Perhaps you’re a solopreneur or a small business owner getting ready to launch a marketing campaign. Or maybe, you’re an ad agency or design firm with an overflow of work you can’t handle without extra assistance. You don’t have the creative talent in-house so you know you’ll have to call upon an independent writer and/or designer to assist you.
However, last time you did that you were not prepared. There were vital questions that the copywriter asked you and you didn’t know the answers. It’s no surprise that the end result was a lot of running around, a weak first draft of copy and endless rewrites. This cost your company lots of time and money.
This time the word has come down from your inner self (or your boss): “I want great results!”
You thought that was what you were going to get last time. You hired a talented writer and thought you had enough background information to supply her/him with. What will it take to get a great final product this time around – one that pleases you and, more importantly, your boss?
Working on any promotional literature, be it a Web site, brochure or an extensive direct mail package, is a team effort – a partnership created to develop the best tools for promoting your product/service. Each person in the partnership has certain responsibilities.
The purpose of this post is to help you be aware of your role – obtaining and organizing the valuable information a copywriter needs from you.
Being organized and prepared before you meet with the writer for an input meeting will save you time and money in the long run. And, it increases your chances of getting the results you’re looking for – record-breaking ones.
Whether you’re on the client side, a graphic designer, direct marketing or ad agency executive, these steps help you gather the appropriate information you need to pass along to your writer.
1. Define your goals — convey them clearly.
What is it that you want to achieve with the project you’re going to assign? Do you want to sell more product, gain name recognition, create an image or generate new leads?
Remember, if your objectives are too complex then you risk confusing your copywriter. Simply state your goals. It sets your copywriter off in the right direction — to create an effective, results-oriented promotion for you.
As an independent copywriter, I take the time to listen to you. Tell me what it is you need to say. I’ll tell you how to say it. I make sure that I clearly understand your goals, translating them into fresh ideas that sell your product/service.
2. Don’t be shy — tell her everything.
You know your product/service best. A copywriter knows how to write to sell that product. So, don’t be shy. Tell her everything about it. If your copywriter asks you a lot of questions, be grateful. The more you can tell her, the better your chances are of getting what you want — as soon as the first draft.
What is the single strongest benefit of your product/service? List all of the additional benefits. Why should someone buy your product over the competition’s? How does your product/service solve their problem(s) or make their lives easier?
Your copywriter’s goal is to create a piece that converts prospects into loyal, paying customers. If you have printed materials (marketing plan, brochures, testimonials, etc.), he/she will ask to see them.
3. Know your audience — introduce her to them.
It is important for you to know who you’re speaking to. Direct your campaign to a target market and tell your copywriter who they are.
Imagine you’re introducing her to one person in your audience. Then, tell her what you know about them. While demographics are important, don’t forget psychographics. What do you know about your audience’s lifestyle. What kind of cars do they drive? Do they dine out or eat at home? Do they pay with cash or credit cards? Is your product/service familiar to them?
Do your best to answer these questions and tell your copywriter what you discover. Keep in mind that the tone of a brochure or web page will differ if you want to reach single professional women, 25-35 years old vs. married women in their 50s.
Don’t hesitate to introduce your audience to your writer. The more you can tell her, the easier it is for her to “get acquainted” with them before she starts to write. The end result is a piece that attracts their attention, captivates and compels them to take action (i.e., buy your product or service).
4. Hire a copywriter who is not only talented — she’s reliable & trustworthy.
The project you’re about to assign — be it a brochure, website, direct mail package — sends a message out to the world about your product/service/program. You want to make a good first impression.
Your copywriter should also make a good first impression — with you. Of course, you want her to be talented. But that’s not enough to get your project done. Have you established a positive personal rapport? You should both feel comfortable sharing opinions and making compromises to achieve your goals.
Working with my clients is a team effort — a partnership created to develop the best marketing tools for your product. Talented copywriters take pride in the fact that these relationships include mutual trust and respect. Remember these 4 steps next time you’re looking for great results from your copywriter.
What has your experience been when working with a freelance copywriter? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million and here’s to your sweet success.