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When Copywriting Isn't Enough

Of course, what their social start-ups are not usually rich in is money. So when helping a new not-for-profit with the copy for a website and a trifold leaflet, the usual timeframes were too costly. Instead, they said what budget they had, I converted that into time, and focused like a chánshî to complete something useful in that brief period.

It had to include every word of the site copy: tagline, sales copy, metadata, labels, the lot.

On the one hand, starting a website with the words alone is a copywriter’s dream. No design constraints, awkward pages to write or customer follies to work around. On the other hand, how would the client know how it all fitted together? I had to draw up an information architecture and wireframe some page designs to show how it would connect and flow.

Given the timescale, there was no time to teach them about how websites work. It was straight into quick interviews and assessment of any previous marketing or stories, then I had one shot at pulling something effective out of the bag. Something that would define their company’s voice and identity from the beginning. Thankfully there were some good stories and it wasn’t hard to isolate the genius of their scheme and its benefits.

They are a building company who help homeless people get back into work, long-term, through supported employment.

We got it done. I gave them copyshots – short, pithy units of copy – that could be fitted together in numerous ways for reuse in future marketing. Everything was sharp and direct. Get the good message across. Simples.

Strong copy is essential for your website. But projects like this show that you need to be more than a copywriter to write well for the web. Thankfully, we are.

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