Nine Steps to Awesome Web Content
Wondering how to work with a writer to get copy that you love?
Copy is such an important element of your brand and can help you communicate what’s truly special about your company. Whether you’re building your first website or updating the copy on an existing site, finding the perfect words can be a challenge. As easy as it seems, it can be most difficult to write about yourself or what you’re closest to. Outsourcing this job to an expert can be rewarding but like any project that involves multiple people, there are ways to get the most out of the process. Based on my experience, I’ve jotted down my own recommendations for how to work with a writer to get copy that you love.
1. Hire a professional.
Look for someone with experience, a great portfolio and pleasant demeanor. Your copywriter should be easy to work with; someone who makes you comfortable.
2. Define expectations.
Before moving forward, make sure you both have a clear understanding of the deliverables, the timeline, the number of drafts and revisions, the rate and your preferred method of communication (be it regular meetings, emails, etc.). This will ensure a positive experience for both of you.
3. Do your research.
Before meeting with your copywriter, examine the way competitors and other companies are telling their story. Looking at a wide range of examples with a critical eye will help you narrow down what you like and what you don’t like, as well as provide helpful examples for your writer. Don’t be shy about looking outside of your industry. If you find a website you love, share it with your writer and explain what you like about it to give them a better idea of what you’re shooting for.
4. Jot down some notes.
Prepare yourself with some thoughts before you meet with your writer. What are the key words that really describe your company? What makes your business special? What’s your elevator speech? What words or themes do you want to avoid? How do you want people to see your company?
5. Figure out what’s important.
You only have seconds for a visitor to decide whether they’ll browse the site for a while. Compelling images and attention-grabbing copy are a crucial element on your home page. Work with your writer to figure out what information you would like to focus on. If you only have seconds with the average visitor, you need to make those seconds count.
6. Give your writer some time.
Like anyone else, writers need adequate time to do their work well. While it’s important to establish clear deadlines, make sure that you’re giving the writer enough time to be thoughtful and creative.
7. Make some notes.
Getting the first draft is exciting but it’s probably not going to be perfect. That’s okay. Read through carefully and make notes on what you like and don’t like. Jot down questions. Think about what’s missing or what doesn’t need to be said. Part of the first draft is making sure that all the necessary information is there. Start big picture and narrow it down as you go.
8. Don’t be afraid to give feedback.
Writers aren’t mind readers and they need direct, specific feedback to improve their work. Explain what you like and what you don’t like, citing your notes and using specific examples. As you continue to work together, the writer will refine your copy until it’s exactly what you’ve envisioned.
9. Listen and be open.
Sometimes what seems like a great idea in your head doesn’t work on the page. This isn’t your writer’s first website, and they may have some solutions that can elevate your content beyond what you originally imagined.