6 Ways to Nail a Copywriting Brief
Want to know the secret to getting perfect copy every time? It’s all in the brief. Put a bit of extra effort into providing a thorough brief and you’ll find your writers deliver content that hits the sweet spot.
Of course, not every company has a cupboard full of corporate brand guidelines, copybooks and style guidelines all ready to go. You’ll need to fill in the gaps for your writers. That’s where a well-thought-out brief comes into play.
1. Be precise about your project
So you want content for your website. Now you need to consider how many pages that website might have and roughly how much content you want on every page. And are there subpages to consider? Will you want a blog? Is there a set deadline to meet? Deciding on the detail in advance will save much angst later on.
2. There’s no such thing as too much information
Dig out every piece of communication about your company and hand it to your copywriter. That’s everything from print brochures, adverts and press releases to email newsletters and previous versions of your website. Basically, the more supporting material you can supply, the better. It will give your writer an insight into how you present your company.
3. Drill down into your audience
Your writer will want to know as much as possible about the audience they’re addressing. How much do they already know about your product? How do you want them to feel about it?
And we like to know exactly what makes these people tick as well. Writers don’t just want to know their age and job role. We want to know what keeps them up at night.
4. Define your points of difference
This is harder than you might think. You know your business delivers ‘Premium IT Services with 24/7 Support’, because that’s your strapline. But the trouble is, most of your competitors will claim to provide exactly the same thing. You’ll need to identify your USP. You’ll also need to decide what the personality of your company is. Are you friendly? professional? exciting?
5. Give examples of things you do and don’t like
Sometimes it’s easier to explain with a negative. One of your competitors may have a website that you think is a complete car crash. Show this to your writer and explain why it’s so awful. Equally, maybe you secretly admire the company brochure of another of your competitors. Show your writer a copy and try to explain what’s working for you. Just as you might take a photo of your ideal look into a hairdressing salon, try the same with your content wishes.
6. Narrow down the focus
One question my clients often stumble over is:
What is the single most important thing for the copy to communicate?
While it’s fine to have a few key messages that you want to put across, if possible, try to identify the core point behind it all. Perhaps you want your audience to realise that there’s always a friendly, helpful person at the end of the support line. Perhaps you want them to know that you’ll always get the best prices on hardware. Decide on this message and your writer will hammer it home for you.
For me, the most important part of any copywriting project is the briefing stage. I may spend longer on this than you might think necessary, but the results are worth it every time. Take a look at my in-depth copywriting brief. I ask all clients to complete this, as much as possible.
Because, in the end, a happy copywriter leads to a happy client.