A clever website, a novel brochure, a smart newsletter: all three formats need the help of a copywriter to reach their final form – to trigger the readers’ emotions, to make them enthusiastic about the brand or product, or to encourage them to make a purchase. This final form should be reached as quickly as possible – after all, time is money. But if you try to save time by putting together a very short brief, or even no brief at all, it will ultimately end up costing more. Why?
How to work efficiently
It would certainly make life easier, but sadly, copywriters don’t usually have psychic powers. They don’t know what you want if you don’t tell them. The way to get a good text is to give them as much information as possible about the intent, the format and the target audience. This is the fastest way to the success you want, with the fewest mistakes and with reasonable costs.
Rules for a successful briefing
Before you commission a text, it’s worth thinking about a few basic things:
Is it aimed at:
• Teenagers looking for cheap, fashionable clothes?
• Well-off over-50s planning for their retirement?
• IT project managers making purchasing decisions?
• Middle management staff looking to use particular services?
Is it for:
• A company blog?
• A product brochure?
• A company video?
• A white paper?
Do you want to:
• Generate new business contacts?
• Establish your own company as an expert voice in the industry?
• Win over sellers with detailed product descriptions?
• Boost direct sales to end customers?
How do you want your text to sound?
• Serious, businesslike, intelligent?
• Friendly and approachable?
• Bold, snappy, sales-oriented?
• Entertaining and funny?
These four examples make it clear how the feel of a text can change as you adjust the individual parameters. Here are a few other points to keep in mind to help make your brief perfect:
• Define the length of the text
• Provide information about the competition
• Specify anything that shouldn’t be mentioned
• Terminology: do you use a corporate language?
• Provide additional information, e.g. the previous newsletter
• Deadline: the more time you leave, the better
See your product with fresh eyes
A good brief requires time and reflection. If you spend the extra time thinking about your product, you’ll be able to describe it as accurately as possible. This has two advantages: firstly, you might end up seeing it from a different perspective and discovering inconsistencies, or neglected characteristics that would be perfect for marketing. Secondly, you save time, money and hassle – the more the copywriter knows, the more accurately and efficiently they can work. This means you can avoid tedious and unnecessary feedback sessions and achieve much clearer and more successful communication.
Make it a relationship
You should have a good relationship with your copywriter; only close collaboration can help you communicate as accurately and successfully as possible. That’s just how we approach it at Supertext: we know our language professionals, and so we know what they can do. We maintain a close relationship with them – which you also benefit from. And we have a detailed outline for our copywriting briefs.
Cover image via Unsplash (CC0)