How to brief a copywriter


I have already created a downloadable guide on how to brief your copywriter, so this time round I want to look at what not to include.

Before I get going, it’s worth remembering that all copywriters work differently. Therefore what I’m about to say is personal to me, but you can bet a lot of other professional copywriters feel the same way.

Word count

Writing to a strict word count is like writing in a straightjacket.

Unless it’s dictated by your website design, never impose limits on your copywriter.

The strongest writing is that which uses the right number of words to get the message across.

Technical terms

Never ask your copywriter to include technical terms within your content because ‘it will make you sound knowledgeable.’

It won’t.

Content that’s full of technical jargon and marketing speak is incomprehensible and meaningless. All your reader wants to know is how you’re going to make his or her life better, so show them in plain English.

If you do have to use a technical term make sure it’s fully defined so everyone understands what you’re talking about.

Complex words

The same goes for ‘big words’.

There’s no room in sales copy for hyperbole or elaborate and obscure words. The best content uses simple language and simple sentence structure.

Oh, and before you argue that your content vocabulary should be complex because your audience is highly educated, it doesn’t matter. They are still people who want answers quickly.

Use buzzwords

Breakthrough, market leading, innovative are all words that have been so overused they have been rendered meaningless.

If you do offer a service or product that you like to describe like that, make sure you have some hard facts to back it up, otherwise, you’re just one of the many other market leaders out there.

Make sure your content has substance.

Please trust your copywriter

In the past, I have refused to include some of the above (and more – especially trendy marketing terms that mean absolutely nothing) and have lost work because of it.

But I’ve been doing this a long time now and I have the experience to know what readers want and don’t want.

If you are hiring a copywriter remember you are doing so because you want an expert to help you.

And because they are experts it’s important you listen to what they advise – they know what they’re talking about.