Know What You Want for Better Content

Posted on Posted in Client Files, From the Blog, Writing



The client did not like the website copy. I rewrote it. Someone else at the company did not like it.

Design by committee is one of the challenges marketers face when working with clients. In some cases, these committees end up delaying a project for several months because of one problem: they don’t know what they want.

Photo by Cali4beach.
Photo by Cali4beach.
Each member of the group has an idea of how the website should look, what it should say, where this should go, what colors to use and more. Most don’t discuss these ideas before calling up the marketing company or content creator and asking for some work.

My job is to ask questions, to dig in and figure out what they want. In most cases, we have a sit-down meeting to get a feel for tone, word usage and more. With this client, they kept promising such a meeting, but never agreed to any dates. So I wrote the words for their website as best I could given the information I had. They hated it.

I wrote another draft. One liked it, another didn’t. Back and forth.

Then, the clients disappeared. Eighteen months later, they reappeared, this time with their own website copy. The head of the project explained they had spent the entire 18 months working together to craft it, adding here and removing there based on what everyone wanted. They emerged with the final product, which they presented to me.

I bear no grudge for not having written the words. Your business website is an important representation of you and your company, and I applaud anyone who has the time, motivation and talent to craft a strong message.

However, this client story highlights two things one might consider when revamping your website: (1) Design by committee often results in delays, and (2) It really helps to know what you want.

Think before you write. Or hire someone else to.

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