There’s an old saying among writers and editors: The best writing is rewriting. At Wordsmithie, we aim to nail our clients’ copy in the very first draft. We spend time up front getting to know your needs, wishes and expectations, so by the time we sit down to write, we understand your audience and message. Still, copywriting and revising go together like peanut butter and jelly. Here are six tips to make sure the revision process is smooth, not sticky.
Create a project brief
Getting the best possible work out of your writer starts beforehand. Create a project brief that outlines the assignment, its audience and goals. Spell out any language preferences or restrictions that will help your writer create on-point copy. If you don’t have a creative brief, we’d be happy to help you develop a boilerplate brief that you can adapt for each project.
Share in-house style guidelines
The project brief may also direct writers to your in-house voice-and-tone guidelines, editorial style guidelines and other helpful resources. If you have graphic-design guidelines and/or a mockup of what the finished piece will look like, share that with your writer as well. Writers do their best work when they can envision how their words will appear in the finished product.
Show us what you like
Refer your writer to good examples of similar projects or to other writing you like. We want to understand what’s worked well for you in the past, and how you’d like your written pieces to improve in the future.
Give specific, constructive feedback
Even the most carefully researched, expertly crafted pieces require some revision. Give your writer specific feedback on what you like and what needs improvement. Things can get bogged down when the feedback is vague, such as “This doesn’t feel right.” The more specific your critique, the faster your writer will make revisions that stick.
Choose one person to gather group feedback
Nothing puts fear in the hearts of writers like these three words: review by committee. Many projects require input and sign-off from multiple stakeholders. That’s why we ask clients to designate one point person to gather, resolve and input comments into one working document. Sometimes reviewers’ comments contradict each other, bring up unforeseen issues or take the piece in an entirely new direction. It’s best to resolve those issues internally, so they don’t end up stalling the editing process.
If you’re not sure, just call
If you have questions or concerns while reviewing any of our written work … just email or call us! Sometimes a quick, one-on-one conversation can clarify issues and steer a piece back on track. Writing is as much about process as it is about product. Psssst: We love the process! Your projects get us up in the morning and get our creative juices (and caffeine) flowing.
Whether it’s for a website, case study, email-marketing campaign or piece of collateral, great writing starts with clear communication between client and writer. At Wordsmithie, we promise to keep that conversation—and the writing process—moving forward.