Over the years I’ve worked with briefs of all shapes and sizes. Some have been so detailed that they’re almost an article in themselves. Others have been so short that I’ve had to make guesses as to what the client is looking for. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to create copywriting brief, but ideally you need to divulge enough information that your copywriter gets the content right the first time, without making it so complex that the copywriter can’t put their own creative mark on the work. After all, a copywriter’s job is to take your ideas and develop them into compelling, engaging content.
So, if you’re wondering how to writer a copywriting brief that satisfies both you and your writer, simply try to answer the following questions:
What is your organisation all about?
What do you? Where are you based? What are your products or services? Who’s your target demographic? What’s your company ethos? If you’ve been in business for some time, these details may already be on your website and if so, linking to your About or History pages could be enough. If your copywriter is going to be constructing this type of copy for you, you need to provide as much information as possible so that they can tell your organisation’s story in a tone of voice which resonates with your audience.
What type of content do you need?
This one’s pretty simple; is it an informational page, product description, blog, article, eBook, whitepaper, promotional leaflet, brochure or something else entirely? If you’re looking for ongoing content, particularly for a blog, make this clear so that your copywriter can begin brainstorming ideas for future posts.
What is the goal of your content?
Are you generating leads? Pushing for sales? Encouraging email subscriptions? Great copy should compel your audience to do something, so ask yourself what this is and let your copywriter know. They can include relevant calls to action and tailor the content to persuade the reader to fulfil your goal.
How many words do you want?
The length of the content you need partly influences the cost of the copy, so this one’s important. Check out my tips on choosing the optimum content length, but if you’re unsure, chat to your copywriter and ask for their advice and recommendations.
If you need SEO-friendly copy, what are your keywords and synonyms?
As a general rule of thumb, I recommended picking one or two main keywords for each page of content, with a handful of synonyms and relevant phrases that will help Google understand the context of your content. I explain more about this in my article about keyword density.
If you don’t know what keywords you’re targeting and expect your copywriter to find them for you, you need to make this clear when you first approach them. Keyword research takes time and a copywriter will almost always charge more for this service. Check out this fab guide from Moz to find out How To Do Keyword Research.
When is your deadline?
Be reasonable, here. You can’t expect a copywriter to drop everything and get your copy to you within 24 hours unless you’re willing to pay for a rush job. Chat with your copywriter about a timescale which works for both of you.
Do you have any extra requests?
Sometimes you might have a very specific idea of what you want your content to cover, so let your copywriter know about it. Perhaps you have subheadings in mind that will help guide them on the content of an article. Maybe you have specific blog topics you’d like them to write. Whatever it is, be sure to give them all the details so that they can deliver copy that fulfils all your requirements.
If you’re not so sure about the subject matter of your copy, that’s fine too. For example, if you want a copywriter to produce blog posts for you on an ongoing basis, they may be able to come up with fresh topics and titles that are relevant to your industry, brand, products or services.