How to not lose your mind when everyone’s a copy writer

I’ve been in this scenario many times as a marketer—you’re close to finalizing a marketing asset and the creative spotlight turns to the copy. Out of nowhere people far removed from the creative development begin to weigh in and want to change the wording.

Marketing copy is like design—everyone has an opinion. Copy is an easy target because it’s easier to change compared to swapping out images, overhauling design or adjusting targeting or strategy.

There’s a fundamental reason people comment on copy. Copy is important! It matters! It’s an easy way for people to offer up opinions and suggestions for improvement on your marketing asset. People care about your creative enough to study it and offer an opinion.

Quickly this scenario can descend into a stalemate. Too many cooks in the kitchen scenario. The higher the stakes and the higher the budget, the more opinions (and more senior opinions) you’re likely to get.

How do you mitigate all of the opinions and come up with marketing copy and a creative that everyone can live with?

I’ve seen marketers and copywriters handle this situation in various ways and with varying degrees of success. The best way to get your marketing asset out the door involves combinations of these tactics:

  • Acknowledge the opinions you get. I mean really acknowledge them. Don’t just offer lip service and a thanks very much. At the end of the day people want to be heard and acknowledged.

  • Consolidate opinions. Do people feel strongly about certain words or subsections? If you’re getting the same comments on the same words or sections, it’s time to make copy changes.

  • Encourage verbal debate. It’s easy for people to offer up their opinions on copy via email. In my experience opening up the copy debate and taking it away from email will get you clearer opinions, better opinions and more robust copy discussion. Only those commenters who really care about your copy will volunteer the time to talk it out face to face.

  • Know who the decision maker is. Or if there isn’t one, asign one. At the end of the day someone has to make the decision. That might be you. Know who this person or persons is and empower them to make it.

  • Be prepared to defend your copy. Any good copywriter will do this well. Have sound and logical arguments for why your copy is the way it is. Tie it back to your original strategy, brand voice and the customer. Be prepared to argue for why you feel strongly for its inclusion or exclusion.