Save time and money with the perfect copywriting brief

A truly great text is the result of reflection and hard work. And good planning. Here’s what you need to consider if you want your text to hit the right notes, even before it’s published.

A user-friendly online store, an intuitive app, a persuasive newsletter: to reach their final form, all three formats need the help of a copywriter who understands the audience and the medium. The goal: content that triggers the readers’ emotions, that makes them enthusiastic about the brand or product, and that encourages them to make a purchase. And to produce this content as quickly as possible – after all, time is money. However, taking the time to put together a good brief will ultimately pay off with a much more convincing result.

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 minimal feedback loops, less frustration and lower costs.

Rules for a successful briefing

Before you commission a text, it’s worth thinking about a few basic things:

The audience

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?

The task

Is it for:

• Social media?
• A product brochure?
• A company video?
• A white paper?

The goal

Do you want to:

• Expand the reach of your channels?
• Generate new business contacts or customers?
• Establish your own company as an expert voice in the industry?
• Make yourself visible online via search engine optimization (SEO)?

The tone

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:

• Terminology: do you use a corporate language? Do you have a style guide?
• Look and feel: in what context will the text appear? If possible, provide images and graphics
• Define the length of the text
• Provide additional information, e.g. the previous newsletter
• Provide information about the competition
• Specify anything that shouldn’t be mentioned
• Deadline: the more time you leave, the better

See your product with fresh eyes

Creating a good brief takes time. If you spend that time thinking about your product, you’ll be able to describe it as accurately as possible. Besides making life easier for your copywriters, this offers another big advantage: you end up seeing your product from a different perspective and discovering inconsistencies or neglected characteristics that are perfect for marketing.

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, so all you have to do is fill it out.

Cover image via Unsplash (CC0)

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