Whether you are hiring a copywriter or crafting your own copy, it is vital to lay out a clear copy brief of what you are trying to achieve, how, and why.
The majority of my clients are sole traders or operate within small, independent businesses. They have little experience of the copywriting process, or how to get the best out of the person who is writing their copy.
To address this, I developed a process which enables me to collate all of the knowledge required to successfully complete a project. Today I want to share that process with you.
Write an Ideal Client profile.
I am constantly rattling on about the importance of understanding your ideal client. So often, we are focused on what we want to say, rather than what our audience needs to hear. The worst case scenario is that you produce copy that your ideal client finds unrelatable, difficult to interpret and missing all of the fine detail that matters to them. Check out my previous post – Understanding Your Ideal Client to see how you can build a clear customer avatar. In the meantime, consider the following points –
Who are they? Are gender, age or marital status relevant aspects to consider?
Do they see you as a luxury or a necessity? Why?
Do they have a disposable income? Where do they spend their free time? How do they prioritise both?
What keeps them up at night? What are the challenges that you can help them overcome? How can you make them happy?
Appreciate the benefits, not features. From their perspective.
Can you show your ideal client how utilising your service, attending your event or buying your product will directly benefit them? To dive deep into the benefits not features of your business, pop over to my blog on the So What Principle.
Understand where you sit in the marketplace.
What you do might not be entirely unique (it rarely ever is), but your ethics, mode of delivery and complementary skills may well be.
Do you know how you differ from your direct competitors? Are you articulating this?
Show your ideal client why they should choose you over the competition and you are halfway there.
Build a brand vocabulary
While you are researching competitors give some thought to the language they use. Is the copy heaving with technical industry terms that a layperson won’t understand?
Do they all use the same old cliches about offering peace of mind and saving time and money? Would you like to conform to type, or break the mould with your own copy?
Can your business offer a breath of fresh air, or do you need to toe the line in order to be taken seriously?
Only you can answer these questions. It can help you, and the professionals that you are working with, if you have a clear idea of the words/phrases that fit into your business voice, along with those you absolutely hate.
Collate and share the facts.
Now that you understand who you are talking to and how; pull together a list all of the pertinent facts that need sharing in the copy. Distil this down into the absolute must-haves, based on what your ideal client needs to know. As you are proofreading, double check that all of these facts can be clearly seen by the reader and are not lost in reams of irrelevant copy.
Write it, edit it, let it breathe.
Now is the time to knuckle down and get the first draft of copy written. Whether you are doing this or you are working with a professional – never expect it to be right first time. I encourage my clients to feel comfortable about providing clear, constructive feedback. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t want until we see it. This is all fine.
When crafting copy, the editing and redrafting stages of the process are as crucial as all of the preparation outlined here. Trust in the process, it won’t let you down.
And finally…what is your call to action?
Well written copy is a beautiful thing, but without a straightforward call to action, it will not lead to a conversion.
Does your ideal client need to click a link to book a ticket? Should they email you for a bespoke estimate or pop by the showroom for a personal tour of your products?
And please, do not give them multiple options in the fear of putting someone off. Overwhelm simply freezes action altogether and with too many choices we often take none.