Are You Writing for You or Writing for Them?

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13 Nov 2017


A Tip on How to Balance Good Writing with Good Customer Service

I had spiders in my garage. Lots of them. Probably hundreds, to be honest.

But they were just in my garage — they hadn’t infiltrated my home. Yet. In fact, I hadn’t seen a single spider in the living room, the bedroom, or the bathrooms, and I kept trying to tell that to the lady on the other end of the phone. The problem was, she wasn’t listening.

Pest Control Lady continued to insist her company didn’t sell pest treatments just for the garage. I needed the whole house done. And not only that, I needed a quarterly pest treatment plan. Yeah, OK. So, I called the local guy, who did it my way. And, you know what? It’s half a year later. And still no spider re-infestation.

So, what does that have to do with writing? Well, listening to your clients — I mean truly listening — is hard. And just like Pest Control Lady, copywriters often try to force clients into their own mold.

But, ultimately, trying to convince a client to take on a copy style that they don’t like is not going to work. It certainly won’t work for the client-copywriter relationship, and in many cases, the end copy doesn’t convert well to sales, either.

Why? Your clients may know more about marketing than you give them credit for.

Clients who have been in business for a long time tend to know their customers — and they often attract customers who are very similar to them. So, if, for example, your client is fascinated by the workings of shot peening — their clients may actually be interested in that, too.

The trick is to balance what you know about best practices in writing with what your clients know about their business. Tweet this

Maybe you don’t put the mechanics of shot peening on the home page, or front-and-center in the brochure. But there probably is a good place for it, if your client thinks their clients want to know.

So, tip of the day: avoid copywriter hubris. Find out what marketing approaches have been successful for your client in the past, and leverage them.

Don’t reinvent the wheel, and don’t exterminate the copy angles that are already pest-free.

Wintress Odom 
Wintress Odom is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Writers For Hire, Inc.

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  • 1 Comment

Wintress Odom

December 1, 2017

Fun to see this article recycled. I wrote this for a third-party publication almost a decade ago.


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What has been your experience with companies that would not listen to what you were asking for? Did you take your business elsewhere?