So, you’ve decided to hire a copywriter? Congratulations, that’s an excellent idea!
Now you need to put together a copywriting brief.
Why do I need to do this?
You don’t have to do it. Nobody’s going to hold a gun to your head and make you.
If the copywriter that you’ve hired is any good they’ll ask you these questions anyway.
However, to save time and get your ideas straight, it helps to write this information down before you speak to a copywriter about what you want them to do.
Cool, so I’ll just jot down a few ideas.
Well no, you need to be a bit more specific than that.
Putting together a comprehensive copywriting brief now will save you time and money later down the line when endless rounds of revisions are needed because the copywriter didn’t produce what you wanted.
The more detailed the brief you provide at the start, the more likely you are to be happy with the copywriter’s work.
The copywriter is also more likely to enjoy working with you, and less likely to blacklist you or label you as an “awkward” client.
Ok, so what should I include in my brief?
If you’re briefing a copywriter that you haven’t worked with before and who’s unfamiliar with your organisation, you need to include the following information in your brief.
Remember, the more you include the better so don’t be shy about providing links to further information that you think might be helpful. I guarantee your copywriter will thank you for it!
If you’re approaching a copywriter that you’ve never worked with before, the best place to start is by introducing yourself and your organisation. Useful information includes:
- Your organisation’s name
- Your organisation’s mission statement
- Links to your organisation’s website and social media channels
- Your name, position and contact details
- The names, positions and contact details of anyone else the copywriter will work with on the project
- Brief description of the project (e.g. longform sales page to launch a new product)
- Primary aim (e.g. increase product sales)
- Secondary aims (e.g. get more followers on social media, increase web traffic, etc.)
- How you will measure success (conversions, page views, social media engagement, etc.)
- Key deadlines
- Define who is going to be reading the copy
- Basic demographics
- Level of expertise and familiarity (do they know your organisation well or are they newbies?)
- Primary call to action
- Key messages (what the copy must say – provide brief bullet points that the copywriter can expand)
- Word count
- Any accompanying content (video, images, audio recordings, etc.)
- How does this project relate to wider business objectives?
- What are your organisation’s main values?
- Examples of existing marketing materials
- Who are your main competitors?
- What are they doing that you’d like to do too?
To keep the need for editing to a minimum it’s a good idea to provide the copywriter with your organisation’s written style guide.
If you don’t have one of these, try to give some guidance to your copywriter about how you would like them to write. This could include:
- American English or UK English?
- First or third person?
- Tone of voice
- Naming conventions
- Formatting preferences (e.g. title case for headings)
You don’t have to specify this in your brief, but you need to have an idea of what your budget is for a project before you start the hiring process.
Any copywriter you speak to will want to know this information, and if you say that you don’t know, alarms bells will start ringing. They might suspect that you have a very limited budget or are going to be difficult about payment.
The best policy is to always be upfront about what you are willing to spend.
Anything else that might help
Don’t feel limited by the bullet points above, they’re just the basics. Feel free to include anything and everything that you think might help the copywriter produce what you want.
- Where did your inspiration for this project come from?
- Is there a writer whose style you particularly like?
- Is there anyone already doing what you’d like to do?
- Is there anything you really don’t like?
The bottom line is that no matter how talented your copywriter is, I can guarantee they are not telepathic. In order to get what you want, you need to communicate this properly and thoroughly, or risk disappointment.