Why your agency shouldn’t write everything in-house

Have you found the right balance between in-house and freelance copywriting skills?

In my experience, every design agency sees the relationship between words and design slightly differently. That includes the role copywriting plays in your process; at what stage it’s considered; and who actually writes it.

Perhaps you outsource all your copywriting needs. Or you might handle some of it, but bring in specialists for particular projects. Some agencies have fully fledged in-house departments to take care of it all.

Whatever your set-up, copy is most powerful and effective when it’s baked into the design process from the start – not bolted on as an afterthought. It should be a collaborative, two-way relationship.

That’s particularly true when working with an external consultant. If you’re not on the same page, you risk wasting time and money. But get it right, and both you and your clients will benefit from a totally fresh perspective.

So what does this look like in practice?

Two years ago, I left my full-time role as a design journalist and editor to become a freelance consultant. It wasn’t a snap decision: I’d spent the best part of a year considering how my editorial background could best complement different types of agency model.

Part of this was translating journalistic skills into compelling copywriting and brand storytelling. But while freelance copywriters are plentiful, it’s a lot rarer to find someone with an in-depth understanding of the design industry, and how the creative process works.

I’ve spent years interviewing designers to get to the heart of how they work, and find the most interesting way to tell the stories behind their projects. I’ve scanned more agency press releases than I care to remember, and reviewed thousands of entries to the Brand Impact Awards.

Presenting the Brand Impact Awards in 2018. Image credit: Future

All this has taught me that it’s not just your clients that need great copywriting. It should play a big role in your agency’s internal operations too – because that’s what sells your creative approach to the next client.

Read more: Why your design agency needs a content strategy

Why work with an external consultant to do this? As one client said to me recently, it’s all too easy to get ‘snow-blind’ when you’re too close to things.

I know what’s unique – and crucially, what isn’t – about what your agency does, and can help you develop a content strategy that tells that story in a convincing way. And if it works for you, it’ll work for your clients too.


Does your agency need a fresh perspective?

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