Four golden rules to become a better B2B tech copywriter through workflow management

"One of the most crucial factors here is setting response times (or deadlines for delivery of feedback)."
5 minutes read

Article written by Rhys Wesley, a content marketer and copywriter with 10+ years tech and agency experience, both in-house and freelance. He currently operates his own freelance content marketing business for B2B tech companies, The Content Flywheel.

You can’t help but feel a bit of a sting when well-intentioned feedback on your painstakingly written copy comes with personal opinions that don’t affect the quality of the story. 

As someone who has been through more than my fair share of situations where feedback moves things around in circles rather than forward, let me share with you the key rules I follow to create a seamless process, gained through blood, sweat, and tears. 

1. Create a repeatable workflow and feedback management process

The number one best piece of advice I have is that you create a workflow and feedback process, which should be visible to all stakeholders and which can be replicated across different content with only the relevant details updated. Share this upfront, and refer to it if there is confusion as to who plays what role in a process. 

Here are a few items to include in your workflow and feedback process:

1. A detailed copy brief with the final goal and deliverables.

2. The channel for feedback (Slack, Asana, Google Docs).

3. A list of stakeholders who will take part in the feedback process. It is also particularly important here to define which stakeholders can have an opinion, and which stakeholders have sign-off power. This helps you move past deadlock quickly if there are disagreements. 

4. Clearly defined response times from stakeholders, and a final deadline for publishing.

5. A set number of revision drafts (normally no more than two).

You don’t have to add any more steps and over complicate the process. Just focus on execution, and there will be no slow down because of unnecessary obstacles.

One of the most crucial factors here is setting response times (or deadlines for delivery of feedback). This is important to keep the project on track, but it also gives you as a copywriter some leverage to move forward and publish if non-critical stakeholders do not meet their feedback deadlines.

2. Manage the feedback in two channels max

You may have been in a situation where there are five versions of a Word document flying around an email chain, with several people editing separate versions – and giving conflicting feedback! 

Needless to say, you want to avoid this at all costs. 

Cloud-based copywriting tools (Google Docs and Microsoft 365) are far better options because a document in the cloud is a single source of truth. And even better, people can see each other’s comments. But they do have a weakness where you are not always sure if someone has finished giving feedback, or what feedback is mission-critical versus what is an idea. Plus, there is only so much detail you can fit in a comment. 

That’s where a Slack (or similar collaboration app) group conversation can help, since once again people can see what others are saying. The back-and-forth helps since everyone is forced to present the best thoughts at all times, and the conversation does not get lost in an email chain. You get to see varied POVs to come up with something great, even if it means being part of a difficult group conversation now and then.

3. Separate feedback from your emotions

One of the most famous copywriters in history, Eugene Schwartz, said this about his craft:

Copy is not written. If anyone tells you ‘you write copy’, sneer at them. Copy is not written. Copy is assembled. You do not write copy, you assemble it. You are working with a series of building blocks, you are putting the building blocks together, and then you are putting them in certain structures, you are building a little city of desire for your person to come and live in.

Pretty powerful stuff. And particularly relevant when it comes to B2B tech copywriting. Why? You are never writing in isolation. You need knowledge and input from a number of smart people around you, such as product managers and marketers, developers, and even designers, to give you the building blocks to assemble your copy. 

Sooner or later, you’re likely to receive strong feedback that goes way beyond your comfort zone. Don’t let it impact you, and don’t lose sleep over it. Remember that this is not about you. It’s only about what you wrote. That’s the only way you can frame the feedback in a more positive way. Letting go of your ego is the first step to growth, and remembering that you are assembling copy, not writing it, can help you own the feedback and move forward.

4. Move past subjective feedback quickly and professionally

On the other hand, sometimes you absolutely should stand by your argument and directly address the feedback that comes your way. Be sure to respond to the concern and not just blindly make the change. Too many corrections can ruin a good narrative.

Present your research-backed reasons and offer a pushback on parts of the copy that you strongly believe in. For instance, some product managers or execs may want to focus on “the features” instead of what they can do for clients (the benefits). You can refer back to the initial copy brief and explain that your choices were based on the target audience, positioning in the market, and competitors.

Again, accept that your copy will not be received well by everybody. That’s OK. Your job is not to ignore the feedback but don’t automatically let it divert you. If you don’t want to incorporate the feedback, you still need to respond and be diplomatic. Remind the stakeholders that while you respect their views, you intend to keep the project on schedule.

Here’s a sample email template for such situations:

Hi {name}, thanks for the feedback!

I did this because I wanted to {offer research-backed reasons and/or refer to the brief.}

Unless you would like to discuss more, I’ll take this forward to keep things on schedule. 

Use these pointers to be more effective and win the respect of your colleagues

A lot of unexpected things can happen in a tech environment, especially if you are in startup or scaleup mode. A new product manager gets hired, someone goes on break, a launch is delayed, or a regulation changes. But if you can maintain your process – even if it needs tweaks to deal with changing circumstances – you will demonstrate a level of professionalism that can take years to develop in isolation. And with it, you will avoid a lot of unnecessary stress, and gain the respect of your teammates. Good luck! 

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