Entries Tagged 'Copywriting briefs' ↓

What Your Copywriter Needs to Know

Sooner or later, you’ll realize that keeping up with the amount of content you need to keep your online marketing strategy going, is impossible on your own.Copywriter briefing

So, it’s time to call in the experts.

You’ve done your research, you’ve found a copywriter you believe you can work with – so what next?

Well, if you were thinking you could just email them a list of your requirements and then let them get on with it without any input from you, you’d be wrong.

Your writer is going to need a lot of information from you and they’ll probably either use a briefing document (which they’ll email to you for completion), or if they’re close enough, meet with you.

So, what can you expect to be asked about?

Ready? Here goes…

Your goals – what you’re looking to achieve with that particular project

Brand personality – how you want your company to seen. Plus, the work they do for you will also have to fit in with your current brand image, so they’ll need to know things like preferred vocabulary, house styles etc.

Preferred voice – do you want it formal, informal, conversational etc.

What’s worked in the past? – if you’ve had a particularly successful campaign in the past, let them see it so they can use its style within the new project. Also, if you know something doesn’t work, again let them know.

Your audience – they’re going to need to know whom they are writing for. That is your present clients base and potential clients, or those you want to do business with.

Background – don’t forget your writer is unlikely to have a background in your industry so don’t assume knowledge. Provide them with details of your main competitors, articles and blogs that might be relevant etc.

Back to basics – as mentioned earlier, your writer isn’t going to be an expert in your field, so be prepared to get right back to basics. After all, you’ve acquired a lot of knowledge over the years, but that doesn’t mean your audience have the same knowledge levels.

There’s a bit more yet – here are a few other things to bear in mind:

  • Give them time – last minute deadlines don’t help anyone
  • Give them one point of contact – this will avoid confusion and mixed messages
  • Review drafts quickly – it saves a lot of time chasing
  • Keep them in the loop – let them know what’s going on, especially if it’s going to affect their work

Treat your writer as a member of your team. The more they work with you, the more familiar they will become with your business, products and audience.

And that will be worth its weight in gold.

Copywriter’s Tool Kit: The Importance of Why

Any parent will know how annoying the word ‘why’ can be.Copywriter's tool kit - the importance of why

But, for a copywriter, it is one of the most valuable words in the English language.


As a copywriter, you are:

  • A master sales person
  • A wordsmith
  • A persuasive orator
  • A great writer

However, you are not an expert in every industry sector in the known universe.

It is important that is made clear to your clients from the outset.

I often hear people ask why they need a copywriter when they don’t know anything about their business. Well, that’s exactly the reason why they do need a copywriter.

Let me explain.

In the client/copywriter relationship, the client is the expert in their industry, but the copywriter is the expert in selling their clients products and services to their marketplace.

So long as neither party crosses those lines, the relationship will be harmonious.


When taking a brief from a client, the one word that should constantly be used is ‘why’.

Don’t be afraid to keep asking, especially if you’re dealing with a complex product or service.

The client will know their business like the back of their hand and therefore will have the tendency to talk in jargon only understood by their colleagues.

Your job as a copywriter is to break through that jargon to understand the product or service in layman’s terms. After all, if you don’t fully understand it, how are you going to be able to write about it and make your readers understand?

So keep asking:

  • Why?
  • What does that mean?
  • How does that work?
  • Why is that of benefit?…

Far from annoying your client, it will demonstrate your interest in their business and your determination to produce powerful and persuasive copy that will grab the attention of potential new customers.

At the end of the day, you can’t write about something you don’t fully understand, so keep asking ‘why’ until you get to the real nitty-gritty.


What to do when the goal posts move

We’ve all been there.Dealing with moving copywriting briefs

You’ve been approached by a customer to create some copy for them; you’ve taken a detailed brief and provided them with a written proposal and quote – the work starts and just when everything seems to be going well, the client moves the goal posts.

So what do you do?

Is it in writing?

Let’s go back a few steps.

You did provide a written quote, didn’t you?

Verbal quotes are all well and good but, if things change, you’ll have nothing to refer back to when tackling the client about the changing brief.

That’s why it’s best to create a written detailed proposal and quote based on the brief received from your client, whether it’s from an email, briefing document or a face to face meeting.

It should include details of:

  • The aim of the project in question (what your client wants to achieve)
  • Your fee for the project and what that will cover
  • The hourly rate that will be charged for further meetings or additional rounds of amendments over and above those included in your fee
  • The services you will provide your client based on the brief they have provided
  • How the work will be carried out
  • When the first and subsequent drafts will be available and how quickly you’ll turn round the amendments
  • How payment is to be received

That way, when they want to make changes to the brief (i.e. they now want 10 pages of web copy instead of 3) you can go back to the quote that they agreed to and negotiate the way ahead for the extra work.

If you have nothing in writing it’s going to be an uphill struggle.

A professional way of working

If you think that all of this is just going to generate more work for you and you don’t have time to put formal proposal and quotation documents together, have a think about this.

Can you really afford not to?

After all, how many times have you agreed to extend the work you originally agreed because you either:

  • Had no way of proving what you thought had been agreed
  • You and your client had different interpretations of what was agreed
  • Felt uncomfortable going back and asking for more budget

If you provide a professional, written document outlining all aspects of the project, what your fee includes and an outline of what they will be charged extra should they exceed the scope of the original brief, you can refer back to it if required.

Plus, as they would have agreed to it in order to accept your quote in the first place, they can’t quibble.

Over to you

How do you go about defining the projects you work on?

Have you experienced moving goal posts? If so, how did you deal with it?

Leave a comment below and let us all learn from your experiences.