I came across this article on the Content Marketing Institute website earlier this year, and it’s been sitting in my “to process” list since then. Frankly, it stuck in my craw.
The topic of the article is “why you shouldn’t rush a writer,” but it focuses heavily on the difficulty of writing as a task. Procrastination, fear of the blank page, distraction, writer’s block — sure, these are all things most writers deal with on a regular basis. But if writing is your job, you figure out ways to deal with these things fast.
No, I believe that what truly makes it challenging to do the kind of writing we do as marketing professionals — telling stories, conveying ideas, leading the reader in the right direction — isn’t your typical writer’s neuroses. It’s the complexity of the conversion equation.
Connecting to a customer through a piece of writing takes thought, skill and time.
Does this mean that my clients need to give me a ton of extra time to write for them? Absolutely not.
It means actively managing my time and focus. It means having conversations with my clients about realistic timeframes, proactively gathering resources, and getting started as soon as possible.
Procrastination has no place in copywriting if you want to get strong results.
Here at Horizon Peak Consulting, a critical part of my methodology is connecting the company, the project goal, and the customer’s needs together in each piece of writing. It means holding in mind rather big, complex realities and weaving them seamlessly into the narrative.
This can’t be rushed. In fact, trying to rush through it shuts down the thinking process that’s required to accomplish the task. I’ve been known to finish writing an email for a client at 10am, review it again at 3pm and make a bunch of changes to better weave that web, then tweak it again at 9am the next morning before sending it to the client. Not only do effective copy and content need extra layers of finessing to do the job they’re meant to do — but my brain needs the rest periods to come up with better approaches.
As someone who is focused on getting results for my clients versus writing poetic turns of phrase, I don’t have the luxury of treating a project as an artistic exploration. Yes, there is an art to effective copywriting just as there’s a science to it. But it’s my job to make the words do their job.
That requires time management on my part as well as my clients’, and that makes copywriting a collaborative responsibility. While so many people are drawn to writing because you can do it alone (it can be an introvert’s dream career), effective copywriting is anything but a solo mission. In the end, though, it’s the writer’s responsibility to claim and use the time they need to do the job well.