For my next trick…no copywriters are not professional magicians!

Peta
Seriously, there are times when I think people believe copywriters are either mind readers or magicians! Not because they are in awe of what they do, but because they don’t understand how to work with them. Therefore, there are occasions when a client will engage in a way that results in the copywriter being expected to produce copy (instead of bunnies) from a hat!

A potential new client called the other day about a copywriting project. When I asked about the assignment, I was told copy was needed for some pictures and that they would email them to me. Then, with a ping of the inbox, I clicked on the email and saw no words, apart from a salutation, and the promised attachment. On reviewing the document, it consisted of 12 pages with pictures – no instructions, details, comments, information, key words, nothing! All I knew about the company was its name, which suggested it was an interior design business. With a non-existent website to provide any further insight, I assumed it was another occasion where I was expected to dust off my wand and wave it ceremoniously over my keyboard. Then magically I would conjure up the perfect wording for the client to engage the target market and inspire them with a call, of some sort, to action! Now, I am good but not that good – David Blaine has nothing to worry about!

Even after a follow-up email to see if I could elicit any further details to help with my next trick, I was met with silence. Clearly, requesting information about who? what? where? why? and how? was a step too far. I am still clueless as to what they were expecting from me, but maybe they are still trying to gather the info over three weeks later, or perhaps they thought that giving me any information was like breaking the magician’s code!

If you want to engage with a copywriter so they can perform magic for you with their words, then you need to provide as much information as you can. Here is a list of useful information the copywriter needs to do a great job:

  • What copy is required? Define the project – is it part of a larger scope and if so, what?
  • Where is the copy going to be used?
  • Is research required to craft the copy?
  • Is the content being written from scratch or will it be from existing copy?
  • What are your company’s USP’s?
  • What problems does your business solve for your target market?
  • How many words are needed?
  • What is the style and tone of the wording?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What are the objectives / call to action of the content?
  • What is the background information of the copy – reasons why it is being put together?
  • Do you have any company information, key facts etc that will give the copywriter more information – the more the better, they can decide what is essential or not
  • What are the key phrases and essential words for the copy?
  • Are there any examples of similar projects (competitors for example) that you like and why?
  • What is the key timeline and deadline for the copy?
  • What is your budget?

Provide as much information as possible, if there is anything else you think of, then give it. This helps us – it means that we are not forced to perform spectacular illusions that are doomed to fail.

At least with a copywriter there is no chance of the bunny being hurt but copy that is off the mark will affect your business objectives, leaving you thinking that copywriting is in fact a load of hocus pocus!

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