Four snags in the sign-off process, and what to do about them

Getting sign-off on a piece of copy can be painful, but it doesn't have to be.

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Getting sign-off on a piece of copy – making sure it’s nailed your tone of voice and it’s ready for the web or for print – can be painful. But it doesn’t have to be. These are the most common snags in the sign-off process, along with our approach to smoothing them out on each web copywriting project we work on.

1. People comment on things that don’t involve them

This can be a major problem – you pass the copy to someone to check the technical details, and suddenly they’re trying to redefine the brand’s tone of voice.

How to smooth it: Include a note from the copywriter with the document, explaining what it is, how to use it, and what to comment on. Oh, and set a clear deadline too.

2. Multiple documents get circulated

Emails flying back and forth between seven people, one person with amends to version 3.5 and the other to version 6.
How to smooth it: use Google Docs, Basecamp Sharepoint or One Drive if you’re expecting more than one person to be involved in editing. An online doc is always up to date; you can even see who is editing.

3. There are too many people in the process  

Having to pass the copy through ten people is guaranteed to slow down the sign-off process, and dilute the result.

How to smooth it: Appoint experts, and trust them. Select two or three people whose judgement you trust, and set them free to approve. They can manage, we promise.

4. The final copy doesn’t do what the sign-offs thought it would

It’s gone through countless variations, tweaks, re-writes and amends. And – surprise, surprise - when you hand over the finished product, it isn’t quite what the client had in mind.

How to smooth it: Clarify the copywriting objectives at every turn. Reiterate them. Then check them again. The copy can be as perfect as it will ever be, but if it doesn’t achieve the objectives, it’s back to the keyboard. 

Want to know a bit more?

Call Alan on 0203 603 7740, or email

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