Scrap It

Scrap It.jpg

Turning points are great, even what I’d call “micro-turning points”. Those are the busy times like now where I’ve got a lot of separate lines moving foward in different directions. I’m not entirely sure which ones are right, which avenues are going to lead to more roads, but I find the best way to approach it is to keep an open mind and let things flow as organically as possible.

Right now part of that is, as I’m figuring out for myself the niches I perform best in and what it is I’m actually offering of value— I’m analyzing my existing base of clients, who I’m working with currently, and those I’ve worked with in the past, to nail down ways to find or attract more individuals and brands where I can be of value.

While all of that was going on, something very pleasing occurred. I have a client, the both of us were working on some concept copy for their site— your typical storytelling and building a history around who they are, their philosophy, and how that adds some weight to their products. (hand made heirloom quality for the lux market).

What I was coming up with was serviceable and okay… but I could tell I was falling into my familiar habits. It wasn’t luster, and didn’t quite feel right. I’ll dance around specific passages or even tag-lines for a while; hyper-focusing on how to make it fit right as if there’s some arcane order of words to make it click. This is my indication that what I’m doing wasn’t working.

I loved the message. Totally dig it. I just couldn’t write it. I’ve learned that this means the approach and/or format was entirely wrong. Talking to myself Stop assuming you’re right, and you can cram circles into square holes… I caught myself and forced a reset.

Time To Scrap It and Start From Scratch.

Resets are good. You can take everything you’ve done, and wipe it all into a nice little data folder… or trash bin. Collect it there, and use it as a reference point to draw background info or experience while you’re starting fresh.

I took the opportunity to reverse engineer the problem, and created a new approach and structure that specifically addressed who my client was speaking to, and what the message was that we were trying to get across.

By identifying which answers would actually be valuable, I was able to eliminate unnecessary effort even before I wrote it. After assembling that skeleton or outline, the copy kind of just slides into place. And Wham what resulted was an organic presentation of the exact message I was struggling with earlier. More than that, seeing it in a new light helped me further reshape and refine the finished piece— in a presentation that was more on-brand for my client, encapsulated their tone and personality more, and allowed them to showcase their experience and product from a place of authority and authenticity.

That is after all the whole goal I’m working toward. So, the new direction made a world of difference, the client loved it, I loved it, and it was crafted from the ground up thinking of the reader 100% and what would be value to them as they progressed through their own buyer's journey on the site.

The moment struck me— a bit of validation that I could still learn and improve, and that I’m not becoming too fancy to assume my own ideas or initial thoughts are golden. I’m always worrying about being too stuck inside my own head, and that I’ll start to think my own opinion or educated guesses will outweigh actual market activity— or what real people think.

Today I was reminding of the importance of learning, improving, and adapting. But it takes an effort to push the boulder a little to get it rolling.

Ryan CaldaroneComment