Remote copywriting amends

16 September 2009

The copywriter, the designer and the client amends

You’re a remote copywriter, working into an agency miles away. Perhaps even continents away. You write to length, caption the photos and the agency put together a gorgeous newsletter extolling the virtue of canine dentures. It looks great, fits beautifully, and it’s attention grabbing. (The newsletter not the dentures.)

Then come the dreaded amends from the client’s overseas boss. How do you get the next draft in-line, without spoiling the meaning, the balance or the overall look and feel?

We run an international communications stream for Save the Children using a remote agency and where possible, we sit with the designer, editing headlines, cutting words and re-cropping pictures together to maximise impact.

But it’s not always possible to be there, so the next best thing we’ve found is  ‘Share my Screen’ with ‘iChat’.

We use iChat for amends, because it’s more fluid than email and less interrupting than phone. Lets assume we’re on draft 2 of our Canine newsletter and the client amends run a story over by 3 lines. An iChat message from the designer might pop up requesting we lose 15 words in the story about Boris the long-haired Boxer and his unusually fang-like molars. He might copy the last column of text and we might edit and send back. That works well, but before we make a final copy, we sometimes do a quick ‘screen share’.

Weird but rather wonderful

The ‘Share my Screen’ enables us to go into the designer’s machine, with his or her permission, and to physically alter a document open on their desktop. It’s a really strange experience if it’s your machine that’s being driven by someone else, because you see your cursor whizzing all over the place and watch things moving and changing.

From a copywriting perspective, it’s a great boon. With the greatest respect to every designer out there, most are not what you might call detail people when it comes to words. Being able to correct or change punctuation, or amend a headline, caption or intro to match a new picture, can make the whole piece work a whole lot harder.

I think this may be a Mac to Mac thing – although PC users may know different? If you can, have a go – it’s a blast!

How to…

Connect to someone using iChat. Go to the Buddies dropdown and you get a ‘Share my Screen with X’ option. Simples.

Category: Newsletters, Brochures, Direct marketing

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