My clients come to me because I’m a copywriting expert. So you’d expect them to listen to me, right?
Unfortunately not always.
Going through some old emails I came across this feedback from an ex-client about a blog post I’d written for them.
“It’s great, but I feel as if it needs more words.”
It. Needs. More. Words.
The blog post was 927 words long when I submitted it to them.
It was 1175 before that.
I’d spent quite a long time removing and editing the bits that just weren’t needed — there was no point keeping them just to up the word count so I took them out.
And it was the right thing to do. Because that’s my job — making the words do THEIR job.
Making the words do their job
The extra bits didn’t add to the customer experience, didn’t say anything more about the service being sold and wouldn’t really make much difference to the SEO aspect either.
I fought my corner, in quite a wussy way, because back then I was a bit of a people pleaser. In the end I gave in, added the extra words back in and hit publish on the blog post.
I hated that post with every part of me for the rest of my contract with that client. I didn’t put it in my portfolio.
I didn’t enjoy writing for the client going forward, because every time I wrote for them from then on, I had a little niggle in the back of my mind.
A little voice saying “It needs more words.”
I’d like to give you a punchline of “The client listened to me when the blog post didn’t perform well, went back to my original suggestion and my point was proven, yay me!”, but I can’t.
The blog post did OK
it generated sales and still does to this day.
But every time I see the ex-client’s name, I go off to their website to see if they’ve taken my original advice (they haven’t). And every time I read that post I remember why one of my stock phrases to clients these days is “You pay me to do a job, let me do it.”
When the garage mechanic changes my oil filters and puts oil in my car I don’t tell them “It needs more oil”.
When my window cleaner does a fabulous job of cleaning my windows I don’t say “It needs more water”.
When the vet stitches up my dog after yet another bramble related accident I don’t say “It needs more stitches”.
Because I’m paying them to do a job where they’re the expert, not me.
If you pay a designer, a writer, in fact ANYONE, to do a job that you can’t or don’t want to do yourself, trust them to do the best job they can for you. If you don’t trust them, what on earth are you paying them for?
Ex-clients such as this one were one of my main reasons for setting up Blogging Buddy — where I help with the strategy, the planning, the ideas and the editing, but YOU do the writing.
Because then it’s MY job to say…
“It needs more words.”
(This post was originally published on LinkedIn)