If you’ve worked with a copywriter before you likely know there’s a ‘process’. If you’re new to hiring a copywriter then you’re probably not quite sure what to expect. In some ways, the copywriting process is the same no matter who you work with – you brief, they write, you check, they edit, you approve. But in other, much subtler ways, the copywriting process is unique for every writer.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can explain what it’s like to work with me.
Unless I’m working with you on a ghostwriting project – and by that, I mean I’m penning a book for you to release under your own name – the process is exactly the same on my end, but can be quite different on yours, depending on your preferences.
You Choose The Process When Working With A Copywriter…
There is one thing I insist on when working with clients, and that is that we share documents via GoogleDrive, so that we can both view and work on the same live document. This saves a huge amount of confusion and time wasted sending documents back and forth.
Other than that, it’s my opinion that the process should work around you.
You need to brief me or I won’t know what I’m writing about. I have to write, or you won’t get what you paid for. But beyond that (and the aforementioned GoogleDoc system) it’s whatever suits you best.
Some clients have very specific needs. They send me very specific briefs and edit every piece carefully until they’re completely happy.
Other clients have zero interest in the specifics. They tell me their goals – what they need my words to achieve for them – and leave me to it without any other input.
Between the two extremes is a spectrum of involvement. The upshot, however, is that it’s up to you how much time you want to spend working with me.
And that might change week to week. One topic might mean more to you than others. Another topic might bore you senseless. You might have zero time for a couple of months, then have a week or two when you want to focus intently on your content and we’re in constant contact.
The Basics Of The Copywriting Process…
In an ideal world, a client gives me a brief that explains who they are, what they do, and what they’re trying to achieve by hiring me.
We’ll discuss the best options to meet their needs, and if they’re happy with my suggestions we’ll go ahead and start work.
If they have specific ideas, topics, or points they would like me to include in their first piece, they will share these.
I’ll go away, do my thing, and come back with a draft. They will read that draft, make comments for tweaks, I’ll make changes, and they’ll sign off on the copy.
Jobs that run this smoothly are an absolute joy. But often there’s more back and forth as we refine your message, or hone your voice. Perhaps I mention something that sparks an idea and you decide you want that developing more because it interests you. Or perhaps something has shifted since we first discussed it and you need the direction to adjust accordingly.
While it’s always fabulous when clients completely trust me and just leave me to it, some of the most rewarding jobs I work on are the ones in which we discuss things in detail. I write, they edit, I amend, they edit some more, I tweak, they check, I polish, we’re (eventually) done.
As long as there isn’t a very tight deadline involved, discussion is great.
But, maybe you don’t have time for that shit?
That’s totally fine too. I know how hectic life is when you run a business! I have a few clients who scribble their ideas for their next post on a napkin while they’re having a cup of coffee on a Monday morning. They snap a photo, WhatsApp it over, and that’s all the conversation we have about it until they see it live on their blog and thank me for the positive feedback.
Whatever works for you. Honestly, it’s all good.
The Parts That Usually Throw People Off…
In reality, writing copy that effectively achieves a specific goal – for example, ranking on page 1 of Google – has certain requirements. And those requirements aren’t always in line with the ideal the client had in mind. Perhaps there are certain keywords and phrases that need including, and you don’t like how they sound. They’re not words you naturally use. You don’t want them included.
The thing with this is…there are always ways around it. For example, a recent sales page I wrote really needed me to work in some LSI terms that weren’t directly relevant to what the client did. Cat is a course creator, but not a course writer. So when we initially discussed the FAQs to use she didn’t want one focussing on ‘course writer’.
This wasn’t a problem, we simply made the question ‘What’s the difference between a course writer and a course creator?’.
If you really hate something, we won’t include it. But there is usually a way to meet in the middle, including the elements I feel are needed to achieve your goals, without compromising your vision for the piece or saying anything you’re uncomfortable with.
The biggest thing that tends to throw people off is the notion that they can’t say no to a suggestion. Or that I am in some way annoyed with them for insisting on doing something ‘their way’. That if they refuse to do things ‘my way’ I will be irritated.
This is the biggest perception I’d like to dispel because it’s simply not something you need to worry about. Your copywriter is there to help you, to deliver a piece of content that achieves your goals, while capturing your voice and enriching the content you are sharing with your audience.
If you don’t want to do it the way they suggest, that’s your choice. It’s your copy.
They may feel it’s better to do something a particular way. But if you disagree, or ask for it to be done differently, it’s never a problem.
You get final say.
This is confusing for many at first, particularly when working with someone who (like me) is very blunt about what I think is a good idea, and what I think will work against them.
I like my clients to be fully informed on the pros and cons before making a decision. As long as they’re aware that changing a phrase has the potential to make it less effective, and they’re happy to risk that, there’s no issue.
Where issues arise is when a client expects a piece of copy to do a specific thing. They ask for it to be done in a way that makes achieving that result unlikely. And they aren’t made aware of this fact. So the piece is finished, they’re disappointed with the results, and when they ask ‘Why didn’t this work?’, the answer is ‘It was never going to work!’.
That’s a situation that should just never happen.
I would far rather risk telling a client something they don’t want to hear and have them be momentarily annoyed than be a ‘yes girl’.
Saying yes to every request isn’t always in the best interest of the client. As your writer, it’s my role to safeguard your brand, your voice, and your investment. The likelihood is I have a much better understanding of what can damage those three things than you do.
You’re paying for my experience and knowledge. For me to do a better job than you can do yourself.
The Big Takeaway…
In short, when working with a copywriter, expect to have to put some time in. Expect there to be back and forth. Expect them to advise you and for you to not always like that advice. But remember, always, that you get the last say. You’re the one who gets to decide how it goes.
And your writer won’t be ‘mad’ at you for that, or ‘annoyed’, even if you ignore every piece of advice they give you. They may be concerned you’re not going to get the results you want, but as long as you understand the pros and cons and make an informed choice, it’s all good.
If you really want to know what it’s like working with me, drop me a line and tell me about your project, I’ll book in a call and we can have a chat (long or short, your choice!) about working together…