The Myth of Endless Revisions: A Content Marketing Writing Fish Tale

One of the most common reasons I hear about why a writer doesn’t want to go into content marketing is that they don’t want to always endure an endless revision process with multiple stakeholders. At first I bought into the myth of this never ending revision cycle and assumed that I had just gotten lucky. But after being the content marketing writing business for three years, I honestly think that this is just a fish tale and happens just as much in content marketing as with consumer publications.

Why I think it is a Myth

Yes, there are been a handful projects that I have worked on for both brands and agencies that have gone through several revision cycles and I was afraid I was going to end up bald when it was over from pulling out my hair. However, in most of these cases I realized after the fact that there were steps I could have taken at the beginning of the project to help reduce the frustration on all sides.   I have had one project where the client totally changed what they were looking for halfway through the project, which in all honesty is probably something I couldn’t have prevented.

But, all of these things have happened to me when writing for consumer publications. And some of the horror stories I have heard about working with women’s and parenting magazines made mine challenging stories seem like a night on the town.  I think that many writers forget that multiple revisions and extensive happen in all writing projects, not just in content marketing.

Revision Cycles Tend to Be More Extensive With Agencies

Now that I am thinking about my endless cycle projects, I realize that the majority of them have come with working for an agency. One reason is that when working with an agency, you are typically removed from the end client and have very little contact. This makes it harder for you to fully understand the clients messaging and what they are looking for. Another reason is that when you are working with agency, you ultimately have at least two clients, the agency and the end client and often they are looking for different things in the deliverable. I have found that this dynamic also creates additional revisions.

However, I do think that writers should work to avoid multiple revision cycles whenever possible. Clients are typically less satisfied when they have to spend hours working on the revisions, which decreases your likelihood of referrals and repeat work. And extensive revisions can significantly decrease your hourly rate on the project which over time can mean the difference in a high earning year and a low one. In my experience, I have found that there are steps writers can take to reduce the revision cycle that apply to all types of writing and I will be writing about those steps later this week. I just don’t believe that one of those steps is avoiding content marketing writing all together.

What is your experience with multiple revision cycles in content marketing? Do you think that the revisions are more extensive than in consumer publications? Is the revision cycle a reason for staying away from content marketing?

Comments

  1. Most of my multiple round revisions have been with consumer mags and with advertorials where the business is directly involved. It doesn’t happen very often but I’ve found that when I study the writer’s guidelines and look at examples of previous deliverables, I rarely have to worry about rewriting.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Oh yes, I almost forgot about advertorials. Oh my word. Those are the worst. I used to write advertorials for a lawyer publication and the revisions were awful. I stopped doing it because the lawyers would add the most awful prose in there and it was going under my byline. The worst was the lawyer who wanted a paragraph denouncing a particular charity group and the publication let him do it, under my byline. It was my last story with the publication and most likely my last advertorial.

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