Content analysis: The Copywriter’s Curse: How to overcome the problem of clients not writing briefs

Every day at Copywriter Collective, new potential client’s contact us for help with their marketing. But finding out what they actually want us to do can be the hardest part. They ask us the price of a brochure without telling us how many pages it is. They ask for a quote for translating a website without sending us a word doc or even telling us how many words it is. And they ask for help with their branding message without giving us any sort of written brief. How to get them to be more specific and tell us exactly what they want? We send them a briefing template but it’s too involved and they don’t fill it in. Miriam explains a new way to do it.

Many of the clients who come to us looking for a copywriter are not actually ready to use one yet. Copywriting can only take place when you’ve agreed your marketing story and established the structure of the materials you want to produce. This is a fundamental and majorly important job which, in our experience, many companies need as much help with as they do with the copywriting itself.

Fortunately, Copywriter Collective has a number of freelancers who are able to bridge this gap. Our Content Strategists can work closely with you to identify your marketing story and devise an appropriate structure for your promotional materials. So, for example, when you need to write a new website but you don’t actually know what pages it should have, or exactly how to organise your complex sales story, we can hire you a Content Strategist who will work it all out. Once their job is done, we can quote for the copywriting work itself.

How our Content Strategy service works

The Content Strategy process will typically kick off with a telephone (or Skype) conversation (directly between you and the Content Strategist) to discuss your goals and develop understanding of the task in hand. If necessary and convenient, this may even be conducted via a face-to-face meeting. You should provide them with any relevant information in advance.content analysis

From this, the Content Strategist will develop an action plan to get to the point where the content structure and the copywriting brief is defined. Along the way, they will review and analyse the messages you want to communicate and advise on possible improvements. This may involve some no-holds-barred questioning of your marketing strategy and processes! The great benefit is you come out of this with a watertight story, revised by an outsider communications expert, together with the most effective pathway for communicating it.

Pricing

Because of the investigative and reactive nature of this process, it is not possible to provide an all-in quote at the outset. We therefore work in stages, starting with a quote for the kick-off telephone call or meeting. We then consult the Content Strategist at each stage for their estimation of the next phase of work. This provides a realistic and fair price for each individual case.

Depending on who we have available, it is likely that your Content Strategist and Copywriter will be the same person. Whenever possible, we try to make this the case.

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