Radix writing experiment: pair copywriting

One of the great things about having six writers under one roof is that we can team up to spark new ideas and creative approaches. We’ve recently been experimenting with doing this in a formalised way, borrowing a technique from the software development industry. George explains all.


What is “pair copywriting”? An approach to writing that – ideally – increases quality while allowing writers to work in a more relaxing, creative environment.

How does it work? You assign two writers  to the same writing task. One does the typing, while the other thinks about how the copy might be received by the target audience and offers advice on creative direction. The two can swap roles at their discretion.

How long have you been doing this for? We’ve done one pair writing experiment so far, tackling a block of 24 social media seeds for a major global software vendor.

What other content types would this method work for? We think it would work for all kinds of shorter form content. We’ll be sure to let you know if we find it works with longer pieces.

Where did you get the idea from? It’s a variation on an agile coding method used by some software developers. It’s often grouped under the label “extreme programming.”

Extreme you say? Sounds radical! Exactly. Radical is what we were going for. (It’s the adjectival form of “Radix”, you know.)

How beneficial is pair copywriting on a scale of one to radical? I’d say about seven-point-radical.

Any challenges? Roadblocks? Hurdles you had to overcome? A few hurdles, mostly of a low variety. Getting to grips with another person’s writing rhythm can take time, and if you’re as much of a chatterbox as I am, the exercise can quickly dissolve into idle chin-wagging. Make sure you stay focused, people!

Did you consider taping your own mouth closed in the name of productivity? I tend to consider doing this even when I’m not in the process of pair copywriting.

How productive was the process overall? We spent longer than we estimated on our initial foray into pair writing, but we hope it will become more efficient as our team gets used to the method.

What were the benefits? The process was more creative, surprisingly relaxing, and the quality of writing was kept high throughout. It was quite fun as well!

Fun? Writers can’t have fun! They can if you get enough of them involved in a project!

Will you use a pair writing approach in the future? I certainly hope so. It’s a promising approach that deserves more time and attention.

Summary: Getting more copywriters involved in the same task may cost more man-hours, but a collaborative approach can produce high-quality writing – and happy writers.

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George’s analytical mind helps him quickly tackle the nuts and bolts of our clients’ technologies, and articulate even the most complex subjects in a clear, concise, and carefully targeted way. With more than 10 years’ experience writing for a huge range of B2B technology clients, he’s one of our most versatile copywriters.

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