What to do when your copywriting agency sucks
High quality content is something every copywriting agency should deliver. If your agency does not provide you with well-written and interesting pieces on a variety of topics, and they don’t keep Google happy while they’re writing, it’s time for you to start looking for another team.
The replacement team should be dedicated to your brand, brimming over with boundless creativity and carry the initials W.M.S … just kidding … kind of.
Whichever copywriting agency you hire, the first order of business is the quality of their work, so let’s start there.
What is good copywriting?
Anyone can write words on a page, but whether they’re any good is a whole other matter. Three main things to remember when creating written content are:
- Basic spelling, grammar and punctuation
- Your target audience
- The overall goals of your content strategy
Most copywriters who keep these three things in mind will create reasonable content, but if you don’t want to settle for ‘just OK’, you’ll have to dig a little deeper.
How does a copywriting agency write successful content?
As a business, in-house copywriting presents a number of challenges that make it very difficult to create content that succeeds. The best copywriting agencies will have a process that enables them to get underneath the skin of your brand and create a content strategy that achieves its objectives. Note that they should also help you to set realistic goals: publishing a weekly blog will not magically lift your website to the number one spot on Google for every desirable term, but it may deliver a 77% uplift in traffic when you’ve been doing it for a year.
Here are just some of the basic steps any decent copywriting agency should take to ensure they are in a position to produce successful content for your brand:
An excellent copywriting agency will host an extensive briefing meeting with you. This is one of the most important aspects of the copywriting process. Through getting to know you and your brand more intimately, your copywriting agency will be able to write content that sounds like you. If you have tasked the agency to create your content strategy, the briefing process will help them identify the best formats, themes and topics for your brand.
Even though a reputable agency should have their own briefing procedure, you should also play your part in making sure your copywriting team has a comprehensive brief. Supply them with as much background information about your brand as possible, and give them plenty of detail about what you’re looking for.
Tone of voice
Tone of voice is another extremely important part of the copywriting process. The extensive briefing is a great start in establishing your tone of voice, but by retaining the same writing team throughout your relationship with your copywriting agency, you can make sure that your pieces sound familiar to your readers. You can further embed this consistency by asking your copywriting agency to create a house style guide for your brand, detailing exactly what sort of language should be used to write for you.
A crucial element employed by the top echelons of copywriters, is quality control. Having editors and proofreaders in the copywriting agency who are dedicated to picking out flaws and are paid for their pedantry, will save you time later on. You will not have to worry about an errant comma or the occasional spelling mistake as at least two pairs of well-trained eyes will already have already looked over every piece of content.
The great Ernest Hemingway once said that “the first draft of anything is shit.” While we like to think our first drafts at Write My Site are a little better than this, we absolutely agree that revising and refining our copy in line with client feedback is what lifts it from good to excellent. Be wary of any agency that is reluctant to carry out revisions, or views them as a chargeable extra. Revisions are a valid and natural part of the copywriting process.
My copywriting agency sucks: What can I do?
If you’re having problems with your copywriting agency, raise the issue(s) with them in the first instance. The bad ones may storm off in an artistic huff, but you wouldn’t want to work with them anyway. The better ones will have an in-depth discussion with you, address your concerns and try to work with you to find a solution.
If that doesn’t work, and you’re still receiving content that’s subpar, start putting feelers out for other agencies.
Here are a few things to look for when you evaluate a new copywriting agency:
A Google search can be very telling – if a copywriting agency is at the top of the search it means that they’ve paid attention to Google’s SEO rulebook. You’ll want them to apply this expertise to your website too, so don’t go scrolling through pages of searches. If you want the best, stick to the ones that appear when you Google relevant terms.
Go on their website, their social media platforms and look for testimonials and reviews. Also see if they have examples of their writing for other clients. In fact, look at their own written content (their web pages, blogs, white papers etc.) and see if you’re happy with the quality. If they don’t practise what they preach, don’t hire them.
Process, process, process
(Yes, we talk about process a lot here at Write My Site!) Make sure your new copywriting agency has a good and established process for creating regular content. This is extremely important when multiple, ongoing pieces of content need to be produced to a high standard. Find out exactly how their process works, and if possible find out how they stick to it.
When contacting a copywriting agency, see if they bring any ideas to the table. The best agencies should work with you to generate and develop new ideas and angles for content, even if you already have your content strategy in place. Remember, the ideas have to be right if you want the content to perform successfully. If your copywriting agency isn’t proactive, your copywriting agency sucks.
Work closely with your new copywriting agency to establish a working relationship that you’re happy with. You’re the client so you’re in control, and should have opportunities to have a say in the process from the beginning. If you feel like your agency isn’t supporting you or listening to you, it’s time to leave and find a copywriting agency that doesn’t suck.