How Freelance Copywriters Get the Best from Their Interviewees

October 23rd 2019       Sally Ormond       freelance copywriter, interviews, subject matter experts
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A big part of the freelancer copywriter’s workload is research. That could mean hours scouring the Internet, reading journals and magazines, or interviewing subject matter experts. 

It’s the last one, the interview, I want to concentrate on here. 

A subject matter expert is precisely what it says on the tin – an expert. That makes them the best way of gathering information for your writing project. The reason you’re interviewing them is that, although they are incredibly knowledgeable, they tend to be terrible marketing writers.

However, when it comes to your interview you must remember for whom you are writing. That’s why there is no ‘I’ in interview – at least for your project.  

When conducting the interview, you need to come away knowing:

  • Who your client is and what they do
  • Why they do it?
  • Who they do it for?
  • How they help their clients
  • How they want to come across in their marketplace
  • Their brand image
  • How they want to sound

Notice something about that list?

It’s all about them – your client. There is nothing in that list about you, and that’s just how it should be.

Think about your audience

For some people, copywriting is simply writing about a company and its products or services. 

Wrong.

It’s about your client’s customers and the benefits they receiveas a result of dealing with your client. 

But even more than that, when writing for your client it’s crucial you forget about how you would phrase things or the vocabulary you would. Instead, you have to write as though you were your customer.

You see, a freelance copywriter shouldn’t have a recognizable style. That’s because, for every job they undertake, they must take on the voice and style of their client. 

Taking on someone else’s persona is not easy, but if you want your copy to appear genuine, it’s what you have to do. 

Leave your preconceptions at home

When you arrive to do your client interview, immerse yourself in the way they speak, their mannerisms, the ‘feel’ you get from them. By doing this, you will achieve the right tone to take, especially if there are no brand guidelines to follow.

For example, just because they’re an insurance firm and the last job you did was for a different insurance company, it doesn’t mean you can get away with writing in precisely the same style: because they’re different companies.  

As a writer, it’s your job to adapt your writing style to suit the personality of your client and, if necessary, blend perfectly with the existing voice used on their other marketing materials. 

There’s no room for egos in copywriting.  

For ego-less copywriting that ticks all your boxes, call Sally Ormond on +44(0)1449 779605.

Tags: freelance copywriter, interviews, subject matter experts
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