Some clients get how important content is and some certainly don’t. As a copywriter I don’t necessarily blame clients for their lack of respect or appreciation for good content. If they’ve never had or seen stellar copy before how are they to know the good from the bad? Chances are if they’re after a site revamp their first port of call will be a designer. Great, your getting serious about your brand look, user journey etc, but what comes next in the list?
Many of my collaborators are freelance designers who are all for championing the need for great copy/content. I’ll maybe get an email saying ‘I’m working with a client at the mo and they really need some copy help, I’ll email you soon about it’. This is when I really start to feel for my designer buddies. They’ve got the unenvious task of trying to sell the importance of good copy to their client. In some cases this will be an easy conversation and I’ll get an email back with a date to meet. In most instances it’s been a battle my designer pals have not won.
Don’t fret friends, we’re all in the same boat. Many of the clients that come directly to me still need that final push towards deciding that they do indeed need a copywriter. And then comes the educating, the part where I really try to get them to understand their content needs and their bigger impact. This isn’t something every copywriter needs to do, and I’m not saying every client has no clue, but I see this as my way of offering long-term value.
Anyway, back to my long-struggling designer comrades. This post is for you, it’s for all that have to figure out how the heck they can convince their clients to get serious about content. What arguments and benefits can you present them with? Well, here’s a few.
#1 - Thinking content-first improves design.
This is an easy one for designers to get behind. If you have good content to work with you can design with real messages, real insight and a defined brand voice. It’s a simple argument that isn’t tough to translate. I’d recommend that you have a copywriter contact on call when presenting this case. Have a copy professional that you can direct your client to for a simple chat. I have no problem at all with taking over the reins here and directly selling the case for great content.
#2 - Increases collaboration.
This might not always be the greatest outcome as some creatives prefer to be briefed and left alone to do what they do best but it’s a great way of getting clients to really invest in their understanding of content. Give them milestones and tasks to meet regarding content. Ideally, a copywriter would produce 100% of the copy but I’m not against a client being involved to some degree. So much of copywriting isn’t about writing - it’s about gathering relevant info, insight, inspirations and defining content goals from the off. You need a client to do this.
If you’re the designer, why not send the client over to me while you do your thing? While you get to grips with the brief, I can be firing those key Qs over to the client and getting them accustomed to elements such as meaning, messages, tone, CTAs, all the things that you’ll be weaving into your design. All this ultimately means that you, the designer, have copy to work with early on. The best results come from content-first projects.
#3 - Plants valuable seeds.
Tone, style, messaging, competitors, audiences, context, actions - all are defined by the early stages of content production. These aspects all inform better design but they also make for a more mindful client. Content needs to nurtured and updated. It’s the only way to make it effective and relevant over time. The same goes for design so prepare your client for a long-term commitment and investment in their business. A copywriter can introduce the idea of content auditing and even become a go-to resource as their business defines itself and grows. It’s all about good practice.
#4 - Good content will save you money.
Yes you’ll have to fork out for a copywriter but you’ll get your mitts on well structured and engaging copy that will prioritise consistency. Why have a beautifully designed site if it’s going to be filled with self-penned word gumf? You only get one chance to make a first impression so make it count. The last thing any designer wants is a client coming back with constant changes that are shaped around poor content.
#5 - Copywriters do more than just write copy.
If you’re getting a bit of resistance around the idea of paying for copy let your client know that a copywriter does more than they think. Every client I work with gets access to the following;
a thorough goal/brand evaluation in the form of a brand questionnaire. This runs over their messages, goals, content needs, tone, style and everything in between. This is invaluable info to both me and the client.
a tone of voice guidelines doc. This is an overview of the style and tone of their brand and acts as an instruction manual for all their communications. It’s theirs to share with their team.
access to a content strategist. Any good copywriter needs to have a good grasp on content strategy to do their job properly. CS is all about putting big picture brand needs at the centre of everything you do.
There it is, a few key arguments that might just help you get your clients on-side. You won’t win every battle but you’ll be responsible for raising the good content bar a little higher.