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Here’s Why Having a Clear Copywriting Brief is Important

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Pro Tips

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Imagine starting a cross-country road trip without a map or GPS. Sounds chaotic, right? You could go off track and waste days of your time finding out that you’re not on the right path (sure, spontaneity does bring us to magical places sometimes, but it could also work the other way). Well, the world of copywriting is no different, and this is why many copywriters advocate working with a brief – think of it as a compass that will guide you to your destination with minimal obstacles.

So, what’s a brief, and why is it important?

It’s a guide for copywriters, a document containing various questions to help all parties stay aligned with project goals and directions. Some examples of questions typically covered in the brief are information on project goals, target audience, preferred tone and competitors.

A good brief enables a copywriter to get things right from the get-go – there will be a clear understanding on the clients’ requirements and preferences, less questions during the actual writing process, and potentially fewer revision rounds. For clients who don’t have a clear idea of what they really want, going through the brief process can also help them figure things out. And all these mean that they can get their final copy earlier.

When I first stepped into the agency world as a little fledging, the concept of briefs raised eyebrows for me. Would clients entertain the idea? Over time, I discovered that good copy really comes from a good brief. Also, most long-term clients were more than willing to answer a questionnaire or hop on a quick call for me or my project managers to gather the necessary information. In some cases, and we got more familiar with clients and their regular projects, we could even skip the formal brief process! My doubts were dispelled – having a clear brief, while an initial time investment, undeniably streamlined the entire process.

Top 10 questions copywriters typically ask

The questions, and amount of them will vary based on factors such as scope of work, circumstances, and information that has been provided upfront. Read on to get an idea of the type of questions you can expect.

  • 1. Objective and Goals:

    • What is the primary goal of this copywriting project?
    • What specific action or response do you want the audience to take?
  • 2. Target Audience:

    • Who is the target audience for this copy?
    • What are the demographics and psychographics of the target audience?
  • 3. Brand Identity:

    • What is the brand personality and tone of voice?
    • Are there specific brand guidelines or key messaging points to adhere to?
  • 4. Key Messages:

    • What are the core messages or unique selling points that should be emphasised?
    • Are there specific features or benefits that should be highlighted?
  • 5. Competitive Landscape:

    • Who are the main competitors, and how does the brand differentiate itself?
    • Are there any specific industry trends or challenges to be aware of?
  • 6. Medium and Format:

    • Where will the copy be used (website, social media, print, etc.)?
    • Are there any specific formatting or length requirements?
  • 7. Call to Action (CTA):

    • What action do you want the audience to take after reading the copy?
    • Is there a specific CTA that needs to be included?
  • 8. Tone and Style:

    • What tone or style should the copy adopt (formal, informal, humorous, etc.)?
    • Are there any specific language preferences or cultural considerations?
  • 9. Timeline and Deadlines:

    • What is the project timeline, including deadlines for drafts and revisions?
    • Are there any external factors that could impact the timeline?
  • 10. Budget and Resources:

    • What is the budget for the copywriting project?
    • Are there any existing resources, such as brand assets or market research, that can be provided?

In my experience, the effort is truly worth it, especially for larger-scale projects – you may spend some time writing them, but it makes the process so much smoother for all parties! Of course, if you’re not a fan of filling in briefs, there are alternative approaches, like short meetings, to navigate around it. Here at TheFeather, we’re always excited to make it work, so don’t hesitate to hit us up to tell us more about what you’d like us to do for you!