T CONSIDERING COST EFFECTIVENESS: THE RATIONALE FOR PROFESSIONAL COPYWRITING Tighter control. It’s always Fact gathering. Writing about easier to assign tough deadlines, a product or service usually be honestly critical, and make requires more interviews, facts, changes to work done outside and detail than does design. than to work that was done in- When a writer is involved early house. There are no personal on and shares information, it he written word plays an sensitivities, ofﬁce politics, or eliminates the need for some important role in communica- organizational bureaucracies to designer/client meetings, saving tions. There is nothing more consider. both time and cost. effective in informing, persuad- True objectivity. It is difﬁcult, Organization and outlining. ing, and motivating. Today, as in if not impossible, to uncover For most copy-heavy projects the past and into the foreseeable unique characteristics and write (brochures, annual reports, etc.) future, effective visual communi- objectively about things that are it is difﬁcult to do good design cation not only requires eye- familiar. Only an outsider will be without ﬁrst having a copy struc- arresting design and graphics impartial, feel free to probe, ask ture. An outline of the story to be (layout), it also requires well- dumb questions, and play the told, including headlines and crafted words (copy). Anything devil’s advocate—all necessary to major breaks, makes designing less wastes money—it provides the development of powerful, easier and enhances any layout. only half the bang for the buck. persuasive copy. Detail checking. By training, Today, new technologies and More relevant experience. writers are sensitive to different media make the process of gen- It isn’t necessary to have intimate details than designers. Having a erating copy easier than ever. But knowledge of a product or ser- pair of eyes looking for bad copy Creative Business studies show vice to write knowledgeably breaks, inappropriate captions, that progress can come at a high about it. A good, smart writer can and dropped heads reduces the price for those not careful. learn more than enough in a few possibility of embarrassing errors. Because of the ease, and because meetings. Much more important we live in a world where the is that an outside writer will bring SMALL ADDITIONAL COST emphasis is on speed and visuals, to a freshness and perspective to Except for the very smallest of many of us tend to overlook and an assignment that can only jobs, creative fees are always a minimize the importance of well- come from the diverse experi- small fraction of total costs. The written words. ence of meeting a variety of com- incremental difference between Next time you’re tempted to munication challenges. having professional, outside writ- cut costs or save time by giving Better results. Everyone can ing or not will typically only short shrift to copy development, write. Some can even write well. increase costs from 5% to 10% on consider the following. But few can write as well—as a small brochure or ad, or less quickly and persuasively—as a than 1% on an annual report or BENEFITS professional who makes his or several-page Web site. And the her living at it. Practice does, difference between a good writer TO ORGANIZATIONS indeed, make (close to) perfect. and a mediocre one is even less. An organization opting for out- So why settle for second best on As for a cost comparison of in- side, professional writing help your materials? house versus outside writing, can look forward to several when the true costs of internal beneﬁts seldom obtained when writing is handled internally. BENEFITS preparation—salaries, overhead, TO GRAPHIC DESIGNERS lost productivity, etc.—are added No strain on resources. The best materials are always up, outside writing nearly always Good writing is labor intensive developed by a team—designer costs less, not more. and time-consuming. There are and writer working together in In summary, professional no shortcuts. Developing copy harmony. There are also some writing is an extraordinarily internally often requires assign- very practical working beneﬁts in small investment with a poten- ing the task to an employee who addition to the enhanced creativ- tially big payoff in increased efﬁ- either gives it low priority, or ity that ensues from such a part- ciency and effectiveness. whose regular work suffers in the process. nership. CB ©Copyright 1992/2001 Creative Business www.creativebusiness.com Reproduction permitted for individual use only.