When you hire a marketing communications writer, her responsibilities should include a final review of the piece, just before the train leaves the station. Your responsibilities should should include giving her that opportunity.
Good marketing writers don’t write; they suggest.
You don’t need to apologize to them for all the changes you make to drafts. But you do owe it to yourself to give the piece to your writer for a final review, once the draft has traveled the long and winding road to final format.
One writer did a rush job for us last month, hammering very rough copy into a product datasheet, FAQ and sales teaser. She added a lot of good content and figured out how to make the pieces tell our story more effectively than we ever could have done.
All of her copy ran the gantlet here, and everybody had revisions to make. Finally, I was ready to run it past the writer one last time before we published it.
Then, a couple of the sales and marketing managers had misgivings.
“What if her nose gets out of joint over the changes we’ve made?” they asked. “What if she gets upset and undoes all of our changes?”
But I argued that it would be silly not to let her go over them. “What’s a marketing communications writer for?” I asked rhetorically. “Besides, if she does, then we’ll go back to our version and I’ll find a new writer.”
When the writer reviews the final draft
I sent her PDFs with our revisions on Wednesday afternoon, and she returned revisions and embedded comments Thursday morning. Among the things she noted:
- Two sentences with missing words — Somebody was writing too fast.
- Two occurrences of “Best-in-class” in adjoining paragraphs — This was a qualifier we had added. She pointed out, “This phrase adds nothing, and may even detract from the technical value of the piece.”
- Three clunky sentences — She re-plumbed them to make more sense.
- A hail of phone numbers in our company information box — “People who have this datasheet in their hand want just one big, fat toll-free number.”
- Disclaimer language for mentioning other companies’ trademarks — Without a phalanx of lawyers poring over ever sentence we publish, we sometimes forget about fine points like this.
Only a half-hour for a final review? You’d be crazy not to.
She told me it took her less than a half-hour to review and make comments. That was thirty minutes our marketing communications writer invested in making us look good. She also mentioned that she always offers her clients a final review of content, even for projects on which she has not worked.
“Most clients don’t take me up on it,” she noted. “I don’t know why not.”
Do you give your writer this opportunity? If you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table.