I had a unique experience recently.
I had someone else write some copy for me for the first time in my business!
Here’s what happened: I signed up for a package deal to help me create some Facebook ads and the associated funnel, and part of the package was for their team to write copy for my ads and my landing page.
And, although I’m capable of doing both, I was already paying for it… And I have been working hard at delegating stuff in my business lately… So I was like, “YEAH. Write that stuff.”
But it was honestly the first time I’ve ever been on the other side of the client/copywriter relationship.
Here’s what I’ve noticed about working with a copywriter, both for myself and with clients over the years…
Focus on the Macro (Not the Micro)
In my eight years of experience writing content for other people, the only time people were not happy with the actual WRITING is when they couldn’t let go of the micro decisions.
Now, this does NOT mean that they are somehow making do with low-quality content, tons of typos, or content that doesn’t sound anything like them or their brand.
Instead, it means they let go of the little things that actually (truly) don’t matter.
If a client is constantly making edits to their content in which they’re changing things like switching the word “pretty” to “beautiful” (which mean, essentially, the same thing) it tells me that they are too invested on the micro level rather than the macro level.
And when someone gets too in the weeds on the micro level like that, they aren’t ready to delegate that task (and nothing we do will ever make them happy).
I was actually pretty proud of myself when I got my new copy that I wasn’t super focused on changing individual words and phrases — even if it wasn’t exactly how I would have said something.
Instead, I tried to pull back and look at the macro view:
- Is the information correct?
- Does this sound like me / represent my brand appropriately?
- Are the big ideas I want to convey in there?
- Is it organized so that it makes sense and flows well?
- Can I add anything to make it even better (like personal anecdotes, expert insights, etc.)?
I know that when our clients can approach their review from the macro level, they’re going to spend less time on the project overall (which is always the goal) and give more valuable feedback.
OF COURSE we want to know if there are typos or mistakes, and we definitely want to know if there are words or phrases that don’t fit with the brand voice (especially at the beginning of a working relationship), but hopefully those micro things are very minimal and easy to fix.
Trust the Expert
Even though I’m a copywriter, I know that Facebook ads are not my zone of genius.
Uh, that’s why I hired people to help me with it!
And the team I hired have a very clear system and plan in place that dictates what the ads should include, how to structure the landing page, what the copy should accomplish at each stage, and so on.
So, to my mind at least, it doesn’t make much sense for me to come in and try to take over when they have a proven system and track record of success.
I find that we often attract clients who are excellent at a certain type of content creation — maybe they write books, or they kill it with Instagram captions, or they make incredibly captivating videos — but they struggle with or don’t like writing things like blog posts and emails.
It’s totally normal to be good at or enjoy one type of content creation and not another.
In fact, that’s why there are so many specialized types of copywriters out there.
As someone who understands this, it would be the height of arrogance for me to decide that just because I can write a great blog post that I’m also going to be a savant at Facebook ad copy if I haven’t studied what works. It makes way more sense for me to trust my ads team that I hired to be the experts at that.
All this to say: if you hire an expert to do a job, trust them to do their job.
It’s OK if They’re Better Than You
This was a bit of a humbling realization for me, but at one point I found myself thinking, “What if she’s a better copywriter than me?”
First, hi Imposter Complex. Nice to see you. Don’t you ever leave?
But second… so what if she is? I mean, this is a little weird for ME since copywriting is my business, but if this person is better at this type of copywriting than I am, wouldn’t that be… GOOD for my business?
Answer: yes, it would be. And, once again, that’s what I’m paying them for.
A lot of times potential clients come to me and want to reassure me that they are a good writer — really!!! — and I want to say to them, “My dude. I totally believe you. And it doesn’t matter.“
If writing your content (be it blog posts, email newsletters, or podcast show notes) is not the way YOU can be of highest service to your company, you want to delegate that task.
It’s completely irrelevant that you can do it or even that you can do it well if it’s not where you should be spending your time.
I am, objectively, a pretty good writer. (I built a business on it, after all!) But if I’m paying someone to do a job so that I don’t have to, I’m actually hoping they will be better at it than I am!
Communication is Key
My final little life lesson from this side of the client/writer relationship is that communication is key.
I remember many years ago, when I was a baby copywriter, hearing a more experienced copywriter say that she leaves comments in her copy for the client explaining why she wrote something a certain way.
For her, it preempted a lot of questions, arguments, or back-and-forth with the client.
And while I don’t employ that tactic a lot, I do use it occasionally — especially if I’m deviating from the norm somehow or doing something I can predict a client might be uncertain about. It’s not that they can’t ask questions, but it communicates right up front what I was thinking when I made a particular copy decision.
As I mentioned, my ads team has a very specific process they use — the process I’m paying good moolah for. Luckily, they communicated the process well, because parts of it were definitely outside my comfort zone.
If they hadn’t communicated the reasons behind what they do, I might have second guessed them, insisted on changes, believed I knew what was best.
There’s this fine line we walk as business owners between following our instinct and trusting our experts.
Communication is key to ensuring that, even when something feels new or different (or a little bit scary!), we can continue to trust the experts we’ve brought in to help us achieve new things.
For us, when we can clearly communicate why we do things a certain way, our clients are much more likely to trust us, even when we’re asking them to try something new.
Overall, working with a copywriter for this project was a good experience. It took a burden off of my plate, I didn’t have to feel like I had to become an ad copy expert overnight and — she did a good job!
Was it exactly what I would have written?
Of course not.
But that’s kind of the point.
It got me out of my comfort zone, trying something new, relying on someone else’s expertise for once instead of always relying on my own.
And it was a good experience.