It is a common misconception that once you work with a copywriter or copywriting agency, you lose all control of the words and the message. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are a few tips on how to get what you need from your copywriter to help you feel more in control of the process.
Begin with a brief.
Whether it’s your first or fiftieth project with a copywriter, beginning with a solid brief is a sure way to get your points across and to keep the writer focussed. A good brief will tell the writer what you want to talk about and will outline who it is for.
It is the copywriter’s job to craft the copy for that target audience; to translate the ‘what’ of the brief into the persuasive language that convinces an interested person to take action and buy your product or service, or sign up for your report.
A good brief:
- outlines, instead of prescribes: this is a ‘brief’ after all; by outlining the important points you allow the writer some room to write; you are paying for their expertise and prescribing will only weaken your copy
- is specific in purpose, never generic: if you aren’t sure exactly what the web page, brochure or email is supposed to accomplish, then your writer can’t know either; explain what outcome you want, who you are talking to, and the specific purpose of this communication
- defines the scope: this is as much a protection for you as it is for the copywriter’s time; by defining what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out of scope’ you ensure your writer is clear on what needs doing, and you ensure you are paying only for what you asked for
Ask for an early draft to help get what you need from your copywriter.
As a copywriting agency, we routinely produce a first draft of one or two passages or web pages to establish the tone and direction before we run off and produce the whole project.
This helps us as copywriters to know if we’re getting closer to what you envisioned for the project. It also helps you to provide early input into the messages and into the direction of the piece as a whole, before everything is written and get what you need from your copywriter.
This really does save time for everyone in the end, so don’t be shy about asking to see something early on.
Explain your thoughts and ideas, instead of using ‘track changes’.
Rewriting someone else’s work provides very little value to the relationship and it doesn’t help the copywriter to understand why you have a particular piece of feedback.
By explaining to your web copywriter why he can’t use a certain turn of phrase, or why you don’t like a particular passage is the most effective way to have input on the writing.
Professional copywriters know how to take your explanations and apply it to both the passage you indicated as well as across the whole project.
When you allow your copywriter to know the boundaries like this and to understand your way of thinking, you are giving a professional the freedom to work his or her magic, and you are creating a relationship that will ensure you get what you need from your copywriter – their best.