The first words you put on the page should always be the same.

Most of the mistakes I read or hear in commercial copy are simply the result of carelessness. The writer didn’t take the time to polish for clarity and concision. Or didn’t care enough to consult a style book and confirm usage.

Here’s a simple practice to bring a measure of added care to every draft.

First, think back to your early school years, when woe came to any child who would turn work in anonymously. To avoid reprimand and embarrassment, we all made it a habit to put our name on the paper before writing anything else.

Building on that idea, here’s a suggestion for us grown-up writers. Create a statement, consistent with your personal brand, that attests to your work. Connect it with your name in the header or footer. Mine looks like this:

Image of copy draft sample footer.

Create a statement consistent with your personal brand and include it with your name in the header or footer of your draft.

The reason is psychological, but valuable nonetheless. It tells the reviewer you put your best into the copy. It shows pride in craftsmanship. Your reputation stands on your work.

I wonder: Were a personal testament attached to every human effort, how much richer might our lives be?

This streak-free window courtesy of Charlie. 
Your tender tilapia amandine is the culinary artistry of Frederica. 
Jeff is proud to present this plumbed-perfect drainage system.

Of course, once produced, commercial messages don’t carry authors’ names. Nor should they. But they do carry a brand name. When the message fails to hit with clarity and force, woe visits the brand. Its name falls from the consumer’s favor.

What do you think?