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What Not to Say to a Copywriter

Don’t let the headline scare you. No one likes open communication more than a copywriter. Just realize some of these statements, and any uneasy feelings behind them, aren’t necessary. Say whatever you need to say to help me get the job done. Any good copywriter would be thrilled to listen.

This must be so boring for you. 

Once I sat down to individually interview a group of engineers to write bios for the firm’s website. Three out of the five engineers all commented about how boring the assignment must be for me, because they were engineers, they said. I’ve heard it several times over the course of my career from different types of professionals, and it always surprises me. I became a copywriter and have stayed in the career more than 15 years now because I’m curious about everything. If you can’t find something interesting in everything, you don’t want to be copywriter. So don’t worry, I love my job because I honestly do find you and your business quite intriguing.

You’re going to hate me for this.

Usually this comment precedes feedback on copy I’ve written for you. No, I’m not going to hate you for sharing your thoughts and honest opinions. First of all, you are the expert on what you do, so your ideas are the most valuable tool in my arsenal. I’m very interested in listening to what you have to say about the content. Remember, writing is a process and your feedback is part of it, especially if you’re a new client and I’m still getting to know you and your brand. I’m not going to hate you for participating in the process with me, and no matter how subjective your feedback, I consider it very valuable because one of my goals is your satisfaction.

I just don’t like it.

Sometimes you just don’t like it, and that’s ok, but that shouldn’t be the end of the conversation. The first course of action for any copywriter is to go back and review the initial direction and try to understand what they missed. If there isn’t anything informative about the review, then it’s time to basically take a shot in the dark, or engage you in a discussion that will clarify the direction. In my 15-year career, I’ve learned that a shot in the dark rarely hits the mark. So to save valuable time, I’ll move right to the discussion. Maybe you think it’s a talk you don’t want to have, or you don’t know where to begin, but it’s my job to make it easy. I’m good at asking the right questions to start a constructive dialogue about what you would like better, and listening for clues that get us to that breakthrough we both want. Sometimes we discover small changes make a big difference. Other times, we start over in a whole new direction. I’ve said it once and don’t mind saying it again, this is part of the process that I enjoy so much about being a copywriter.

I hope this article helps you enjoy your role in the process of creating outstanding content targeted to your marketing and public relations goals. At the very least, it should set your mind at ease about working with creative professionals of all kinds.

This article is by Olivia Orth, senior copywriter at Priority Marketing. Her passion is creating compelling results-oriented content for print, digital and social media, serving the marketing and public relations firm’s diverse clientele with creativity and excellence. 

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