Providing a brief is one of the — if not the — most important foundational steps in the copywriting process. When you boil it down, it’s also a fairly simple process and yet, so many people either get it wrong or don’t bother to brief at all! If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to briefing your copywriter, here’s our quick run-down on why it’s important and how you should go about it.
Why bother with a brief?
Most people engage a copywriter because they want to save some time and get the job done properly — fair enough, a copywriter can deliver on both of those things, but only if you brief well.
When there’s no brief or a limited one, it’s very likely that your copywriter will miss the mark the first time around. A seemingly endless exchange of tweaks and changes follows, becoming frustrating and time-consuming for both you and your copywriter!
Copywriters can’t produce something from thin air — or, rather, they can but it won’t be what you wanted.
Besides all that, every job is different. The brief you provide means that your copywriter knows the exact specifications of the job they’re working on. It’s just like getting tradies in to do your new kitchen. You let them know dimensions, colours, materials — it’s a no-brainer!
How do I brief effectively?
Despite each job being slightly different, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to come up with a basic brief. Any copywriter worth their salt should ask you plenty of their own questions but it is also important to have a good idea of what you want them to do before going to them. Here are some sample questions to get started with and remember, it’s better to be as specific as possible.
Deliverables: What exactly is the project (a blog, book, website)? What’s the word count? How many pages?
Goals: What are you trying to achieve? What are your KPIs? What should the Call to Action be? How will you know when this project has been successful?
Audience: Who is the audience for this particular project? Be specific – age, gender, location, likes, dislikes, etc. Help your copywriter get to know your audience so they know who they’re talking to.
Style: Do you have a tone of voice for your brand? Do you have a style guide? Perhaps there’s another brand that you like the tone of, provide examples.
Related documents: Are there information sheets, FAQs, examples of old communications copy or any other documents that would be helpful to your copywriter? Providing them up front means that your copywriter has everything they need without having to go back to you for more information. Your copywriter will become an expert on the topic as they work on your project, but your experience and knowledge are unparalleled; give them a head start by providing resources.
Deadline: When is it due? How would you like the final product delivered (Google Doc, Word Doc, PDF)?
Do’s or Don’ts: If there are any other small tips that you would like to let your copywriter know, you can always add them in your ‘do’s and don’ts’ section. Are there certain phrases you would like to avoid or slang that won’t be received well? Let them know if there’s anything that comes to mind!
At the end of the day, copywriters are here to make your life a little easier but things will get frustrating very quickly if the briefing isn’t done properly. It might seem like a drag or like you’re just going through the basics, but it’s important to get the basics right so that your copywriter can nail it the first time around rather than spending days or weeks trying to correct misunderstandings.
Not sure how to craft an effective brief? Incredible Communications can help. Email us at http://www.incrediblecommunications.com.au/#contact or call 0414 711 107.