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:

Copy Brief

Client Project/Job number
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?