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Be a Superstar Reviewer: Four Tips for Getting What You Want from Your Copywriter

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 by Ruth

All marketing managers want to get the most from their copywriting budgets. When you hire the Content Bureau, we’ll typically ask you to review up to three drafts of copy. Is there a right way to review B2B copy? Absolutely! For best results, make your feedback the following:

  • Timely. Just like a box of cereal or a carton of cream, marketing copy has a shelf life. Providing prompt, timely feedback keeps your content fresh and your projects on schedule. If a draft sits without review for more than a week or two, the project quickly loses momentum and it’s harder to re-engage stakeholders. To maximize your copywriting budget, complete your project as quickly as possible so you can publish your new asset and get it working for you.
  • Consolidated. Consolidated feedback means that everyone comments within a single document—responding to each other’s comments and ideas. Ultimately, a designated content owner arbitrates any lingering discrepancies. We actually recommend designating one person as a feedback consolidator and one person as a content decision-maker. (See Stacy’s awesome post on this subject.)

Consolidated feedback also means getting feedback from all parties, early in the project. That includes the core review team of subject matter experts, any brand or legal review, and higher-level executives. If an exec is brought in too late and doesn’t agree with the general direction, you end up scrapping or rewriting work, resulting in delays and budget implications.

What’s more, piecemeal feedback trickling in at multiple times within multiple documents or mediums—such as verbally, through email, or within Microsoft Word—introduces version control issues. And it also requires the writer to toggle back and forth between documents, comparing edits and feedback manually—and augmenting the likelihood of something being missed. In short, consolidated feedback not only helps us to do our job better, it’s best practice for efficient production of a top-quality asset.

  • Written. Want to be a superstar reviewer? Offer your edits and suggestions directly in a Word document using Track Changes, or insert comments in a PDF with Adobe Acrobat or Preview. This makes it easier for your copywriter to read, react to, and incorporate your edits and comments in a systematic fashion. Written changes also avoid any ambiguity that can come from verbal feedback—and it’s usually more time efficient.
  • Actionable. Telling the writer that “this doesn’t work” doesn’t help to advance the project. What specifically doesn’t work? The tone? The word choice? If the writer’s using the wrong word, specify why it is wrong (for example, the competition uses it or the word itself is dated) and suggest alternatives. You don’t have to rewrite it perfectly—that’s the writer’s job!—but do provide all the information needed to fix it. And never assume that the writer knows all of the nuances within your industry. You can help out by giving a bit of background on important or global changes—for example, we no longer call it “xyz” but now refer to it as “abc” because “abc” is more widely accepted in the industry.

Following this simple advice not only makes you a review superstar, but it keeps your project on budget and on schedule.

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Give It 20! Or, How to Jump-Start Any Project.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 by Lucy A.

February is the month where winter goes to die. Sparkling, soft snow has dwindled into gray, crusty blobs, and weary people trudge through their days with little, personal clouds hovering overhead. Gone is that rush of energy delivered in New Year’s happy grasp. It takes all we have to finish that white paper, let alone […]

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How to Write an Award-Winning Tagline

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 by Laurel

Part three of a three-part series. One of the most fun categories to judge at the 2016 LIA Awards was taglines (endlines). This was because—as we say in the naming biz—we had seven words rather than seven letters to play with and consider! The taglines we reviewed were mostly from advertising campaigns, both print and […]

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The Best Valentine’s Day Blog Posts of All Time

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 by Stacy

As you might guess from looking at our website, or my stationery collection, or my closet—freakishly awash in red and pink, with a dash of metallic glitter—Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. This giant painting in my home office sets the tone for my entire life. If there is one word I would have tattooed […]

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Words to Watch: The Stocking-Size Style Guide

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 by Dave

We love creating editorial style guides and brand guidelines because they can help a company to produce more effective content for years. These references can be especially helpful for people in your organization who produce content but don’t count writing as a core skill. But not all companies want or need a comprehensive new guide. […]

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Copy Blocks: Really, What Can’t They Do?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 by Lisa S.

At the Content Bureau, we produce a lot of marketing assets. A few are crucial but short-lived one-offs, for events or other special occasions. Most—like web copy, case studies, and infographics—are designed to serve your business for much longer, in a variety of situations. And then there are copy blocks. As the name implies, they’re […]

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How to Write Award-Winning Copy

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 by Laurel

Part two of a three-part series. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was recently invited to join the judges of the Verbal Identity panel of the 2016 LIA Awards. Now that the LIA winners for Verbal Identity have been announced, we can examine why those Gold and Silver winners took the honors. I […]

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Why the Best Bylined Articles Are a Team Effort

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Chris

I’ve never liked pure “ghostwriting”—that is, writing all of the words under someone else’s name without any input from the person who’s actually taking the credit. I’m not annoyed that I don’t share the spotlight. I just think that writing falls flat when there’s no authentic input from the “author.” This is especially true when […]

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How to Enter Your Work in an Industry Contest

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 by Laurel

Recently, I was honored to be included as a judge on the Verbal Identity Panel of the LIA Awards, held in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the LIA has been rewarding excellence in advertising for 20 years, 2016 was the first year that Verbal Identity was added to the judging categories. I learned a lot over the course […]

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How to Create All Your Marketing Program Content At the Same Time (Quickly, Cost-Effectively, and with No Drama)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 by Stacy

Yes! This is possible! It’s all about bundling. Our clients—ambitious marketers at large B2B technology and financial services companies—tend to use us for the “hard stuff.” These days, the “hard stuff” isn’t just the long stuff, it’s a bundle of marketing program assets that work together to nurture our clients’ customers along the buyer’s journey. […]

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