Six things you need to tell your copywriter

in Working with a copywriter

So you’ve decided to use a copywriter. Great! (Still wondering if it’s a good idea? Three reasons to use a copywriter might help.) So how do you help them to help you? What do they need from you to give you what you need?

Here are six things you need to tell your copywriter before they start work.

The format

What do you need writing? Leaflet, article, website, blog? If there are size constraints or word limits, share these too (it’s a four page A4 leaflet or a 750 word article, for example).

The deadline

Does this need to be written for tomorrow or is the deadline in a couple of weeks? (A word to the wise: “a couple of weeks” [or more] is better than “tomorrow”. Your copywriter won’t thank you if you always need things in a rush – and you’ll get a better result when they’ve had time to get a proper grasp of what’s required.)

The target market

Who is the leaflet / article / website / blog aimed at? Be as specific as you can. “People in the public sector” is good. “People in the communications department of county councils who tend to be female, 30+ and concerned with finding enough hours in the day” is better.

Your copywriter needs to know this so they can use an appropriate tone of voice. (If you’ve got examples of things written for the same or similar target audience, it’s a good idea to share these too.)

The aim(s)

What do you need the leaflet / article / website / blog to achieve? Raise awareness? Inform? Entertain? Celebrate? Manage expectations? Highlight an achievement? Get people to call / sign up / buy?

Your copywriter needs to know this so they know the approach to take.

The facts

You can divide the facts into two areas:

The background

What does your business or organisation do? How big is it? Who are its customers?

The foreground

What information do you need to get across in this specific piece?

Include background information, even if you think it’s not directly relevant. The better the understanding your copywriter has of your business and what it offers, the better the result they’ll give.

The competitors

Who are your competitors? What are their web addresses? What are their strengths and weaknesses? This will help your copywriter to understand your market and your place in it better.

How do you share this information?

However you feel comfortable doing it. If it’s easiest to chat things over while your copywriter makes notes, then do that. If you want to put together a formal written brief, then do that instead. Copywriters are great listeners and love reading, so however you want to do it is fine.

In conclusion

The key to a good result is in knowledge. Share your knowledge of your business and your copywriter will be able to use their knowledge of words and writing to create a great result!

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