patience, and a dedication to putting everything on the table, including:

  • The project scope
  • Pricing
  • Expectations

With these three things set out clearly, and any modifications discussed, your copywriter should be able to give you what you need.

Moving forward effectively

By doing each step in order, and ensuring your have a good foundation before you try to build on it, you can make your copywriter more effective. That means more writing, that’s closer to what you want, for less money.

And isn’t that what everyone wants?