Good copywriting involves more than just a way with words.
“With the Internet, social media, and other ways to communicate, more and more companies are turning to copywriters to handle their ongoing marketing communication needs,” said Jeremy Durant, a principal in Bop Design (http://www.bopdesign.com/).
“For those that prefer to work with an outsourced copywriter, here are some tips for making sure the project goes smoothly while achieving the desired outcome.”
A good copywriter will have the ability to write for diverse products, services, and companies. However, most copywriters tend to specialize in certain areas, such as technology, professional services, retail products, and so forth. Using a copywriter with direct experience writing in the company’s industry isn’t always necessary, but it usually helps.
Durant says that for companies that plan to use a copywriter for a one-off project, such as a discreet brochure or white paper, it makes sense to hire someone with experience in their industry. If the company has ongoing copywriting needs, developing a relationship with a highly skilled writer and educating them about the business may present a better option.
Once the company has the right copywriter, the next step is to schedule a call to discuss the project. Taking a few minutes to prepare for the call will greatly increase the chances that the copywriter will deliver the desired results.
Here are tips from Bop Design on how to set the stage for the best result:
Outline the scope of the project. This includes not just the results, but also why they’re important. For example, the company wants the white paper to position it as an industry thought leader. Or, the company wants its updated website content to align with its new web design and brand positioning.
Define the goals. Let the copywriter know what the piece needs to accomplish. This could include specific goals such as raising brand awareness, driving more visitors to the web site, or writing a blog that creates a conversation around how clients benefit from using the company’s products or services.
Define the target audience. Give the copywriter a clear idea of who will be reading the marketing collateral and what value it will provide them. Also, let the writer know what action readers should take after reading it. Precisely defining the audience will help the writer zero in on the appropriate messaging.
Explain how the piece will be used. For example, if the project involves a brochure, does it need to softly educate readers or aggressively sell to them? Is it a leave-behind, or do the company’s salespeople use it during the sales process?
Provide details. Indicate the desired length, either in terms of word count or number of pages, as well as the tone and style. Should the writing be conservative or provocative? Edgy or conventional? Funny or serious?
Set a deadline for delivery. “Oh…sometime by the end of the month” is not a deadline. Set a specific date for delivery of the first draft as well as the final one. Leave plenty of time to review the first draft, provide feedback, and allow the copywriter to rewrite the final draft.
“A good copywriter will ask a lot of questions about your business, and that’s where the thought, research and insight come in,” added Durant. “They’ll ask why your customers buy from you, what differentiates your products and services in the marketplace, and other marketing-based questions to inform their writing. Your answers to these questions are critical for helping the copywriter craft the appropriate content and ensure that your project is a winner.”