Good question. I say this because copy is often a hot potato in the product process. Some of the issues:
- Copy by committee is highly unpleasant and gobbles everyone's time
- Designers have unusual minds, so their copy choices are often awkward
- CEOs tend to insist on words that strike the wrong tone – and it's hard to push back on them
- Many product teams have small or ad hoc structures so the ownership of copy flits around
A quick and dirty rule is: copy ownership falls to the owner of the product. However, anyone who is deemed the owner of the copy should not write it in a vacuum. It should be vetted by a trusted team, when possible.
Here is the hierarchy of copy ownership as I see it, meaning if you don't have the role in your team, skip to the next one in the list. If you have multiple roles represented, the topmost is the owner, and the others make up your trusted team:
VP of Product. Accountable for all product aspects, can delegate copy writing to a team member and vet the work, can make cases and get buy in from C-level folks.
Product Manager. In agile development, the PM is the product owner, and so all aspects fall upon this position ultimately. The PM will know the product most intimately.
VP of Marketing. Owner of the brand, and thus messaging, tone, language, and voice.
Design Director. (highest ranking designer) Most likely the brand owner if the above are missing. Responsible for tone, brand perception, and product experience.
CEO. If all of the above are missing, it is a small team indeed, and so it is truly the CEO's baby.
The official copy should reside in a plain-text or rich-text document outside of the visual compositions, though it should be represented A=A in the visual comps as well. This is to assure development teams need not retype copy, but MUST copy and paste the exact words and spellings written. This assures the ownership is maintained. Typos remain within the document's author. The visual comps can show text styling.
The visual comp may not be easily updated, so the plain text document should be the final word. The document can also hold a history of proofreading changes and instructions. A good naming convention and file structure will assure smooth processes.