Your eCommerce launch is looming and you forgot about copywriting. Now what?
Your organization has spent years designing a collection, weeks playing with packaging samples and color palettes, months developing a web site, and an obscene amount of money on hot photographers.
Your product is so cool it hurts. Your photos are like dream worlds that everyone is going to want to live inside, immediately. Your web site feels like home. Everything looks amazing.
There’s just one problem. No copy. No content. And no one to write it.
We’ll just come right out and say it—you done fucked up, son.
Have you not been reading our blog? You know, the one where it says over and over how demonstrably important copy and content are in the current marketplace? How they work in tandem with design and imagery to cut through the noise? That you need a deep-dive brand voice strategy, top-to-bottom eCommerce copywriting package and/or style guide to keep your message consistent across platforms? That you should be dedicating an appropriate amount of resources to verbal communication with your target demo, in proportion to how much you spend flashing pretty pictures at them? Didn't we tell you that, at some point, design and imagery were going to reveal their limitations? Sooner or later, we said, you were going to have to explain something to someone. Using words. Well, that time has come, hasn’t it?
Don't look at us. You did this to yourself.
Actually, yes, look at us. We can save your ass just this once. (But it'll cost ya!)
NOTE: IF YOU’RE SKIMMING THIS BECAUSE YOU HAVE MORE IMPORTANT SHIT TO DO THAN LISTEN TO US SAY WE TOLD YOU SO, THE PART WHERE WE TELL YOU WHAT TO DO STARTS HERE.
First of all, relax. Do some yoga. It’s going to be fine.
Yes, you planned your brand launch without thinking seriously about copy, but that’s freeway under the Uber. Forget it for now. We’ve got a site to populate. Here's your three-step 911 (and a fourth step for bonus points):
STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR COPY NEEDS
Go through your site really well and make a list of every copy element essential to your launch. Don’t forget about small things like checkout and error messages. These all need to be rewritten in a tone of voice that makes sense for your brand. Same with transactional emails.
Also, what about your socials? You'll need bios for those, as well as some starter posts. Marketing email might also be a good idea, at least a launch announcement. If you don't have someone on your team who isn't having a panic attack at the thought of writing the very first words your new brand puts into the world, you'll want to add these to your list so your copywriter can include them in the scope of the project and crush them immediately.
STEP 2: HIRE SAID COPYWRITER
An expert, not a hack. See, because you waited until the last minute, now you need someone who really knows eComm, specifically in your category (oh, hey). Because now you don’t have time to workshop every word. Get someone you can trustto make most of those decisions for you quickly. And trust them. Don’t quibble.
Invite your copywriter to do a site review and decide where boilerplate copy is passable, and where it's possible to write original copy under the time constraints. She can make those calls and bake it into the scope of the project so you can be sure you don't miss anything or waste time doing anything non-essential.
And be prepared to open up your budget. Sorry, but your bottom line might eat a little bit of shit for this. Since you scrimped on copy six months ago, you need a total wizard who can clean up your mess fast. If you can find someone this good who has last-minute availability, they might charge you a premium for the rush factor. This is your problem, not theirs.
STEP 3: SHIP IT
Don't worry about getting everything perfect. The good news is, your launch isn’t permanent. It’s the first of many, many moments in time for your brand. The upside of the Internet’s insatiable demand for content is that you will have a lot of chances to improve upon your original vision. Think of your brand as an infant. It’s a living, breathing thing that will grow and develop over time. It doesn't need to be everything it's ever going to be on Day 1.
STEP 4: PROMISE YOU’LL DO YOUR BRAND VOICE STRATEGY AFTER THE FACT
This is not like closing the barn door after the horse runs out. There are a lot more horses inside. You can let a few get away, but not too many. Don't just get through your launch and forget about copy and content again. It’s never too late to develop and implement a brilliant brand voice strategy. Just because you slacked on something once doesn’t mean you have to continue to live life as a fuckup.
A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.