How To Brief A Copywriter To Get The Best Results

Does an actor learn his lines without a script? Does a student learn without instructions from a teacher? Did you learn to drive without an instructor?

If you want something done right, you need to give directions. And the key to getting the most out of your copywriter is to provide a descriptive and insightful brief.

Yes it can be time-consuming if you’re not used to it, but asking me to write something for you without a brief is like asking me to fly blind. It’s a critical step and here’s why:-

  1. I can’t write about something I don’t really understand, especially if it’s a new market for me [Well, technically I can but you might not like the result]
  2. The end product will be of much better quality [see Point 1 above]
  3. It keeps both of us accountable for the end result

What do I need from you in a copywriting brief?
When we first talk, there are just a few basic things I need to know – call this Part A. Like who your target market is, what you want to say to them (your key message) and how you want them to react (the Call to Action).

If we agree to proceed, that’s when I’ll send you a template to fill in, which is my Copywriting Brief – call this Part B.

On the assumption that Part A was completed fully then 50% of the work required for Part B is done. Most of the rest is quantitative (i.e. basic company details). But there are a few more qualitative insights I need:-
• Your brand positioning
• Your tone of voice
• Any target keywords
• F-A-B or Features-Advantages-Benefits

It’s this last bit of detail that sometimes floors clients. But if you can’t convey some fundamentals around why your product is so great and why your customers should care, then how can you expect me to write good copy for you?

If you don’t just take a little bit of time to brief me properly, the risk is that what you get back will be a string of words that might be easy to read, but they won’t address your target audience or include your key messages. And I’ll still get paid.