Write early, iterate often.


When do you start writing for a project? If you asked me a few years ago, my answer would’ve been “Whenever someone asks me to.” More often than not, the first time I heard about a project was when someone came to me with a 99% completed design and asked me to write something for it — “Oh, we need a paragraph about our features that fits in this space right here. Hit these bullet points. Thanks!”

This will probably be a familiar scenario for lots of copywriters — copy can be generated quickly and iterates extremely fast, so it tends to get pushed to the end of the process. Countless pieces of web copy begin life as lorem ipsums or vague blobby shapes labelled “Feature list goes here.”

In my opinion, this is the absolute worst way to create copy. Rather than use the speediness of copy as a reason to delay it, we should use it as an opportunity to get started early. Continue reading

In defense of storytelling.


Hey, have you seen this pretty awesome vid from Stefan Sagmeister? If not, do yourself a favor and watch it. (It is short and amusing — if there’s anything funnier than accented cursing, I haven’t yet discovered it.)

Okay, clearly there’s some hyperbole going on here, but the man’s got a point. Not everyone needs to be a storyteller, and not everything needs to be telling a story. That’s even sometimes true with the written word, that least sexy of website elements. Help centers, tech specs, lists of unambiguous information that mustn’t be misunderstood — not great places for storytelling.

But elsewhere, storytelling is both ubiquitous and beneficial.

Continue reading