Does Your Copywriter Know Your Business?

I know from experience that one of the most difficult service negotiations in Internet marketing involves copywriting. As the business owner, marketing manager, or company representative, you have insider’s viewpoint of your industry, your products and services, and your company. You know all the jargon – the industry slang. You know exactly what that doohickey does and why, yet you want someone else to put it into written words.

That’s completely understandable. Some extremely successful entrepreneurs are total concept people. They’re visionaries, with little time to focus on the details of marketing, public relations, and search engine optimization. A successful team relies upon each member for their strengths, and at times looks outside the nest for skill sets which aren’t as prevalent within the company.

Enter the contract or freelance copywriter. Whether your copywriter is independent or works for a marketing firm like VIZION, your biggest challenge will be communicating what story you want the copywriter to tell and how you want him or her to tell it.

There are a dozen voices your copywriter could use. But which should he use? Do you want your copy to sound scientific, advertisement-ish, simple professional, humorous, common and approachable, artsy, southern, educated or uneducated? You reach different people with varying levels of success based upon the voice of your writing.

The inconvenient truth (not global warming) is that you the client are responsible for ensuring that your copywriter understands what you want. Sure, you can put all the responsibility on his or her shoulders and blow up when they write your copy in a style you don’t like, but then you’ll just have to skip from one copywriter to the next until you find one that just happens to think exactly the way you do. You’re much better off realizing from the beginning that your copywriter needs direction and that revisions of style are COMMON and often necessary.

Revisions of style are nothing to concern yourself over. It is not an example of failure. It is an opportunity to refine your description of your company’s personality. This process can be brief or somewhat lengthy. It all depends upon your own awareness of your company’s personality. If you’re not sure, how can your copywriter be sure? And if you happen to be one of those clients who have no idea of branding and you want your copywriter to brand your site for you, just bear in mind that he or she had very little to work with and approach the situation as a trial and error attempt. Be willing to experiment with 3 or 4 styles, and ask a panel of 5 to 10 people for their reactions to each style. You may be surprised at what styles are most effective and elicit the type of responses your business is looking for from its customers.

We’ll follow up with more advice on how to experiment with styles in another post.