How to save time and money on Web copy revisions

There’s nothing worse than seeing a SEO content strategy stall because the revision process gets hairy. I’ve seen writers quit, team members refuse to speak to each other and turf wars break out between agencies – just because everyone had a different idea of what the copy should read like.

It doesn’t have to be that way (really!) Here’s how to avoid it.

  • Before the first word is written, meet with all involved team members and brainstorm ideas. Some companies wait until after the content is written before they get feedback from marketing, sales, IT and customer service. Instead, consider getting everyone in the same room for a content brainstorming session. A quick 60-minute meeting allows everyone to be “heard” – and could generate some great content ideas
  • Give everyone one point of contact by appointing a “Copy Czar.” Having one point of contact speeds up the revision process. There is nothing that slows things down faster than a bunch of emails flying back and forth – and a confused writer who doesn’t know what changes to implement. The Copy Czar is the final authority who chooses what revisions make the cut – and what gets left on the editing room floor.
  • Find a writer with the experience you need. If you are revising your SEO copy, you’ll need someone who knows how to write for search engines. You can train an in-house copywriter, but know that you’ll be dealing with a high number of revisions and more overall time spent (after all, they’re just learning!). If time is short, find someone who has experience. You’ll save a lot of time, and cut way back on revisions.
  • Know that clarity = fewer (or no) revisions. Do you want your copywriter to use a certain tone and feel in your copy? Are certain benefit statements very powerful? The Editor should give the copywriter very clear marching orders. Telling the writer, “Whatever you think is best,” doesn’t make them feel warm and fuzzy.  What the writer hears is: “Write something, and if we don’t like it, we’ll have you completely rewrite it.”
  • If you are the writer, make sure you insist on very clear direction. Ask detailed questions. Create a rough outline and get initial approval.  Send emails like, “I plan to focus on these benefit statements in the copy. Are you in agreement?” The more you communicate, the less chance that someone will come back and say, “I don’t know why you wrote it this way. Can you do it over?” Again, clarity = fewer (or no) revisions.
  • Give very clear feedback. Yet again, we’re back to the clarity = fewer (or no) revisions equation. Comments like, “I don’t like this” and “Why did you do it this way” aren’t helpful.  Your copywriter can’t crawl into your brain and see what you don’t like about the page. If you don’t like something, explain what you would like to see and offer an example. Your writer will love you for it. Trust me.
  • Decide how many revisions are really necessary. If you’re outsourcing your content, this is easy – most writers will cut their clients off after a certain number of revisions and charge extra for additional changes. (They don’t do it to be evil; they do it to keep from tweaking the same piece of content 100 times without getting paid.) If your copywriter is in-house, the Copy Czar should set the expectation with all team members that there will be X revisions – period. That guarantees that you hit your SEO content milestones – and you can successfully launch your new content on time.