A number of years ago I spent time perusing writing forums in search of help and inspiration. Trying to extract information from my clients was like pulling teeth. I wondered if other copywriters were having as much difficulty as I was. I discovered many of them were experiencing the same woes with their clients.
For the most part, business owners are a busy lot and the tyranny of the urgent always seemed to override my pleas for content notes. Unless the website had been assigned to someone specific at the company who had been tasked with corresponding with me, my questions and emails usually went unresponded to.
Ideally, we would meet with our clients, tour their facilities and then build their website. However, the international scope of our clientele would necessitate travel and lodging and thus an added expense that both we and our clients didn’t feel was warranted. A solution needed to be found because the slow and painful extraction of information method I was using was not working.
When was the last time any of us used a tape recorder? For me it was the 8th grade and I was recording the top 10 count down from the radio or something. While my techie boss is somewhat appalled at the use of such a dinosaur as a lowly tape recorder (he wants his “word nerd” to be a little more savvy in matters of technology-after all we are a web firm), even he admits that the result has been impressive. The reward has been a copious supply of copy notes in a concentrated amount of time. I am able to get a “feel” for who the client is and effectively deliver their message in the web copy we produce, without the expense of traveling to them. Because I am able to build a personal rapport with key people in the company, I have prompt responses to any follow up questions. A process that used to feel like months of pulling teeth has been pared down to a few simple 30-minute telephone interviews. Now that the value of this new method has been proven, I have no doubt that the boss shall force me into the digital age. Until then, does anybody have some blank cassettes lying around?
Theresa Conklin BA Ed Hons is a copywriter for OTR Web Solutions Inc