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Before I was a copywriter myself, I occasionally hired copywriters. Many of them sent me copywriting briefs which I had to complete. I hated them. I remember one particular case where I wanted a 7-800 word blog article. The brief took hours to complete and ended up at over 1500 words!

That’s one reason NoBull Marketing doesn’t usually ask for a written copywriting brief. It’s painful for the client, and the aim is to make things easier for you, not harder.

But to do a good job, I still need clear direction. I normally get this via a client Zoom meeting. Using Zoom means I can record, which frees me up to concentrate on you and your answers to questions. Sometimes, though, clients don’t have good answers to my questions and that can hold things up.

So, here are some things you might want to think about before talking to me. Or to any other copywriter, for that matter!

1.    Is this a one-off job or are do you want a copywriter for ongoing work?

Why does this matter?

It affects cost. A copywriter needs to spend time understanding your business, your brand, and what makes you unique. If they’re going to do one single piece of copy for you, they have to factor all that time into the price of a single project.

It may also affect your budget – and not only because a one-off cost is easier to handle than an ongoing commitment. It’s worth remembering that the copy for a single key piece of marketing collateral (a website, or a brochure) which is going to last for a year or two is more valuable to you than a month’s worth of blogs or social media posts.

2.    Do you want conversion copy, relationship-building copy, or both?

What’s the difference?

Conversion copy is meant to drive a specific goal. A purchase. An enquiry. A sign-up. You find it on landing pages, in third party email blasts and in ads intended to generate a response.

Relationship-building copy is less about a hard result and more about building engagement and trust. You find it in blogs, newsletters and some ads. It’s the essence of content marketing, in that it educates, informs and entertains rather than sells.

Man using a megaphone to spruik his vegetables for sale represents direct selling copywriting, while the woman who smiles from behind her vegetable stall represents relationship-building

You can think of it as the difference between hard selling and soft selling. Of course, a lot of copy sits between the two. Being clear what you want helps you brief the copywriter better. Individual copywriters also have different preferences and strengths, so ask!

3.    Do you want long form or short form copy?

Long form copy includes:

  • blogs full of information or stories, which can be anything from 700 to several thousand words
  • e-books
  • white papers
  • case studies

Short form copy includes

Emails can be either long or short, depending on your market and goals.

If you’re assessing a few copywriters, ask for examples of their work in a format close to what you want.

4.    Do you need Search Engine Optimisation?

Obviously, this applies to copy which will be published online only. But not all of that needs to be optimized for search.

  • Your main website pages and blogs should usually be optimised for search. The goal is to generate more site traffic and more enquiries.
  • If you’re creating a landing page and driving traffic to it via paid advertising, optimisation isn’t an issue.
  • Social media posts also don’t require optimisation. (Hashtags, on the other hand…)

5.    What are your expectations around budget and turnaround times?

Fast vs Cheap vs High Quality

Some copywriters may not turn projects around very fast, or be able to start immediately. How much does that matter to you?

If you plan to publish blogs or send email newsletters regularly, consider ongoing affordability.

If you’re going to spend thousands of advertising dollars driving traffic to a single landing page (or a set of landing pages which you test) it makes sense to invest more in the copy.

Getting these five points clear in your own mind will help both you and the copywriter – whoever you choose in the long run! A tighter copywriting brief is always easier to work with.

Once you know what you’re looking for, let’s talk!


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