Questions you need to ask to do an awesome copywriting job!

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There is nothing worse than spending ages on some great copy only to find out that the client wanted something completely different. It adds hours to your work and means you have less time to meet the deadline. It can also result in working at a very low rate, if you are charging a one off project fee, when you equate your wasted time and effort.

 

There are times when you might get a tough job that is more complicated than first anticipated but that should be an exception and not the rule.

As the old saying goes “Proper preparation prevents poor performance” so here are some top questions to help you glean the information that you need to get the job done easily, professionally and on time.

  • What do you need doing? Does the client want a full re-write of website copy, some blogs written or marketing content for a brochure. In order to draft the most effective copy you need to be 100% clear on the project and what it entails. You don’t need any hidden surprises!

  • What is your work? What does your client do? It is a sector you know much about or a totally new area that you need to brush up on? Will there be extensive research? Think realistically about how much research you need to do above and beyond the normal but understand it is not up to client to pay for your lack of knowledge

  • Do you need a re-write or completely new copy? Has the client already written copy that needs editing and re-working or are you working from a blank canvas? This affects your time.

  • What is your deadline? Very important! If client needs work done on a tight deadline then you have to factor in the reduced timeframe for the work to be completed. Often this will incur a premium.

  • What are your key words and phrases? Whether for marketing materials or SEO boosting for their website, understand what words are important to them and include them strategically in your copy.

  • What is your slogan? Do the clients have a slogan that encapsulates what they do in a succinct and clear manner? That needs to be positioned in the copy and the copy needs support this slogan.

  • What are your key messages? What is the key information the client wants to get across to the target audience? That needs to be your main focus.

  • What are your services? Ask the client to explain exactly what they do request as much detail as possible.

  • What are your USP's? Why and how is the client different from its competition – what sets them apart?

  • What is your call to action? What is the call to action of the content? What does the client want their customers to do – call / email / buy / request information? This helps to frame how you word your content to the target audience.

  • What are your contact details? These are important for obvious reasons as these need to be included!

  • How much copy do you need written? Be clear from the outset when you cost your work that you include exactly what work the cost covers. Clearly state that any additional pages/ work / content will result in additional costs, which will be clearly outlined before any extra work is undertaken. If you don’t you may land up doing added writing work for free!

  • Do you have a blog? Do you need help with that? On sell any work if you can, for an additional price. Up-sell or in the words of MacDonald’s “would you like fries with that?” Make yourself invaluable. Do they have a blog they need updating and looking after, have you noticed that their website needs updating or marketing collateral modernising to reflect a new website? But don’t be too pushy as over selling is a turn off.

  • Do you have a story you want to share? Stories help with sales – it adds the personal element that will often persuade customers to buy.

  • Which competitor material / websites do you like and why? This helps you understand the style, looks and wording they like. It gives you a better scope on what they want their content to be like.

  • What style do you want for the writing of it? Do you want corporate or a friendly, relaxed tone. This all links to the target market and the style of writing that engages them.

  • What is your budget? Money is always hard to talk about but at least if you have an idea of a ballpark figure you know if it is a job you will be happy to do and also what is realistic to ask for.

  • Have you worked with a copywriter before? You may need to outline how it works so there are no issues or communication issues further down the line.

  • Who comes up with the topics for any blog posts / stories etc? These can be time consuming especially if there is a heap of research that needs to be done

  • Can I see your existing marketing materials/ website? Get an understanding of what they have done in the past. Whether they want the same kind of materials and copy or a completely different style and tone?

  • Who is your target audience? Can they tell you anything about them? Have they got research findings etc? This will make your job easier.

There may be other questions that naturally spring to mind as you discuss the project with the client but the above should give you the right information you need to make the job easier, get it done more efficiently and, more important, have a happy client!

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