Yes, your copywriter writes – no prizes for saying that, but she also does a whole lot more.
Once you found the perfect writer for you and agreed to their quote (yes, it will be quite expenses – of you pay peanuts you get rubbish) the hard work begins.
Sally Ormond, one of the UK’s leading copywriters, explains the process.
Have you ever wondered what a copywriter actually does?
Obviously she writes, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
1. The interview
Before any words can be written the copywriter must meet with the client. Face to face is ideal, but geography can sometimes throw a spanner in the works there, so telephone, Skype or email is the next best thing.
Although she will have plenty of questions to ask, the main thing that will happen at this stage is listening.
One of the most important qualities your copywriter will have is to be a good listener. Not only will she be listening out for details about your business, produces/services, customers and aims, but she’ll also be listening to how you speak. This will give valuable clues as to what the right tone of voice will be (how the writing sounds when it’s read) right for the project.
2. Back at the office
Unless further meetings are needed for progress updates (which can usually be done over the phone, email or Skype), the rest of the project is completed back at her office.
After the meeting your copywriter now has a stack of notes to review.
The next stage is to think.
Not only will she be thinking about what you discussed, she’ll be thinking about your audience and what they want to know and how to convey that to them in the most engaging and powerful way.
Thinking also helps her plan her strategy. After all, if you try to write without planning it out first you’ll just end up with a rather limp and wishy-washy result.
This thinking will also flag up any areas that need further research, so that will be the next stage of the process.
Research can be either on the internet (competitor analysis, topic research etc.) or with good old-fashioned books. It could even be taking a trip to a shopping mall or something like that (where your product is sold) to see how customers react to it.
Once that’s done it’s back to thinking and planning.
Now comes the bit you’ve been waiting for. She starts to write.
Following her plan, she’ll begin to create a first draft. That won’t be the one you get to see; this one is more like a brain dump that will be constantly altered and refined to make it as powerful as possible.
This can take several days, in fact it’s best that it does because it means she can go away, leave it for a day or so and then come back to it with fresh eyes to further refine it.
3. First draft
Finally, the initial draft is ready for you to see.
Sometimes this will be emailed to you for your feedback, other times a further meeting will be held so you can go through it together.
It’s really important at this stage that you look at it thoroughly and think about what it’s saying. Remember though, the copy has been written for your reader and will therefore be telling them what they need to know. It won’t be about you and your business.
There is no room for your ego in your marketing materials (or your copywriter’s for that matter). Every word has to resonate with the reader – it should be all about them.
Once you’ve gone through it it’s time to let your copywriter have your feedback. Suggest changes by all means, but remember you hired your copywriter because she’s an expert in her field, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Once your feedback has been given your copywriter goes back to the thinking, planning and writing stage again.
She’ll amend the document as you have both agreed and re-submit it to your for your approval.
As you can see, there are a lot of stages to copywriting, but not only that it’s also a very collaborative process. You have to be willing to give lots of information and time to the project, but you also have to be willing to listen to advice and take it.
A copywriter should never bully you, but they will offer advice. They will leave their ego at the door and write with a voice that’s suited to your company and the audience the content is to address. Above all, your copywriter will bring a wealth of experience and guide you to a successful outcome.