When copywriters show their working, everybody wins. Here’s why.

For years now, Kieran has been writing notes for our clients at the top of his copy documents. Now we’re asking all our writers to – where necessary – do the same…

When copywriters show their working, everybody wins. Here's why.

Notes:

  • Hi David. Below you’ll find the copy for my next Radix blog post.
  • As agreed, it discusses why I often include notes at the start of my copy documents, explaining how I’ve responded to the brief and the key decisions I’ve made along the way.
  • It’s a bit shorter than our usual posts – but I’d rather keep it to the point than pad it out unnecessarily.
  • Other than that, there shouldn’t be too many surprises – though as you’ll see, I’ve opted for a rather meta opening. It might be a bit much. See what you think.

A great piece of writing is built on great decisions.

Decisions like: “I’ll put these product features in a sidebar, so they don’t ruin the narrative flow”, or “I’ll drop the retail message, because we’ve such limited space, and it’s only relevant to half our audience”.

A good writer will put a lot of thought into these decisions. But when you – as an in-house Marketing Manager, or an Account Manager at a marketing agency – open up the copy they’ve submitted for you to review, you won’t see that thought at all.

You’ll dive into the copy, and surface, sometime later, with a host of questions. Questions like: “Why are the product features in a sidebar?”, and “Where’s the retail message we included in the brief?”

That’s why, for years now, I’ve been adding notes at the top of my copy documents explaining my rationale in creating the piece.

Why it’s great for me as a copywriter

This transparency is great for me in a number of ways:

  1. It forces me to understand exactly why I’m making the decisions I’m making. And that makes me a better writer and editor.
  2. It helps reassure the client I’m writing for that a professional, experienced copywriter has really engaged with their brief. Instead of some copy in a word doc, they see something crafted by human being who has their best interests at heart.
  3. It gives me a chance to foreground any tough decisions I’ve made, and quickly set out the logic behind them.

Why it’s great for our clients

Our clients benefit from these explanations too.

  1. If I’m writing for a marketing agency, the Account Manager can use my notes to help frame the copy when they share it with their client.
  2. If I’m writing directly for a B2B technology company, the Marketing Manager can use my notes to help frame the copy when they share it with any other stakeholders – e.g. the product team.
  3. Whoever’s reviewing my copy, the notes put them in a better position judge the work, and feedback quickly and to the point.

To sum up…

Where a cold copy document can quickly become the basis of confusion and suspicion, a document with a few intelligent, relevant notes at the start is more likely to foster understanding and respect. Communication flourishes. Projects get signed off faster. Everybody wins.

That’s why including notes – where they’ll be helpful – has just become Radix policy.

At least, that’s what we agreed this morning in our Writers’ Meeting.

And now I’ve announced it in this blog post, for all our clients to read, so…


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