A copywriter does their best work off the back of a great brief. Much like a designer, a copywriter needs to know about their client before they can produce engaging copy for readers of that client.
What is a copywriting brief?
A copywriting brief is a summary of all the relevant information the client has about the context of the work.
The Brief Layout:
Outline your business in just a few words. If it was us, we’d say ‘Digital Marketing & Design’.
The Goal of the Copy
What would success look like with the finished read? Is there a particular message you want conveyed – why? Do you want enquiries, or more footfall in the store? What action should the reader take after reading?
It is worth noting here what the USP of your business is as this really helps inform that final action.
The Context of the Copy
Context is everything. If we were asked to write a product description for a bottle of shampoo, we need context. Are we writing the label? Are we writing the store sign? Is it the website description? Is there similar, existing copy to bear in mind? Is the copy at eye level or far away? Do readers get a chance to look properly or is it billboard-style blink and you miss it? The context of the copy is essential to the end result.
The context within the business is also essential. Is there a brand reinvention? A product launch? Are you updating or expanding the business? Any references to current work are helpful here.
It is useful to have old documents or a look at the other writing that exists around your brand. This will help inform consistency or distance – knowing what to change or to keep.
What is the target market?
At this point, we’d hope that was starting to become clear. To avoid surprises, let us know your target market. Ontop of that, narrow it down further to your ideal customer within that market. Include details of gender, location, age, business-to-consumer, business-to-business
This goes back to the context – state explicitly where the copy will be appearing. On the website – which page? Which part of the page? In your advertisement – what advertisement? How much space to we have – what’s the word limit for that space?
Do you have a particular format you prefer the copy to be in? PDF/Word/ODT? Does the font matter?
Provide the copywriter with examples of work you think are relevant. They could be examples of copy you think are effective or the complete opposite. This can help give us an idea of your preferences and the direction you want the copy to go in. Giving examples of copy is a much more effective way of stating your aims than just trying to tell us. We find that we can understand the feel of a piece of text better with an example than with an explanation. The picture, or in this instance the copy, tells a thousand words.
Stating your budget lets the copywriter know the amount of time they can reasonably dedicate to the copy. We will let you know if we don’t need so much! Depending on the finesse of the task, the amount of time per word will differ dramatically. A 1,000-word blog will take a very different approach to a 30-word advert, or an enticing product preview. Openness ensures the copy can be delivered and that both the client and copywriter will be a realistic and good fit for each other.
Timescale and deadline
Offer a realistic schedule. What makes it realistic? Consider the amount of time needed for the copy to be written and research to be done – 400 words/hour is realistic after research. This decreases dramatically for fine work like advert or product-descriptive copy. To elaborate, this is because work where the copy needs to say a lot in a short space needs a greater planning process. The brainstorming and market considerations will dominate the time needed to get the best result here.
After that, consider how much time you’ll want to review the work and for any amends to be done. Consider also any gaps in knowledge that might need filling in on your end – dates and various confirmations – before the copy can be completed.
The Best Text
Every piece of copy benefits from time to review and revise. As I write these words, I know it will be hours if not days before this blog is actually published because of a sensible review process. Your copy needs that too.
At Digital Glue, this is what we do. We know that our best work comes when we listen first. We give you the information you need – in blogs like this – to ensure that the results are the best they can be. Getting us an informed copy brief means that you will save time in the long-run and get the very best text for your investment.
If you’re after a skilled copywriter for long-form copy like blogs or website content, or finer work like brochures and adverts, get in touch with us to discuss how we can achieve that.
You should follow us on twitter here.