A lot of businesses will soldier on with their marketing by writing their own content. But there will come a time when you either don’t have the time to produce your own stuff, or you realise it just isn’t working for you.

That’s when you need to call in an expert and find yourself a good copywriter.

If you’ve never worked with one before it can be quite daunting. Many people think they can just give a copywriter a call, say I need x pages of web copy or x number of words for a brochure and receive an instant quote. It doesn’t work like that. Most copywriters will charge a fixed fee for a project. You see, you’re not paying for their time, you’re paying for their expertise and the experience they have amassed over a number of years.

They will want to know everything about you, your company, your customers, your product/service and your brand. Its a collaborative process during which they will want to bounce ideas off you to make sure the end result is right for you, your customers and your business. .

Whether they use a briefing document or have a face to face meeting with you, they’re going to need a lot of information.

Briefing a copywriter

This is the type of information your copywriter will be looking for:

1. Goals – what you want to achieve with the project.

2. Brand personality – how do you want your company to be seen? If you already have an established brand they will need sight of existing sales materials so they can get a feel for the tone, voice and vocabulary already used to make sure this new piece of collateral fits perfectly.

3. Audience – who are you selling to? What are they looking for?

4. Background – never assume your copywriter knows everything about your industry – they won’t because that’s not their area of expertise, copywriting is. Tell them about your competitors, how your market works, the background of your company etc.

5. General knowledge – although what you do seems obvious, it may not to anyone else. Describe exactly what your company and your product/service does. If you leave anything out the end result won’t work. It’s up to you to make sure your copywriter gets all the information they need to make the project work. Also make sure they have a good understanding of the terminology you use; they will want to avoid it within the copy so it’s essential they understand it to describe it in layman’s terms.

As well as this type of information, they will also need to know things like:

  • Time scales – don’t drop last minutes deadlines on them, give them plenty of time to do their research, writing and second draft (if needed)
  • They will need one point of contact as several people all having input will cause confusion
  • How quickly you will be able check the drafts they produce, this saves them wasting a lot of time on chasing you for answers
  • Keeping them in the loop, especially if anything changes that will affect the project

Your copywriter should be viewed as part of your team, not just a hired hand. The more information you provide and the more open you are about your business, the more familiar they will become with your products and services and, of course, your customers’ needs.

The copywriter/client relationship should always be a two way street.