Wednesday, April 20, 2011


OFF THE RECORD:  Hiring a writer to handle your business communications isn't always a passive process.  If you've hired a great writer, you should feel comfortable enough to set her free to work her magic on your business communications.  Even still, you'll need to read the copy and provide appropriate feedback.  This can be tricky.

If you are not 100% satisfied with the work, don’t presume the writer didn’t take your project seriously.  The strong writer mulls over every single word she puts on the page. 

When you offer your feedback, forget comments like, “I don’t get it,” or “I don’t like it.”  This type of feedback is not specific enough to help the writer.  Instead provide feedback that steers the writer in the direction you need her to go.  How do you do that?

If you question the use of a word or phrase, ask yourself what you are reacting to.  Consider the following:

  • ·      Do the tone, style, and substance match your other promotional materials?  
  • ·      Is the writer misusing or not using a term specific to your industry?

If the tone, style and substance are off kilter:
  1. ·      Show the writer the Creative Brief generated during your most recent branding session.   (If you don’t have a Creative Brief, click here to read my previous blog post about the Creative Briefing process. When you’re done branding call the writer back to finish your copywriting.)
  2. ·      Show the writer other promotional materials that were the outgrowth of your branding session.

If key industry-specific terms are missing from the copy or misused within the copy, simply elucidate this to the writer.  Every industry has its own terms or way of using common terms that differs from other business sectors.  A strong writer will be able to “translate” industry language so that your materials will be easily understood by your primary audience.  You can help her by providing the information she needs to translate your industry’s lingo into lay terms.  

In my next post, I'll share my thoughts about who gets the final say in editing.

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