15 Essential Things You Must Tell Your Copywriter

How to Get More People To Respond To Your OfferWhile putting together the Action Guide for the Magnetic Copywriting home-study program. I headed to my bookshelf – yes, a bookshelf, not the Internet – and discovered a classic that I forgot I owned.

Back in the late 80s, I took a direct response copywriting course from a seasoned veteran, Milt Pierce. Milt encouraged me to pursue my career. And, in doing so, he introduced me to my first client (and mentor), Eugene Schwartz. So, as you can imagine, Milt (R.I.P.) holds a special place in my heart.

Milt was also a member of “The Magnificent Seven.” I liken this to what these days is commonly called a MasterMind – it was a group of awesome direct marketing copywriters that included Bob Bly, Don Hauptman, Richard Armstrong and more. They put together what might have been one of the first, self-published, collaborative efforts among colleagues.

The book is titled, How To Get More People To Respond To Your Offer: 21 Leading Direct Marketing Copywriters Reveal Their Secrets. When I opened the book to the first chapter, I thought “good ‘ol basics never die.”

Entitled “15 Essential Things You Must Tell Your Copywriter,” this reminded me of a blog post I wrote a while back, “Is your copywriter nosey?

When working with creative talent, the “Magnificent Seven’s” basics from the late 80s still hold true today, Therefore, to help you achieve winning results, I’m outlining them for you here.

Are you following these 15 essential tips with your copywriter?

1. What is your objective – what do you hope to get of this mailing (in today’s world, it could also be your web site, sales page, email campaign)?
2. What is your budget – for this specific project, for the next 6 months, 12 months?
3. Share everything you have . . . whether it’s print or online (including marketing plans).
4. Reveal everything you know about your customer – especially, “what is their biggest problem?”
5. Provide a sample of the product … if it’s a physical product, provide an actual sample. If that’s not possible, provide photos, drawings, etc.
6. Convey an honest evaluation of the product, positioning it within the market & listing its strengths and weaknesses,
7. Offer an analysis of what has and hasn’t worked in the past . . . copywriters can learn as much, or more, from the bombs as they do from the hits.
8. Share material you particularly like . . . it can be any approach you like, explain what you like about it & why it might work for your product.
9. Let him/her know who the person doing the ultimate judging of creative material will be – whoever it is should be someone involved in the first creative meeting (copywriters need to get a “feel” for the person in charge).
10. How will success be measured?
11. If your ad or package pulls over 10%, are you prepared to fill orders?
12. What are the legalities. Will the ad have to be checked by a lawyer, and what is involved in meeting proper standards?
13. What is your follow-up plan? How can you successfully create and sell to your database?
14. Be honest and give your own straightforward approach to your creative people. State what you want, what you have, what your product has going for it and against it. Don’t play games with your copywriter . . . don’t be paranoid about disclosing facts.
15. Share a certain basic goodwill. Some clients see themselves as the businessperson and the copywriter as the enemy. Don’t be defensive. . . . Start with the idea that the two of you are working together to create a new approach that gets your new customers.

As point #15 states, this is a collaboration. Your copywriter’s goal is to gather information that allows him/her to create the best content that gets you results. Share the good, the bad and the ugly.

Do you follow these guidelines when you’re working with a copywriter? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you (and we learn from one another). Here’s to your sweet success. Thanks!

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Debra, this is the part I don’t like about writing – getting your work out there! I’m lazy in that dept.
    Lily Leung recently posted…STITCHING TIMEMy Profile

  3. Hi – stopping by from the Facebook UBC group. Thank you for sharing this list. I can benefit from it because I’m a freelance writer and this list will help me form better collaborations with my clients who hire me to write for them!
    K. Lee Banks recently posted…Pursuing Our Purpose-Part 5: Defining Pursuit as Following and Catching Something ValuableMy Profile

    • Collaborating is the name of the game. I once had a prospect hang up on me because he felt I was asking too many questions. It’s important they your clients realize you’re asking questions because you want to do the best possible job for them. (By the way, the prospect reached out and contacted me again later on and I politely turned him down.) Thanks K. Lee.

  4. Good points, Debra. I’ll be honest, I’ve never used a copywriter but now I know what I’ll need to check and double check.

    I’d like to mention that the checklist has valid points even when choosing a website designer. I know from my own experience that many of the points got covered when I set up my own website but the company knew zilch about my industry or message. They were good and well-known and yet.

    The end result was that I had to write my own copy and then keep including different things long after the engagement was over to make it My Website! Wish I’d known you back then.

    Of course, I was told later that I was the first client who completed a website within 1 month! For sure, I paid full price. We learn, I guess. 🙂
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…A Choice of WordsMy Profile

    • Yes Vatsala, the checklist has valid points for working with any vendor you may outsource services to. You want to feel like you’re collaborating, not just signing off a project to them and hoping for the best.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Debra –

    Something that always plays a major role in serving the client effectively is the ability to present essential project requirements to the client FROM the client’s perspective. Your outlined “Magnificent Seven’s” 15 essential tips does this with precision.

    In an age of cascading technological advances, rush-to-crush deadlines and “I need it yesterday” expectations, this list is refreshing. It reminds us that beneficial business relationships start with building a sense of value from the client’s point of view, not our own.

  6. It’s always tough working with clients who aren’t as forthcoming as you’d like. Even worse when they haven’t been thoughtful about their objectives and long-term plans.

    I know it’s up to me (and any copywriter or service provider) to get the necessary info out of the clients, but sometimes I miss a step.

    This list is incredibly helpful.

    Anyone know where I can get a copy of that original book???
    Donnie Bryant recently posted…Worst of Signs, Pt. 3My Profile

    • Hi Donnie, it is unfortunate when a client feels the need to hold “stuff” from you when your goal is to do the best job for them.
      The original book was published in 1988. One of the authors actually wrote me saying he forgot all about the book.
      Don’t know if you can still get your hands on a copy, but the publisher was Roblin Press in Yonkers, NY. Thanks for stopping by.
      Here’s to your sweet success.

  7. As a copywriter/editor I have not worked with a copywriter but would definitely consider it because for some reason it’s much easier to write for others than it is to write for myself! Thank you for sharing these helpful tips !

  8. Great resource Debra, I must check that book out.

    I love how the book walks you through every step, what a resource.

    Thanks for sharing
    Catherine Storing recently posted…How to Shop for Clothes When You Hate ShoppingMy Profile

  9. Hi Debra,

    Thank you for the article and the fifteen essential tips. I look forward to reading more of your writings.Have a good week

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