The Copywriting Brief: The Key to Awesome Content, Plus a Downloadable Template to Make it Easy

Copywriting brief

Copywriting brief

When it comes down to capturing compelling content for your blogs, website, social media or marketing campaigns, business owners who take a few minutes to brief their copywriter gain a huge advantage time-wise and budget-wise. You may feel that the time spent writing a copywriter brief takes just as long as it would to simply write the copy yourself, but it doesn’t have to take more than 15 minutes.

I understand that writing the brief can be a bit of a time sink for busy entrepreneurs, which is why you outsourced your content writing to begin with. The last thing I ever want to do is burden my clients with homework, which is why I created a mercifully abridged brief template that doesn’t take more than15 minutes to complete and benefits everyone in the long run.  Copywriting brief

My goal with the short-and-sweet brief template is to spare you the endless back-and-forth that often occurs when your copywriter sends you a first draft that misses the mark. The brief is particularly valuable when you’re working with a writer for the first time—even the best and brightest rarely get it on the first try if they’re handed an assignment with no brief.   Copywriting brief

The brief is an important tool for saving time, money, and a lot of aggravation for both you and your copywriter. Here are some tips for effectively briefing your copywriter in 15 minutes or less. To make your life even easier, you can download the brief template from the link on this website page so that you can print it, fill it in, and send it to your copywriter, easy peasy.   Copywriting brief

1. Start the brief with the following basic info:

•  Your organization’s name (add the date you’re submitting the brief here too.)
•  Your name, title, and contact details
•  If you’re working with a writer for the first time, it is helpful to write a few sentences to outline who you are, what you do, and how you help your clients or service users.
Copywriting brief

2. Give your copywriter a brief description of the project:

Help your copywriter understand what you’re expecting from them by providing:   Copywriting brief

•  A very brief description of the project that they’re writing about
•  What you want to achieve with this project (e.g., draw traffic, increase search engine ranking, attract new leads, etc.)

3. Describe your target audience

One of the primary goals an experienced copywriter aims for is to attract and maintain the attention of your audience. That’s your goal too, natch.

Make sure your writer knows your audience – be as specific as you need to be. (For instance, Millennials in the U.S. with disposable incomes who live in cities and love to socialize; or moms and dads with school-age children, busy households and little to no spare time.)

4. Tell your copywriter what message you want to communicate.

Be clear about what you want to say. It’s the copywriter’s responsibility to decide how best to say it. Include any key message(s) you want to get across.

Keep the key messages to a minimum, and use bullet points for clarity. Provide specific details—assume your writer is completely unfamiliar with the subject matter he or she is writing about here.

For example, if the project is an event announcement, whether a blog or a marketing flyer, your key messages should be all about important facts:

– The date: Friday, August 11, 2017
– The time: 10 am – 5 pm
– The venue: St. Vincent Community Center
– The purpose: A gathering of the local community to boost neighborhood relations.
– Note any special activities, speakers, etc. For example, Dr. Richard Smith will be on hand to speak about plans for a new community health center. Family activities are planned throughout the day, including face painting, live music from local bands, and plenty of games for children ages 4 to 14.
– Include a catchphrase if relevant, such as ‘It takes a village.”

These specific details are critical to your message, and the copywriter must have them.

This is also a good place to include any keywords or phrases you specifically want to have included in the content (for SEO). If you already have a draft text that needs editing, make sure to pass it on to your copywriter.

5. Specify your call to action (CTA)

Be clear about what action or actions you want your audience to take after reading this content. Purchase raffle tickets? Visit a website for more information? Make a donation? Sign up for email newsletters?

Make your CTA clear and provide specific details about how copywriter should use the CTA to direct readers.

6. Specify word count.

Make your word count specifications clear. If it’s a 600-word article, tell them so. If they’re writing website content, they’ll need to know word limits for each section of each page.

7. State the single most important point the copy must communicate.

In the world of brief writing, this one can be tricky. Narrowing down a host of desirable messages into one you consider the most important can be tough. So, how do you pick the most important one? Consider approaching it this way: if your audience were to remember one thing after reading the copy, what would you want that one thing to be? Just one – not two, not three.

Trying to communicate multiple key messages in one article is never a good idea. Multiple key messages tend to dilute the main point of your content, and readers walk away remembering nothing. Stick to one important point and your audience will be much more likely to take the action you want them to take. Not only that, they’ll be more likely to stick around, peruse your site and read other concise content you have to offer.

8. Let the copywriter know if you have specific images you want to include in the project.

If so, provide links to the images you want incorporated in the project, and let the writer know if you want cut lines with each image, or simply want them referenced in the copy. Or, maybe you want the copywriter to provide the graphics. Make sure your writer is clear on how to handle images.

9. Anything else you want the writer to know?

Finally, make sure to mention any additional details your writer should know, about deadlines, the tone your company would like to convey—anything at all. Get your brief details down, and you’ll be rewarded with expert content that speaks to your target audiences, and makes you look good!