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Talk about frustrating.
You thought what you wrote showcased your best work ever. You expertly followed your client’s content marketing strategy. You chose good keyphrases.
You did everything right.
When you finished writing your SEO copywriting masterpiece, you could almost hear the harp music softly playing and feel the warm sunshine on your face. Your copy didn’t just sound good. It sung.
A week later, you see what the client actually uploaded. All of your tricky turn-of-phrases were gone. Your Title was changed from a compelling statement to a list of keyphrases. And your headline…you can’t even look at what they did to your headline.
You aren’t just mad. You’re hurt. How could they destroy your copywriting baby like that?
Rule #1 of working with clients. They will change your writing, no matter how good you thought it was.
You’ve got to get over it.
At the same time, sometimes, clients make really bad copywriting decisions. Maybe it’s because the legal department got involved and sliced half of the copy. Or maybe, your client passed your copy along to five different people — and all of them had their own idea of how the content should read.
Should you cry? Rant? Keep your mouth shut? The challenge is — if you say nothing and the copy flops, the client may think the poorly-performing content is your fault. So you have to say something…but you have to do it the right way.
Here’s how to handle it.
– Leave your ego at the door.
Sure, it’s easy to get miffed when a client tweaks your SEO copywriting genius. But take a big step back before you send that nastygram. Did the changes mess with anything important (like the keyphrase usage.) Is the tone and feel consistent? Does the edited copy stick out like a sore thumb?
If there’s no real damage to your conversion strategy, keyphrase strategy or Title, it’s probably not a big deal (except, of course, to you.)
– Check-in with the client.
It’s tempting to write your client a “WTF did you DO?” email. Very tempting. Don’t do it.
And don’t send any email until you are calm, cool and collected.
Once it’s safe to ping your client, try an approach like, “I noticed that you changed the Title. Can you help me understand why?” After all, there may have been a good reason your client did what she did (no matter how much their changes make you die a little inside.) If there wasn’t a good reason, and your client is shooting herself in the SEO (and/or copywriting) foot, it’s time to…
– …Put your education hat on.
Educating the client helps them make more informed decisions — and can often help them see the “SEO copywriting light.”
If your client added a bunch of nonsense paragraphs because their SEO told them to, point out exactly how the new copy could hinder conversions. If your Title was totally tweaked, help your client understand how Titles need to be keyphrase-rich, yes – but also compelling and clear.
Don’t forget to add links to articles and blog posts that echo your sentiments. That way, the client sees that multiple experts feel the same way you do — and it adds credence to your position.
If you’re not feeling 100% confident about educating your client, know that SEO Copywriting Certification students can get writing feedback and ask questions about client situations. Sometimes, it’s nice to have an expert in your back pocket.
– Offer a compromise.
Can you see areas you could improve? Depending on the scope of work, it’s sometimes worthwhile to tweak the copy one more time, and merge the client’s changes with your original text. Sometimes, a little copy-massaging can go a long way — and the client will (hopefully) see the difference between their edits and your shining final product. Or, if nothing else, you’ve made the page just a little bit better.
– Try testing.
If a client is sold on their 1,000-word sales page — and your version is 200 words — see if the client is open to copy testing. An A/B split test will provide irrefutable data about what really works (rather than what she thinks will work.)
Be warned that you may find that your client was right, and you were wrong. That’s OK. It will be a kick in the ego, but it’s OK. It’s better to be wrong than (inadvertently) cost the client cash.
– Let it go.
At the end of the day, your client is the “decider” – not you. If you’ve emailed your thoughts, backed them up with evidence and discussed the SEO ramifications – there’s not much else you can do.
Give it some time and see if you can revisit some options at a later date (like A/B testing, or tweaking the copy.) A few months of so-so results may help the client be more open to your expert advice – and you can finally start showing them what good SEO copywriting can do.