The Write Stuff – Blog

Jan 23 2012 Why It Takes A Week To Write 1 Page Of Content
How long does it take to write copy

You might be wondering just how bad my typing skills are if it takes me a week to write one page of copy, but writing copy that engages your audience and makes them fall in love with your brand involves more than quick fingers on a keyboard.

I’m sure every copywriter out there has had plenty of requests for content to be produced at the last minute, from prospects who seem to expect that a literary masterpiece full of fire and passion (and highly effective, page-1 worthy SEO keywords and irresistible calls to action) can be whipped together in as long as it takes to physically type 250 words @ 70 wpm.

Let’s see… by my calculation that’s about…. 3½ minutes!

Um…. NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

“OK”, you say “so that may be a little unrealistic… but 5 days? Really?”

Yep! Let me explain.

Initial Draft

Day One: Now I have the brief, which outlines all the core information about the business, the target market, the desired outcomes, the preferred style, and all the other bits needed to craft a page of content tuned as finely as a Stradivarius, I sit down to write.

And to be fair, that process may only take me from morning tea until lunch.

But any copywriter worth their salt will leave the copy to sit for a least a few hours (preferably overnight where possible) so they can read it with “fresh eyes” and pick up any minor errors that may have been overlooked in the initial writing process before sending it to the client.

Yes, it may be a draft, but it still needs to be right.

1st Client Review

Day Two: After the initial draft has been double-checked, it’s time to send it to the client for their review and feedback. This is a critical part of the process which gives the client the chance to make any additions, deletions or redirections.

Of course, we’re all busy people, so the initial draft is likely to sit in the client’s inbox until the end of the day until they finally get a chance to look it over and make their amendments.

1st Round of Revisions

Day Three: Very occasionally you’ll get a client who loves the initial draft and won’t want to make a single change (we love you!!!). More often than not, however, some minor tweaking is needed. It may be that a certain word or phrase isn’t quite right, more clarity is needed on something, or additional information needs to be included.

Generally there’s not a great deal that needs changing, so the copy can usually be modified and sent back to the client on the same day. Woo-hoo!

2nd Client Review

Day Four: See how quickly that has snuck up! The copy is back with the client so they can review the changes they asked for. Again, this is usually the last thing on their ‘to-do’ list. Most of the time, one round of revisions will be all it takes to produce a result the client is happy with, but sometimes on second review, the client will decide they want to make some more changes.

That’s cool – I allow up to two revisions as part of my process because I want to make sure my clients are 100% happy with the end copy I write for them.

The Final Copy

Day Five: Any final tweaks and revisions are put in place and sent back to the client. Job finished!

The Final Word

Most times it doesn’t take the full five days to write the final copy, but I allow this long because I understand that my clients have busy lives to and can’t always get back to me on the same day – or even the same week!

By building review time into the schedule, it gives everyone a little breathing space and ensures the job isn’t rushed or the quality compromised.

And the good news is it doesn’t take 5 days for every individual page. While I might factor a week to write 250 words, I’ll also factor a week to write 1,000 words.

So it’s not my typing skills that take the time – it’s the reveiw process and allowing sufficient time for at least two rounds of revisions to produce a polished, original piece of copy that my clients will love.

Trust me. It’s worth the wait!

Posted in Copywriting Tips by 10 comments

10 Responses to “Why It Takes A Week To Write 1 Page Of Content”

  • Reply Belinda Weaver January 23, 2012at 10:27 am

    I couldn’t agree more Anna. I actually have to leave more time for that first draft. I’m a bit of a slow burner and take more time to get into the headspace of the business and then leave my copy to settle and simmer and bubble away in my subconscious. 

    I appreciate the pain that brings when clients have left the copywriting until last — all the more reason to get you copywriter involved as early as possible!

    Great post.

    • Reply Anna Butler January 23, 2012at 10:41 am

      Thanks for your comments Belinda. Usually by the time I’ve received the brief, put a quote together based on the brief, sent the client the Project Authorisation and received a deposit for the work, I’ve had a couple of days to mull over the project already.

      Of course, the other issue is scheduling. I may happen to be in-between projects, or waiting for copy to come back and can squeeze a job in, but more often than not I’ll have other work already scheduled in and can’t fit another project in straight away. 

      I’m lucky to work closely with a couple of web/graphic designers who will encourage their clients to talk to me at the outset of the project – which is a huge help.

  • Reply Steve Fogg January 27, 2012at 1:36 pm

    Oh I’m feeling the pressure here. Commenting on a copywriters blog. Must remember. No typos. No grammatical errors, and keep the !!!!!!!! to a minimum ;-) 

    But seriously, I think we forget that crafting great copy is actually is a process and the length doesn’t matter so much. Often we aim for a microwave solution rather than marinated one which just doesn’t taste as good. 

    • Reply Anna Butler January 27, 2012at 1:44 pm

      Thanks for your comments Steve… and I just love your analogy. Bang-on!

  • Reply James Bull April 18, 2013at 1:13 pm

    Great explanation of the process, Anna. There’s more to writing than just doing some typing.

    • Reply Anna Butler April 19, 2013at 8:47 am

      Thanks James. More often than not I find it’s the editing process which not only takes the longest, but often gets overlooked when people are considering timeframes (especially if more than one person has to approve the copy).

  • Reply Mani October 10, 2013at 9:41 pm

    Hi Anna,
    Wonderful Post!
    Just by curiosity wanted to ask how much time did it take to write this blog post :)

    • Reply Anna Butler October 11, 2013at 4:28 pm

      Ah.. good question Mani :) This actually took me a few hours of writing and formatting on a Sunday afternoon, but of course I didn’t have to send it to a client to be reviewed.

      That said, I may have found the odd thing that needed correcting the next day ;)

      A lot of the time allowed for projects is to give clients time to fit in amendments around their own work schedule, as well as my own.

  • Reply Glenn Murray November 19, 2013at 7:29 pm

    Exactly, Anna! I wonder if we’re going to be fighting this battle forever…?

    • Reply Anna Butler November 20, 2013at 8:47 am

      Like anything, Glenn, I think it comes down to discussion and education. People don’t know what they don’t know, so we need to help people understand why this process takes the time it does.

      Hopefully, in time, perspectives will change.

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