There’s far more to achieving great copy than just hiring a great writer.
If you’re lucky enough to find a writer that just gets you from day one, that’s a great start. Most of the time however, great copy needs a little bit more. To get real results, you’ll need to spend time briefing your writer on what it is you hope to achieve.
But what exactly goes in to a quality brief? There will always be variables that dictate how extensive a brief must be, but as a rule of thumb, it will always revolve around these three pillars.
The three pillars of a perfect brief
Good housekeeping is just as important as good writing. Nobody wants to deliver heartbreakers like: “the copy is great, but it’s all in the wrong wireframe” or “it’s wonderfully written, but way too short” – and we don’t exactly love hearing them either.
When we say the non-negotiables, we’re referring to often overlooked, but crucial information like word counts, calls-to-action, language preferences, content formats and wireframes.
Is it in UK or US English? What do you want the audience to do after reading? Is it gated or open content? All that stuff that’s easy to forget, but oh-so-important.
Who are we, and who cares?
Good B2B marketing copy serves a function. Great copy puts on a performance, one that has:
- A clear idea of who you are, how you speak, and how you want your audience to perceive you – one that accurately reflects your tone and voice?
- A well-defined audience persona: what is their job role, what are their immediate and long-term challenges, and what are their primary values? What’s going to get them emotionally invested in the topic?
It might seem like we’re asking a lot but creating a semi-fictional persona can go a long way to attaining an appropriate tone that’ll resonate with your audience. We don’t need to know what they had for breakfast, or whether they prefer Revolver or Rubber Soul [editor’s note: Rubber Soul, obviously], but we do want to know what business challenges they face and how they prefer to work. Keep it simple, and on-point where possible.
Why this project – and why now?
So, you want to write an eBook about emerging threats to enterprise security. But why? And why now? This kind of context is always helpful, so make sure you consider the following:
- What circumstances led to the project coming to life?
- What do you hope to get out of the project as a business?
- What do you want the audience to take away from it?
And again, what do you want the audience to do?
The more the writer understands about what they’re writing, the more confident they’ll be in the copy they produce, and better yet – the more they’ll feel confident enough to add additional value.
While your answers might not make it into the first draft, a project’s purpose, and the context around it are critical. So please don’t shy away from a little background exposition. We love it.
To discuss our briefing process in greater detail, please get in touch.
Or in the meantime, have a read of David’s piece on ‘Three people your B2B copywriter definitely needs to meet’ for more advice on getting the best copy from your writer.