What do copywriters need to know? Well that largely depends on the job. Some are considerably more complicated than others so there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all brief. That said, these are the sort of questions a copywriter might need answered:
|Contact name||Contact number/email|
|Briefing date||Copy delivery date|
1. What needs doing?
|Bullet point a list of all the individual bits and pieces that make up the overall brief. Then use a separate brief for each one.ie. “The overall brief is for 5 articles, 6 Facebook posts and 3 case studies. This particular brief relates to the 6 Facebook posts only”.|
|What, if anything, might the reader have seen before about this subject (in any media)? What might they see next?|
2. Where are we at?
|What stage is the project at? Do wireframes* exist (web projects)? Designs*? Concepts*? Scripts*? Or are we starting from scratch?
* Attach as appropriate
3. What have we got to say?
|What is this particular communication all about?|
|What’s the single most important thing to get across?|
|What else, in order of priority, needs to be communicated?|
4. Who are we talking to?
|What do we know about the people who will read this copy?|
|Are they existing customers, prospective customers, both or neither?|
|Will they already know anything about this subject or is this new news?|
|Why would the reader be interested? What’s in it for them?|
|What do we want them to do or feel as a result of reading this copy?|
5. How do we speak to them?
|What is the brand tone of voice? (Attach guidelines if appropriate)|
|How does their ‘voice’ differ from their competitors?|
|Are there any words or expressions that need to be avoided (for example, ones that are associated with competitors)?|
6. Practical considerations
|Is there any further material the copywriter needs to read or watch before starting*? If so, have you clearly identified specific page numbers or timecodes to avoid timewasting?* Attach as appropriate|
|What’s needed from an SEO perspective? (Keywords MUST be supplied before copy is briefed)|
|Are there any character/word count limitations? (This is particularly important for media such as Facebook, mobile, Twitter etc.)|
|Are there any legal compliance issues or terms and conditions?|
|Will the copy be translated?|