10 Crucial Details To Share When You Brief Your Copywriter

Just how much information do you need to brief your copywriter for the project to go smoothly?

My background is in journalism so I’m detail-oriented. For every copywriting brief I take, I use a type of interview process to get your project nailed down. This can be face-to-face (in person or via Skype) or in writing. 

For your copy to achieve your conversion goals – be it to attract customers, get sign-ups or simply to drive more traffic to your site – it's so worth your full involvement with the copywriting brief at the outset. The more information you can give me about your company, goals and ideal customer, the better equipped I'll be to deliver you the high-performing content you need.

How To Brief Your Copywriter

Investing that time to brief your copywriter means you'll get the results you want. With less delay and less re-working. 

Because, much as you’re busy and much as I know you just want to hand off the job, copywriters and clients alike can’t read each other’s minds.

I also know your first question to me will be: “How much will it cost?” That’s fine. I’m happy to give you a ballpark figure before drafting a full scope of work and final quote.

The Best Copywriting Briefs Are Not Brief…

So here, in rough priority, are the vital ingredients for your copywriting brief:

1    Who You Are

Tell me in the kind of language you would use to a friend what your company does and outline your products/services. Without sales speak or jargon It’s great too if you can provide anything else to help me get a grip on who you are. Perhaps the marketing, promotion, advertising, or sales materials you use now.

2    Your Copywriting Goals

Why do you want to create this content? Is it for more online visibility for your product/company? To drive more leads? To make your brand sound different from now? Or for a specific CTA (call to action)? To persuade customers to request a brochure? Download an e-book? Sign up? Attract comment on your blog or inbound links?

3    What’s The Competition?

Can you give me a list of your competitors' websites? What do you like or not like about what they’re doing? Are there keywords they’re ranking for that you want to beat? SEO’s not all about this but it’s helpful to have a sense of the keywords you’re targeting. I'm happy too to assist you with keyword research.

4     Your USP

What’s your marketing proposition? Can you pinpoint the factors that make you different to your competition? And the benefits or solutions your product or service offers? Do you have any proof such as testimonials or research you’ve carried out?

5    Your Target Audience

Can you describe me your buyer personas? Are they, for example, directors of water companies needing to invest in bio-filtration? Or women aged 20-40 interested in running marathons? The more details about their demographics and interests that you can flesh out the better. It’s helpful too to know how your customers find you right now.

6     Tone of voice

In simple terms, express how you want your brand to be seen. You might already have a tone of voice guide. If not, come up with a list of up to six adjectives. Are you professional, corporate and authoritative? Or approachable, irreverent and conversational? You can also point me to websites you admire.

7    Provide The Content

Supply the information you want communicated. You may have draft text; you may only have the concept. That’s fine, so describe what you want to say. State key phrases/terms relevant to the business.

8    Constraints

Let me know if you want me to work within a specific design constraint. Or will the copy lead the design?

9    Project Specifics

This is the practical stuff. What's your deadline? Do you want to set dates for first draft, second draft and third draft? I usually supply a first draft, then ask for your feedback, followed by up to two rounds of revisions. What's the content type? Is it web pages, blogs, white paper, case study, email sales letter or press release etc.? How many pages or how many words do you envisage? What's your preferred delivery format – Word - PDF – CMS inputting? Any special formatting? Meta descriptions, SEO page titles and anchor text to be included? 

10   Anything Else You Want to Tell Me?

Often you’ll think of something important at this point!

So that’s how to brief your copywriter. And if you want to sound me out on your copywriting project, you can get in touch with me here.

Downloadable Copywriting Brief

Why not get a head start and download this copywriting brief here?
Helpful Word Count Guideline:
A web page is typically 250-500 words - 450 minimum is recommended
A page of A4 text is 400-500 words
An email is about 150-250 words
Case studies are usually 500-1000 words
White papers are up to 2000 words but heavy research papers can be considerably longer