5 Reasons to Kill a Project and Start Over
It’s a dreaded moment…
Draft 12 of a blog or a marketing email.
Hour 13 of your workday.
No matter what you do, the content isn’t right.
Ever think it’s not you, but the content itself? We’ve been there, and with some self-identifying copywriting strategies, you’ll know exactly when to start a project over.
Let’s say you’ve been working on a new webpage, and it’s going nowhere. Let’s be blunt: it may be best to put the kibosh on it, take a break, and start over with rested eyes.
You’ll be thankful you did, especially when you come back later to create a relevant, fresh, creative, and audience-centric webpage. If you’re unsure when to kill your content, these copywriting strategies will do the trick.
1. The content is a bad idea in the first place.
In every writing genre, there are a few principles that ensure your content fits higher standards. Before you begin writing, set your goals with these two steps:
- Start planning and writing early. In the copywriting world, we live by deadlines. Target dates are paramount to successful service launches and marketing campaigns. If you wait until a week before launch, you run the risk of having lackluster content on your hands. To avoid killing a project unnecessarily, start as far ahead as you can, finish the initial drafting, and come back to it later.
- Let the content get cold. Once you finish the writing process, put the content in a drawer, and come back to it with a refreshed mind. This angle allows you to approach revisions from a fresh perspective with fewer emotions are involved. Plus, you may find that you need to kill the project wholly, and start over. If you began early, that won’t be a problem.
Let’s say you had doubts once the initial work was completed. If it still seems like a bad idea a few days later, save some time and heartache, and start fresh.
At this point, you’ll find yourself in a much better position to engineer more awesome content. In other words, don’t get all down in the dumps because you had to restart. This is actually a trademark of professional copywriters.
Here’s another professional copywriter trademark: writing is not always a solitary task. Especially with marketing copy.
Find a team member, a colleague, or a professional copywriting consultant to assess your work, and provide you with value feedback. Tell them to be honest, and if the content is no good, start over.
2. The content doesn’t promote the reaction you want.
Marketing content should complete one, all-important function.
It needs to promote a response.
So your main goal is to produce content that resonates with your target market. Something specific that dives deep into human psychology and emotions. With so much content floating on the Internet, things have to get juicy to stand out.
Produce content that gets a reaction, and you’re golden.
If you’re considering killing a project, ask yourself if the content promotes a response. Take off your business owner hat and really pretend to be a prospective client.
Would you finish reading this blog?
Would you open this email?
Would you shrug your shoulders and hit the back button?
Ask yourself these questions, and you may want to send the copywriting project to pasture. Let it eat some grass, but don’t offer non-reactionary content to anybody.
3. The content simply isn’t fresh and original.
Copywriting means the brain functions at full-speed for the entire workday. Even Albert Einstein got burnt out, so don’t worry if you’re not mentally bulletproof. (We’re not.)
A daily writing schedule wears down on people. And once you fall into burnout mode, you run the risk of writing dull, unoriginal copy.
Or copy that you’ve written 10,394 times before.
It doesn’t mean that your audience doesn’t love your content, but most people enjoy a little surprise and variety. Not to mention, the great search engine king Google rewards you for fresh content.
Closely examine your content, and compare it to previous endeavors. If it seems as if you’re using a template, break the mold and start over it.
Stick a fork in repetitive content. Prospects (and Google) will thank you for it.
4.The content is prepackaged. There’s nothing juicy.
There’s content. And there’s JUICY content that people really want to read. Your content needs a little bite, if you want to keep the project alive. Ask yourself the following questions to ascertain whether or not your copy passes the juicy test:
- Have I provided information relevant to my audiences’ lives?
- Have I created content that didn’t exist before?
- Did I draft something simply to meet my writing schedule goals?
- Did I do my research, sit down and think, and dive into readers’ emotions?
Answer key: 1. yes. 2. yes. 3. no. 4. yes.
Tough test, but at least you don’t have to study for it. If the content doesn’t pass, send the content on the next train to Dead Project Town.
5. “Whoa. This content doesn’t sound like me.”
“I would never say this.”
“OK, what am I thinking?”
This thinking translates to…
“I want to do something different, but this is not who I am.”
Professional copywriters live by the code of fresh and relevant content. But new creative directions need to stay true to your personality, business culture, and audience.
The issue here is tone, not necessarily content. To write fresh stuff with a tone that reflects who you are, we recommend starting a new draft near the end. Leave the introductory copy for later.
This way, you establish the main point, and you can come back and set the tone in the introduction later. After you do that, go back to the following sections and make tweaks.
If you find that it sounds like you in an alternate universe, send the project shuffling into the content graveyard.
For content you won’t have to kill, take a peek at our copywriting services.