The Copy Warrior never takes the easy road
As the Copy Warrior, my role goes beyond taking briefs and spewing out relevant copy as a paid copywriter. It’s about really taking care of my clients. Making sure that not only do they get the copy they want, but they get the copy they NEED. It’s as much protecting their corporate reputation as creating valuable content. Over the years, I’ve had to guide clients away from inappropriate product names and embarrassing text, and help them change text to avoid saying the opposite of what they meant to say, all on top of the expected correction of grammar errors so they can build customer trust. Sometimes that involves me having to put my foot down to the point of being a pain in the ass. Sometimes it takes a while, but they usually come round. But sometimes it takes more persistence. When your expert advice gets rejected When a client once requested to change a particular term in their text to something else, I declined and gave a simple reasoning for why their suggestion wouldn’t work. They came back asking if there was some way I could make it work. Well, no. I can’t change the rules of the English language just because it doesn’t suit! So I sent a more detailed explanation along with a dictionary excerpt of the word’s meaning. They felt their readers wouldn’t understand the proposed term nonetheless. I didn’t agree, but as a workaround I offered two alternatives that would work across the board. They proposed a third longer phrase that would only work in one instance and would be ridiculous everywhere else in the text. By now I was beginning to think it was getting personal! Was it a matter of losing face even though I was acting in their best interests? At this point, I could have just given up and told them, if that’s the phrase you want after all I’ve sent then go ahead. But you know what? I couldn’t. Why? The phrase just didn’t fit, didn’t serve the purpose of the communication and would have left their intended audience in confusion. I wouldn’t have been doing my job. So I put my foot down again and told them, look the rules don’t change just because you don’t like them. Here’s a sample with your suggested phrase and here’s the same with mine. Tell me honestly that yours works. I dare you. Well, they kind of backed down in as much as they dropped their suggestion, but went back to their original suggestion rather than accept any of my alternatives. Groundhog day! Still my duty to somehow make it work So the wrong phrase is going in against my advice and multiple attempts at saving the text. Well I did the best I could. I played my part as the content fairy godmother. And still looking after the client’s best interests, I still came up with a workaround – providing a definition of the term for the purpose of this text only. It’s not ideal, but I’ve got to make it work somehow. Getting an insight into why my hair’s grey?