A Surefire Way to Get Amazing Copy (The Copywriting Brief)
You want your words to wow.
So you’ve decided to hire a copywriter.
But how on earth does a copywriter know which words are the right words for you?
It’s simple. It all begins with the copywriting brief.
WHAT’S A COPYWRITING BRIEF
The copywriting brief lays the foundation for the copy. Just as a building is only as strong as its foundations, the same applies for copy.
Think of the brief as like speed dating. Although it’ll take a lot longer than the 60 seconds or so you get at speed dating. When you compare the briefing time to how long it’s taken you to learn all you know about your business – the copywriting briefing is akin to a business speed date!
The brief is a 2-part process
1. The questionnaire (Different copywriters have different names for this document. You may see any variation or combination of these words: creative / copywriting / project / client + brief / questionnaire / discovery.)
2. The discussion
Your copywriter is going to ask you a ton of challenging questions (well, if she’s any good she will!)
First, you’ll complete the project questionnaire. At this point, you’ll probably think you’ve answered every possible question about your business. Wrong! Your copywriter will take your answers, and come up with a bajillion more questions.
Why? Because she wants to know your business inside and out. She wants to know your business almost as well as you do – so she can write from a position of authority.
What’s covered in the brief?
The copywriting briefing process will nail down these key areas, at the least:
- Project scope (what you need written + the shape/size/length – e.g. 4 web pages of 500 words each, 1 landing page of 1,000 words, 1 DL brochure, 1 sales email of 250 words)
- Objectives (what’s the aim of the piece – why are you creating it and what do you want people to do as a result of reading it)
- Audience (who are we talking to)
- The tone of voice (how should the piece sound)
- Background on your business (what you do, why you do it, who you do it for, brand personality, competitors, testimonials/awards/accolades)
- Features (and benefits) of your product(s)/service(s) (list all features of the product(s)/service(s) the piece covers – it’s your copywriter’s job to uncover the benefits but go ahead and give it a crack yourself if you like)
WHY YOU NEED A COPYWRITING BRIEFGreat brief = great copy!
Your copywriter can’t just pull the right words from thin air (friend, she ain’t no magician). She could try, but the copy she produces isn’t likely to achieve the results you’re after.
You have to give her all the information she needs to write from a position of strength and knowledge.
The copywriting brief:
- Is critical for ensuring the copy delivered meets all your expectations.
- Will save time and money in the long run.
- Will give you a greater chance of getting it right the first time – so you’ll hopefully only need minor tweaks in the revision rounds. Meaning you get your final copy much faster!
YOUR ROLE IN THE COPYWRITING BRIEF
Your job is to arm your copywriter with all pertinent info so she can write the right words to sell your business.
There’s no such thing as TMI in your copywriting briefing. Your copywriter will be able to sort through what’s important and what’s not. And sometimes, the things you think aren’t important are the GOLD a copywriter is dying to use. So don’t hold back!
Completing the questionnaire
When you first look at the questionnaire, you may baulk at some of the questions.
How can I answer that? I’ve got no idea! It’s too hard!
Read through all the questions in the brief, then put it down and walk away. Let your subconscious mull over it for at least an hour. You’ll be surprised with what your brain comes up with during that break. Promise.
Don’t feel pressured to write superb answers. If you had the time and inclination to hone your writing, you’d likely just write the copy yourself! I promise your copywriter is not expecting word-perfect answers.
And remember that dot point answers will suffice. Even if they’re just one word (although more is better, one word is better than none!)
Just get those ideas down. Your copywriter needs some info to work with, and dot points or one-word answers give a starting point for the conversation. She’ll ask you a bunch of questions to tease out the gold nuggets of info she needs.
You just might enjoy the process! It can be a wonderful way to learn about your business. Or to finally nail down some things you’ve never been able to answer (or have never thought about before).
THE COPYWRITING BRIEF – THE KEY TO AMAZING COPY
The copywriting brief is your best friend (besides your fav copywriter!) when it comes to nailing your copy.
If your copywriter asks a gazillion questions, then you should do a happy dance.
And if your copywriter asks no questions or the brief is rather brief, then you should worry!