By Chuck Sink Please subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter by clicking here
I’ve been around small ad agencies and design shops my entire career mostly in sales. I’ve witnessed many conversations that go something like this:
Account Executive: “Okay, great! Glad you love the design. Now if you can get us the actual text to replace the placeholder copy, we’ll be ready to launch!”
Client: “You need me to write the copy and supply it to you? I thought you’d be helping us with that.”
Account Executive: “We prefer that our clients provide at least a draft of the copy because you know your customers better than anyone and understand your business like no one else. We’ll help edit it if we see anything that could be improved.”
Client: “Yeah, but aren’t you supposed to be the creative guys? I’m a terrible writer. I always get stuck on how to word things. I was really expecting you to understand my business well enough to come up with the right messages. This will take me some time but I’ll try to get it to you in the next few…”
Ouch! Website launch delayed. Client disappointed or angry. Agency cash flow interrupted!
Content creation, very often copy writing, is the sticking point in so many web design initiatives. A lack of clear communication between agency/designer and client regarding who will write the content can sour an otherwise sweet relationship.
Some executives and marketing directors have the gift of the written word. In such cases they may prefer to write for their organizations and be the best choice for that assignment. Where the writing skill is lacking, a professional can make a huge difference in the success of a campaign or the UX (user experience) of a website.
Skimping on THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENT of precise communication – WORDS – is an unfortunate decision and it’s made all the time to “save money.” The good news is many fine writers are inexpensive compared with other production costs. And yet, so many small businesses think by getting a website up or a brochure printed with pretty pictures, they’ve tackled the marketing piece. If the writing is poor what they’ve actually tackled is their own best running back – or worse, thrown an interception right into the hands of the more articulate competition.
This is fundamental stuff so my best advice concerning message content is this: Determine the responsibility for content CREATION and begin its development early in the design process. Make sure the copy sings your audience’s song and resonates when you read it. However you achieve that is fine as long as you can say: “I’m glad we chose the pros to compose our prose!”