Nothing can turn strong copy into a 97-pound weakling faster than a flawed review process. Following are 5 useful tips for reviewing and approving copy.
1. Review the copy from the audience’s perspective.
On the first pass, read the copy (all of it) without your red pen in hand or editing hat on. That’s how your audience will read it. Now, what do you think? Does the concept work? Did the headline grab your attention? How was the tone? Does the copy flow? If you begin by editing the first sentence or sweating the details, you will do the audience a disservice.
2. Avoid copy by committee.
There’s that old joke that says if you want to kill an idea or project, start a committee. Copy by committee is no different. Conflicting and misguided comments put the copywriter in the awkward position of trying to please everyone except who matters most–the intended audience. One way around this is to circulate informational copies to people who would like to see the copy. They can make comments without being part of the formal approval process.
It’s also a good idea to minimize rounds. Copy is typically stronger when it’s created in three or fewer rounds.
3. Provide specific comments.
When you provide specific comments, the chances of success on the rewrite improve dramatically. For example, instead of saying, “This isn’t strong enough,” say, “The tone needs to be more authoritative” or “These are additional benefits the copy should cover.” Often times putting your comments in writing will help you be more specific than if you just provide them orally.
4. Let the copywriter rewrite the copy.
Instead of trying to “write” the changes yourself, advise the copywriter about the revisions and and allow him or her to incorporate them.
5. Judge the copy based upon your objectives.
In the end, the copy was written with particular objectives in mind: to persuade, to inform, to sell, to create awareness, and so on. Make sure the copy is technically accurate and factually correct. Then review and critique the copy based upon what you want it to accomplish, not on the number of superlatives or your competitor’s latest campaign.