5 ways to take the stress out of your content approvals process Friday May 5, 2017

Image from Nottingham copywriter blog on great copy

Copywriting.

It’s all about the finished product, right?

Well, not exactly.

There’s something that I find a lot of companies overlook when they are considering their copywriting strategy: the rewrites and the tweaks. That’s right, I’m talking about the whole amendments and approvals process. While it’s great to get your content right first time (and that’s something I’m proud to be told I achieve more often than not by my clients), the reality is that there will be changes to get it to exactly where it needs to be.

Being focused on the end result could mean neglecting to ask your copywriter about the all-important rewrite process. Yet this could mean the difference between your content being good – or great. Yet, of all the conversations I’ve had about copywriting over the years, this is a topic I hear the least about. It’s understandable that businesses want to get to the final goal, but the approvals process is all part of making sure that your content is just right. If the markers for the journey towards that destination haven’t been set appropriately, things can go rather wrong…

Here are 5 ways to make your copywriting approvals process less stressful:

1. Choose your leader

Who is going to take the lead on approving your content and giving the final nod on agreed amendments? This is a vital question. After all, we all know what happens with decision-making by committee! The politics of content can be very complex. So, make sure you choose someone internal to head up the copywriting approvals process. And if you think that everyone involved will agree on the changes to be made, you’re probably going to get a bit of a surprise… So be sure to choose a person with the clout and confidence to make the final decision about when the amendments are done.

2. Share nicely

How are you going to share your amendments and comments with your copywriter? Again, the way in which you communicate amendments may not be quite as simple as you think. Make sure you address this before the process begins. What is your copywriter’s preferred way of working? How does that match with your company’s? Most importantly, can you ensure that everyone involved with approving the content will agree the changes and send them all in one go? Not only will this save time, but it will also make the overall copywriting process more effective.

3. Keep it simple

Now, I know I’m stating the obvious when I say it’s important to have a clear process agreed before your copywriter starts work. But you don’t need to make everything super-formal. If you think one phone call will be all it takes to iron out a query about the drafted content, then go for it. Sometimes, a conversation can be far more effective in clarifying a specific point than trying to relay it by email. One thing though: make sure you keep a record of the requested change.

4. Make it a date

While I’m lucky enough to spend my days copywriting, I have to accept the fact that my clients can’t all put their content at the centre of their universe. When you’re out there running your business and going for world domination, it’s natural for timescales to slip. But, if possible, set a definite date for final approvals, amendments and sign-off and you will make for a far more successful copywriting process. Decide on the date and stick to it. Or change it if it begins to look unrealistic early on.

5. Start with the goal and end with the goal

There’s a reason I put this point at the end instead of at the beginning. Because the goal for your copywriting process should just as important at the end of the process as it is at the beginning. Changing goalposts can spell doom for a copywriting project… Just like clear deadlines, keeping your aims for your content rock-solid will make the approvals process much more effective. This is especially important if there are a number of people involved. Your lead person will play a vital role in making sure that the amendments don’t involve changing the overall goal of the content too much. Yes, sometimes there is a place for making big changes, but watch out for one person wanting to make major adjustments to the whole point and purpose of your content. Be sure to remind everyone involved of the key goal of the content throughout the approvals process. Keep that in mind and you should take a lot of the stress out of creating great content for your business!

Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, May 2017

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