A copywriter’s brief

What to consider when putting together a project brief for a copywriting agency. Because it's all in the details when it comes to content marketing.

A copywriter's brief

It’s all in the detail

Even when you’re working on your own project and it’s not for someone else, often it’s a good idea to plan it a little, maybe get down some of the details you’ll need to cover before you start putting finger to keyboard. A little knowledge and planning can go a long way whether you’re writing a script or a blog post for the company blog.

And here at Radix Communications, we’re no different. We like to know the details before we start a project. Saves us wasting our clients’ time and money along with our own. So, without further a-do, here is Radix’s basic project brief and why we like to have certain details filled-in…

Deliverables:

  • What do you want us to produce?
  • Are there any guidelines for the length of text, if so what are they?
  • Do you have previous examples?
  • When is the deadline for completion?

(Getting to the point of what the project is for, before anything else, helps us to estimate matters such as project time, cost and allows us to organise it around existing projects.)

Audience:

  • What industry do they work in?
  • What line of business roles are you targeting?
  • Are they C-level executives? Senior managers? Middle Managers? Technical staff?
  • What business/technical issues keep them awake at night?

(This is the kind of information that can stop a good piece of copy turning off its intended audience. A CEO does not want to be reading an ebook that goes in-depth into the technical aspects of a new software platform, but a CIO probably does.)

Industry:

  • What are the current major challenges facing the industry?
  • What industry changes are expected in the next six months to a year?

Product:

  • What does it do?
  • What business (not technical) problems does it solve?
  • What business benefits (not technical features) does it provide?
  • What technical features allow it to provide these benefits?
  • What does it offer that no other product offers?
  • What else makes it different from competitive products?
  • Do you have evidence to support your claims?

(In general, it’s a great deal easier for anyone to write about a product the more they know about it. The information requests above allow for convincing copy to be produced that reasonably considers all the angles the target audience would be interested in at the stage the content is for.)

Key messages:

  • What are the top five (no more) messages that must come across in the copy?

(Why five? No one wants to feel bombarded.)

Tone of Voice:

  • Personal/informal?
  • Business-like/conservative?
  • Do you have examples of corporate ToV?

(Obviously no organisation’s marketing department is going to appreciate us stepping outside corporate ToV if it’s particularly important to the brand.)

Call to Action:

  • What do you want the readers to do?

(There needs to be a point to the project. It’s bad form to send out content that actually manages to get your audience’s interest going and then fails to give them any outlet for their enthusiasm.)

Please feel free to attach any documents or links in your response email, which you believe will aid us in working on this project, for example: meeting agendas, case studies or corporate videos.

(Past examples can be helpful.)

Remember

It’s all in the detail.


More posts you might like…

Content and cognitive load: how to craft your copy for the human brain

The human brain only has so much space to concentrate on different ideas – and if you ask it to do too much, it'll probably stop paying attention altogether. So, how do you stop readers tuning out from your content? John explores cognitive load theory, and how you can use it to create brain-friendly copy...

Podcast 72: stop telling B2B marketers to be “brave”

B2B content marketers have a lot to deal with. Is it unfair to tell them to be braver too? We ask B2B marketing all-star Maureen Blandford.

Make your writing more effective

Get copywriting tips and advice — direct to your inbox every month: