3 Tips for Quality, Consistent, Client Content

By | August 13, 2013
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Client-Ready WorkWith the rise of content marketing, marketing professionals are increasingly counted on as copywriters. This brings with it a responsibility to deliver technically sound copy, consistent in voice and style to the client’s brand.

But, how do agencies ensure that they are delivering their best work, consistently and efficiently? To help, we offer these three tips:

1. Understand Copywriting Basics

Each piece is representative of the agency as a whole—from emails, to strategies, to press releases. When writing assets for clients and the agency (think blog posts, web copy, ebooks, etc), make sure your work adheres to the 7 keys of great business content:

  • Strategic
  • Brand-centric
  • Buyer-persona focused
  • Optimized for search
  • Technically sound
  • Creative
  • Results driven

Remember to adapt your writing style and presentation to meet the client’s specific needs and the publishing medium. If you have a number of clients in similar industries, be sure messaging and style nuances specific to each client don’t cross over in your writing.

In addition, with the wealth of information at our fingertips, it becomes easier to plagiarize or patchwrite. Don’t do it; it puts both your agency and your client on the line. Educate your team on what constitutes plagiarism and patchwriting so they don’t accidentally fall into the trap. Tip: Read 6 Bulletproof Ways to Prevent Patchwriting, a helpful guide to ensure you’re creating original work.

If your team is struggling in these areas, consider hosting grammar quizzes, writing workshops or other training programs to improve writing skills agency wide.

2. Put an Internal Review System in Place

Have a process in place for internal reviews prior to client delivery, in order to give each piece a “fresh pair of eyes.” Establish a process for these peer reviews, including who needs to sign off before sending, turnaround times and preferred format for feedback.

When reviewing, editors should look for strategic oversights, grammatical errors, style inconsistencies, etc. We’ve found that an alternate perspective not only helps catch accidental grammar mishaps, it often strengthens the content piece as a whole. Peers usually have suggestions to improve or build upon ideas that the original writer hadn’t considered.

3. Commit to Client-Ready Work at All Stages

Even with a peer review system in place, it’s important that professionals at all levels commit to “client-ready” work at all stages of the production process. We define this as the very best work they can do. This commitment is important to maintain efficiency and balance within account teams.

The review process takes precious time—often of your more senior staff. To prevent overload, train your entire team to do a thorough edit before handing anything to another associate. It should not be the editor’s job to catch all errors, or rewrite or add-in areas that have been underdeveloped. This is the responsibility of the original copywriter. The editor’s job is to take a finished piece and make it excellent.

Some tips for your team to ensure client-ready work at all stages:

  • Spell check is your best friend. Use it.
  • When it doubt, pull out the AP stylebook.
  • Double check that all links work prior to handoff.
  • Re-read the piece from start to finish. Does it make sense? Does it cover all necessary angles? Are transitions smooth?
  • Format for delivery. Does the content look polished? Is it presented in the best way? Does it match that client’s delivery style?

If there are areas where the writer is unsure and needs an associate’s support, remind them to call them out in the file so that the editor knows to pay closer attention to that section. (Tip: I like the commenting options available in word processing tools for this.)

At the end of the day, peer reviews are intended to make great work excellent, not to make mediocre work great. A commitment to client-ready at all stages makes this happen.

How Do You Ensure Quality Content?

What processes do you have in place at your agency to ensure your best work is delivered? At PR 20/20, we created our own set of content commandments that we adhere to keep our content in check. What would your commandments include?