A thorough copywriting brief is vital. 

You wouldn’t attempt to create a complex meal without a detailed recipe. Or assemble flat-pack furniture without the full instructions.

The same goes for copywriting. Your copywriter can’t write successfully about your business without the full information.

Starting with a comprehensive brief means you are more likely to get the copy you need — and get it more quickly with fewer rounds of revisions.

What my brief will ask you.

Every copywriter works slightly differently, but here’s a taste of my brief and what I’ll need from you.

Project and deliverables:

  • Media — e.g. brochure, website, article, blog
  • Project scope — what you are expecting to be delivered
  • Budget constraints — how much you want to pay
  • Number of pages or word count required
  • Timescale for the project — deadlines for the first and final drafts.

1. Describe your company in 3-5 words.

This helps me understand how you see your business and the impression you want your communications to convey.

When choosing your words, I encourage you to think about your approach, your values and your value proposition for your customers.

Using just three to five words keeps it focused on the things that really matter to you.

Examples might include:
Established, professional, caring, friendly, ethical, green, specialist, family-run, flexible, customer-focused, young, dynamic, fun, quirky, vibrant, fresh, cool, creative, fashionable, stylish, contemporary, large, small.

2. Describe exactly what you do.

Your description should use the simplest terms possible and avoid unnecessary jargon.

Distilling your proposition to its simplest form can help you see your business from a new and enlightening perspective.

It also helps me establish a solid foundation for your copy.

3. Describe your typical target audience or customer.

Who are communicating, marketing or selling to?

Think about their age, gender, interests, aspirations, issues, income, family, culture, location and other relevant factors.

Understanding your customers helps me determine the appropriate language and tone to use, to communicate your message in the most effective way.

4. Describe your main selling points.

What makes your business interesting or appealing?

What makes it better than your competitors’ businesses?

What do you offer that your they don’t?

Why do your customers buy from you?

Your selling points distinguish your business and set it apart from your competitors. These are the things I will want to focus on and push to the forefront.

Examples might include:
Lower prices, speed, convenience, location, design, ingenuity, custom/bespoke work, uniqueness, flexibility, personal service, expertise, craftsmanship, ease of use.

5. What ‘voice’ does your business use to communicate with its audience?

The ‘voice’ is a suitable language and tone, appropriate for your target audience. It is mostly determined by what the business does and who its audience is.

I will want to get this right, so your communications ‘speak’ to your audience in the most effective way.

Examples might include:
Assured, professional, conversational, humorous, friendly, formal, authoritative, reassuring, understanding, empathic.

6. Do you have any credentials you wish to be mentioned?

This can mean anything that supports the credibility and legitimacy of you or your business.

Examples might include:
Awards, certificates, licences, permits, official endorsements, special qualifications, trade memberships, accreditations, reviews.

7. Who do you see as your main competitors and what are their strengths?

You want your communications to outshine, or differ from, your competitors’. To achieve this, I will need to see what your competitors are doing.

Identifying their strengths, in comparison to your own, helps me position your business for the best competitive advantage.

8. Are there any alternatives to your product or service?

If there is a viable alternative, why should your customers choose your product or service?

I may need to acknowledge the alternative before explaining why your offering is better.

9. What are the main objectives for your project?

Why are you commissioning the project?

What are you hoping to achieve?

I need clear aims and objectives to deliver the right kind of copy.

Examples might include:
Increasing sales, improving engagement, prompting sign-up, increasing enquiries, educating or informing your audience, widening your market.

10. Other sources

I’m a fact checker. If you give me a fascinating nugget of information that supports your business, I will want to look it up and cite it correctly when I write about it.

Why?

Because your audience won’t automatically believe anything you say. You have to earn their trust by using credible, citable sources.

Official sources are usually packed with helpful information that will help me learn about your industry in the best possible way and identify where your business fits in.

Additional resources

  • Existing marketing materials — so I can match the tone and style
  • Case studies or testimonials — to make your business case stronger
  • Statistics or research — to support what you’re doing
  • Analytics from your current website, if you have one — to determine the strengths to capitalise on and weaknesses to improve on.

Want to work with me?

If you have the information and would like to discuss a project, it’s easy to get in touch.

If you don’t have all the information and need some extra help to formulate a winning strategy, I would be happy to help you with that too.

If you’re interested in working with me and would like to find out more, you can do so via my website.