If content is king, why is copywriting so often an afterthought?
For years now we’ve been told that to have any impact online “content is king”. But if we all know content is so important, why is it commonly left to the last minute?
Content comes in many forms, from the text on your website, to TV and radio ads, to posters and annual reports. Content is anything and everything that you say about your company. Yet, time and time again, content is seen as something to be slotted in at the end of the design process.
Before you begin your next project, consider first who your target audience is, what you want to say, how you want to say it and what media you are using to say it. Next, decide who is responsible for the delivery of the content, and if it will be created internally, externally or collaboratively. By considering content first and integrating it into the design process from the start, you can potentially save a lot of time and expense. Here’s a few pointers to get started....
Good copy works in harmony with the visual elements that it accompanies, and building relationships between designers and copywriters is key to this. First draft copy is just that. It doesn’t need to be final content – just like any part of the design, copy can and should be reviewed and refined throughout the process. Considered copy can inform and invigorate design, and distinct and consistent tone of voice is as valuable as any visual asset. Both designers and copywriters need to have a collaborative mindset, and both must be open to hearing each other’s opinions.
At Designit, we encourage clients to provide as much content as possible in the design brief, since no one knows as much about your business and what you want it to represent than you do. However, we are aware that developing content can be a daunting process, and that is why we advise that content creation is structured and subject to regular reviews.
Creating a structure should involve looking at your initial copy requirements for your project, then looking at the year ahead. After that, break it down into quarters and months to get a far-reaching plan in place, with deadlines. The deadlines part is crucial. Consistency of content is as important as consistency in design, and an editorial calendar will help you achieve this.
Writing good content is a skill and if you do not have the appropriate internal resources, hire a professional copywriter to create the final versions. You wouldn’t let just anyone design your website, and the same rigour should be applied to copywriting. An initial chemistry meeting should tell you if you and your prospective copywriter are on the same page, and a thorough brief with regular check-ins will ensure copy meets your requirements, which can be ever-evolving. A content audit is a good idea from the outset, as you can repurpose strong evergreen content and identify gaps your company is missing.