How to prepare for a briefing with your copywriter

If you’re planning on engaging a copywriter then you’re almost certain to have a briefing session at some point. A good briefing is an essential first step to any successful copywriting project. Without it, you’re likely to find yourself being disappointed with your first draft and going through far too many amends stages before you get what you’re looking for.

A briefing session should help you communicate essential core information to your writer or agency so that they fully understand what is required before beginning the work. We often find that the questions we ask during this session help our clients clarify their ideas about the project by making them think about things that just hadn’t occurred to them before.

So what can you expect to be asked about? Here are some of the things we’d be looking to find out in a briefing session.

What are your goals?

Copywriting isn’t simply about phrasing things nicely. It’s about using words to drive results. And in order to see results you need to have first set some goals. So whether you want to reduce your blog’s bounce rate or get people signing up to your newsletter via your website, it’s important that your copywriter understands what it is that the copy they’re creatin is trying to achieve.

Who are you writing to?

We’ve written many times about the importance of understanding your target audience. Unless you understand what drives them, what they want and what they fear, what interests them and what influences their buying decisions, you can’t create effective content. If you don’t already have one or more customer or client personas, it’s worth spending time thinking about some of the elements that go into these profiles before your briefing session.

What is the core message?

If your reader had to take one thing away from the piece of content you’re asking us to create, what would it be? That you’re an expert in your field? That you care about the environment and are working to make a difference? That they will save huge amount of money by switching to you? Messaging is not always overt but it needs to underpin your content and so it’s important that your copywriter knows what it is.

What are the features and benefits of your offering?

If you’re commissioning words for a website or brochure or any piece of content that sets out what you do or sell, your copywriter will need to set out both the features and the benefits of this. Features are facts – the locally grown ingredients that go into your pies, the types of legal cases you handle. The benefits are what people will get by buying your product or using your service – satisfaction that they’re looking after their bodies and the environment, peace of mind that they’re not going to have to end up in court. Most of our clients are well versed in the features of their products or services but the benefits are as important if not more so. After all, as the saying goes, no one wants a six inch drill bit, they want a six inch hole.

What is your brand tone of voice?

If you’ve already invested in getting brand voice guidelines drawn up then you’re well ahead of the game. These are vital documents that provide copywriters with a huge chunk of what they need to know to ensure a piece of copy truly represents a brand. But if you don’t, prepare to be able to give at least some guidance during the briefing. Are you quite a formal, corporate sounding sort of a brand? Or do you use colloquial phrases like “check it out” and “give us a shout”? Having consistency in this area is vital if you want your copy to breed trust and loyalty and achieve results.

By taking the time to prepare for your briefing you’ll not only find that the meeting is a lot quicker and easier than it would otherwise be, by the results your copywriter delivers will be better too.

If you’d like to discuss a copy project with us, drop us a line on or call us on 01179 902 690 – we’re always here to help.

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