Whenever I’m creating content for my clients or undertaking a copywriting commission I usually have two types of client.
The first will have an exact idea of what they want, they will have keyword research, background information, details about what they think it should contain, links for articles they’ve read on the subject and, in some cases, they may have even had a go writing it themselves.
The other type of client is much more relaxed about the whole thing. I’m lucky to even get a subject matter, some just tell me they want me to “do something” for their website and leave the rest to me – the client’s budget will depend on just how much research goes into the piece, the length and whether there is any meaningful keyword research etc…
Neither of these clients are in the wrong. Having specific parameters in which to write allows my writers and I the opportunity to create exactly what the client wants. Having no parameters at all allows us to be creative and imaginative about what we will do for our client.
However, more often than not, most clients are in a hurry. To the point that I’m fairly sure Excalibur Press and The Content Club have become the “oh shit” call for many – and we’re cool with that. With our background in journalism we thrive on deadlines.
So in order to communicate effectively to your content writer what you want here are a few top tips that will help your copywriter create exactly what you need in the most efficient time possible.
A good copywriter will be able to write a basic 500 word blog post from information you give them in an hour (an hour and a half MAX), a great copywriter will get it done in less than half an hour. But don’t be fooled, you’re not paying by the hour, you’re paying for expertise, experience, knowledge and know how – the fact is, no matter the price you agree, you want your content created in the quickest time possible.
Now, just to be clear, that’s a basic blog post from information you supply. Website copy, corporate copywriting and long form blog posts should and do take much longer to create because there is more than just basic writing involved. From research and sales speak to matching client goals and conversion requirements etc…a good copywriter should not be churning this stuff out in no time. A great copywriter on the other hand will never cease to surprise you.
So what do you need to tell your copywriter?
Here are my 9 top tips for writing a brief for a content creator or copywriter:
Be very clear on what you want and what it is for. For example, if it’s a blog post say so, if it’s for an email marketing circular and also a blog post explain that. If you want to break it up afterwards for social, make that clear at the beginning as that will change how the piece is written.
Exactly what customer or client base is the piece aimed at? It can’t be all things to all people so help your copywriter out by giving them an idea of who they are writing for.
Your copywriter will use different styles of language depending on your preferred end user so it’s important to communicate this information to them.
As I said above, where is this to go? What platforms will you host the content on, will there be imagery, infographics, video or other illustrative elements to it? Think carefully about how you plan to disseminate and market your content as this may or may not change how your copywriter creates it.
Always be realistic about your budgets for blog posts and other content. Whilst there are industry ideals in terms of pricing structure most companies are acutely aware of the budgetary constraints on companies. But, don’t rule a service provider out because you think your budget is too low or your afraid their price will be too high. There are many options out there. For example, your content company might have a back catalogue of content they can offer you second rights on. Excalibur Press, for example, have a massive wedding, food, entertainment, beauty, fashion and real life stories archive that we’re more than happy to offer second rights on.
Be clear. Tell your copywriter exactly when you need your piece of content for and WHY this date is pertinent. For the most part this is a deadline based industry, fluid deadlines are of no use to anyone. Give a deadline and let them know how solid it is. Ie, if there’s no flexibility, make sure you’ve made that very clear.
6. Tone of voice
One of the most important things to communicate to your copywriter is the style and tone of voice you want used in your pieces. Is it traditional corporate speak, hipster millennial or maybe even fun and energetic. Whatever that maybes great way to get them on the right track is to share articles, blogs, website urls or other such written material from companies you like, and/or aspire to be like or your competitors.
7. Call to action
An important element of most content in today’s commercial world is the “call to action”. You will want your reader to “do something” after they have read your content regardless of where it might appear.
Decide whether you want a blatant sales message such as “buy now”, “book now” etc… or something more subtle like “download our free ebook” or “find out more about” etc….
Give your copywriter an insight into your sales and marketing funnels so that they know what your end goal is with the content.
8. More information
Depending on the type of content you are creating you might want to be mindful about linking it to other content you have. For example, you might have a blog post that explains something better or a brochure where they can see more information etc…make sure you indicate to your content creator if you want internal links included in your piece. If you’re putting it online these can help with SEO.
9. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) / keywords
If you are working closely with an SEO expert or content marketing company it’s important that you make sure your copywriter knows this. There might be specific SEO guidelines that they want your copy to adhere to. They may also have a list of pre-researched keywords that they want included within content where possible. In most cases a simple email connecting them both should suffice if your copywriter knows what they’re doing and similarly your SEO expert is used to working with content creators.
Do you need help creating content for your business or reaching out to the press and media?
At Excalibur Press we have a team of over 12 publicists, content creators, copywriters, journalists and bloggers in a variety of specialisms writing blogs, website content, video, photography and more for clients on a daily basis.
If you would like to speak to a content creator or publicist or would like more information about our rates and process just call 07305354209 or email [email protected].
Find out more about Excalibur Press at excaliburpress.co.