Over the course of my 20+ years as a copywriter, I’ve racked a pretty varied roster of clients—everything from one-person companies to multi-billion-dollar global companies, and everything in between.
When people ask about my background, I’ll often start off by mentioning the bigger, more well-known clients first, companies including T.J.Maxx, TripAdvisor, adidas, Hasbro, Reebok, and Keurig. It was absolutely an honor to write copy for them, and I can happily say that copy I’ve written for them has directly contributed millions to their bottom lines.
And, in return, I’ve obviously garnered salaries or fees—but also so much more. Working for each of these behemoths has taught me a few key lessons copywriters and business-owners alike should always keep in mind. Here they are:
Test, Test, Test
There’s no telling which exact piece of copy is going to resonate most with a target audience, so businesses should make like the multi-billion-dollar ones and test every important piece of copy they put out there.
Copywriters should anticipate this and offer packages that include multiple pieces of copy for testing. Things like headlines, subject lines, and Facebook ads are prime opportunities for this.
Your Competition Doesn’t Always Have it Figured Out
This was actually a bit of a reverse lesson. One of the big companies I wrote for was always following what one of its competitors did—and when that competitor made a change to a landing page, this company would follow suit. But guess what? They didn’t have insight into what the competitor was doing, and just because they made a change didn’t mean it was the right one to make! Companies need to follow their own paths and copywriters need to help their clients be distinctive and emphasize their USPs.
Lots of Feedback Muddies the Water
Big companies love their meetings—and they love to have lots of people in those meetings. For a creative review, that can mean a lot of feedback from a lot of different people.
Even when a copywriter is working with a smaller company, they have to get one master list of feedback that all of the key stakeholders agree on. Yes, sometimes this can feel a little bit like wrangling cats, but it makes the process much smoother in the long run and avoids multiple unnecessary creative reviews afterward.
When You Find Something That Works, Double Down
The best big companies are always expanding and trying new things—and when they find something that works, they don’t hesitate to take full advantage. Smaller businesses can do the same – when they create Facebook ads or sales pages that are performing especially well, they should increase traffic.
Copywriters, similarly, should take full advantage of pitch letters that perform well, subsets of clients they find who are particularly likely to hire them, and even times of the day when they’re especially focused and creative.
Ask Questions to Get at the Real Issues
The most successful companies don’t take their success for granted and, if something is working, they’re always asking why something is working. The best ones don’t take things at face value, and small businesses shouldn’t either. Similarly, copywriters should never just take a project at face value; they should always be asking about the strategy and thinking behind it to help craft the best result possible.
One final thing I want to remind my copywriting friends of is that, no matter what size the company you’re working with, you are the copywriting expert and they’re looking to you to provide that expertise. Sometimes copywriters are intimidated by large companies and are tempted to follow every directive they’re given, but those directives may not necessarily be the best copywriting options.
You’ve trained to do what you do and you have experience—companies are paying you for that experience, so make sure to wield it!
Your turn! What questions do you have about working with giant companies or corporations? Let me know in the comments below!
Last Updated on January 13, 2023
You are an amazing role model, I’ve been taking your advice and writing, writing, writing. Trying to write anything, all the time. I’m truly grateful for you for putting it out there. There are so many wrong roads to take I was grateful to find the right one. I’ve definitely subscribed to your methods and I have seen results. I am having trouble working spec on the Internet do you have any tips for that?. thank you.
Nicki Krawczyk says
I’m so glad you’re finding it all helpful! When you say “working spec on the Internet,” do you mean creating spec ads for your portfolio? Or actually “working on spec”? (Which essentially means working for free and I generally don’t recommend.)
Thanks for commenting!