How to brief your copywriter

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Whether you need a business marketing copywriter to help you with a brochure, a website, an advertorial, a sales email, or a pay-per-click advertisement, it doesn’t matter, you always begin with a brief.

But do you know how to brief your copywriter? Get your project off to a flying start by providing clear instructions, ensuring a good quality first draft, and saving lots of to-ing and fro-ing.

Start your copywriting brief with basic information

Tell your copywriter the:
  • organisation’s name and contact details
  • deadlines for first and final copy
  • nature of your business and services.

What is the format?

Give a brief description of the project and say what format the copy will appear in (a brochure, a website, etc).

What is the purpose?

Explain what you want the copy to achieve whether it’s sales, donations or to inform people.

Who are your readers?

It’s essential that your copywriter tailors their work to your audience so you need to give some key information eg. ‘retired women between sixty and eighty with lots of disposable income and plenty of leisure time.’

Brief your copywriter about your house style

Provide your copywriter with a house-style guide if you have one.  This is a set of rules that dictate how all written communication must be formatted.  The guide might detail the font style and size, how the text should be justified, specific use of punctuation, spelling choices eg. ‘ise’ or ‘ize’, and so on.

Explain your brand personality

Brief your copywriter about your brand’s unique personality.  For instance, is your tone chatty and friendly?  Creative and imaginative? Authoritative without being stuffy?

Outline the content

Your job is to tell your copywriter what you want to say, and your copywriter’s job is to decide how best to say it.  You might provide a bullet point list of the key messages you want to communicate.  Highlight the most important point on this list.  Detail any particular phrases or words that you want the copywriter to use and specify the word count.

Know your call to action

What is it that you want your audience to do after they’ve read your communication?  For example, do you want them to purchase something or to sign up to receive further information?  Make sure your copywriter is aware of your goal.

Decide whether you need images

Will the copy accompany images? When you brief your copywriter explain how the images and copy must link together and talk about any captions that you want to include.

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