A copywriter can do wonderful things with words, but they’re not mind-readers.
Investing a little of your time and effort to brief them thoroughly will help them write you the copy you want and need.
The kinds of things they want to know are:
Who are you, what do you do and how do you help your clients?
We want to know what you do, what makes you tick and how you’re different from the next person. The more succinctly you can do this, the better feel we can get for what you do. Extra detail is useful, but a clear description is brilliant. Don’t worry about making it sound exciting or word-perfect – that’s our job!
Where will the copy appear?
Is it for a leaflet? A website? A newsletter? All of the above? It really helps if we know where the words are destined to end up.
Who are we talking to?
Who is your customer, your supporter, your audience? The more we know about them, the more we can mould the language and persuasion we use to encourage them to get on board with you and what you do.
What do you want them to know?
It may sound silly, but this is fundamental. Yes, you have lots of information you could tell people about your business, and you might want to tell them everything. But they won’t remember everything. Pick a handful of core messages you want to stick in their minds so that we can focus in on them.
What do you want them to do?
It’s all very well telling customers ‘stuff’. But what do you want your audience to DO? Do you want them to read more about you? Buy something? Book an appointment? Donate money? This is often the whole point of the copy we’re writing so make sure you know your aim.
What do people say about you?
It’s really helpful to know what other people say about you. It might be that there are nuggets hidden away in your testimonials that point to things that you don’t realise are special about your business! Who better than your happy customers to tell us why you’re so great? They also add weight to your copy, backing up what you’re already saying about yourself. Even if we don’t use them all, we want to see them.
What does your organisation sound like?
How do it speak? Do you refer to it as ‘I’, ‘we’ or in the third person? Tone of voice is really important. We’re good at writing in different tones, and we can guide you in this if you don’t already have ideas, but we’re pretty sure you will already have some kind of idea of what you do (or don’t) want to sound like. Do you want to be formal or informal? Are you corporate? Or are you a little bit sweary? It’s important we know any definite thoughts you have on this, even if you don’t’ have a brand voice in place already.
All this might look a bit scary but, in reality, it’s normally just a chat on the phone with your copywriter. They’ll ask you questions to find out this information, but it’s useful if you’ve had a think about some of it beforehand.
Of course, they’ll also want to know other things too (deadlines, word counts, how you’re going to pay!) but they’re not half as interesting to read about in a blog post, now, are they?