So, you’ve decided to have your business’ texts written by a professional and you have found a copywriter via your network, Google or an agency. The next question immediately arises: how do you make a good briefing for a copywriter? There are roughly 2 ways to do this: you put down on paper what needs to be done, or the copywriter asks you what you want and need. Read on to find out which way suits you best.
The purpose of your text
Like any project, briefing a copywriter begins with the goal you are pursuing. After all, the text is a means to achieve something. It could be anything. Usually, it is about informing, inspiring and getting your target group moving. The latter is particularly important: what do you want the reader, listener or viewer to do after he or she has read, heard or seen the text?
What is the call to action?
We call the response of the target group the ‘Call to Action’. On social media, you may want your post to be shared or commented on. For example, on your site you want people to request more information or make an appointment. Signing up for a newsletter or downloading a whitepaper. If you have a webshop, you want the basket as full as possible. It is, therefore, useful to determine the call to action in advance so that your copywriter can write directly to it.
Tell your story
A clear briefing is important, but do not confuse it with a brief briefing. Better tell your copywriter a little more. They will filter out what is relevant there. There can be interesting elements in your story to use in the text. Things you may think: is that so interesting?
Certain small details can be fun to share with your target audience. So, feel free to tell how it all started and what dreams you had for your company. What setbacks and failures you had and how you overcame them. Setbacks and failures? Yes, because they give your story credibility. Nobody believes a story consisting solely of successes.
Feel free to share reports, studies and white papers with your copywriter. They can quickly scan through this and include potentially interesting topics in the text.
Make people out of your target audience
Bring your audience to life
A crucial part of a briefing is the description of the target group. Target groups are often actually described in number, size and average order size, for example. That’s fine, but don’t forget, they’re just human and therefore they have emotions. Try to make people your target audience. What are their fears? What makes them happy? Who do they like to associate with? Your copywriter writes much better if he or she can see someone in front of him.
You can use personas for this. A persona is an archetype or characterization of a type of customer or prospect. With a persona canvas or format, you can use a number of categories to create a clear picture of the personas that are important to you. Most brands work with 3 to 5 different personas. Your copywriter can help you develop these personas.
Determine your tone of voice together
A certain tone of voice is created almost automatically within each company; a way in which you appeal to customers. This tone arises from the way in which management and colleagues interact. A basic characteristic is, for example, whether your customers speak to “you” or “you”. In this way, the tone of voice actually becomes part of your brand personality and the brand experience of your customers.
Maybe you have already recorded your tone of voice in a document. You can determine whether you use “we” in your texts or always use your brand name. Whether you are casual or formal, serious or funny, friendly or businesslike. And whether you want to come across as accessible or exclusive.
To check whether the language level or legibility level fits your target group well, you can use levels A1 to C2. The average reading level in the Netherlands is at language level B1. 40% of the population understands you when you write in this language. Often this is not taken into account, because 75% of the texts are around level C1 and therefore too high for many. It is therefore quite important to include this in your tone of voice.
Are your texts used online? Then your copywriter takes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) into account. This means that the keywords used by your target group will return to the right place in the text. So the first step is to determine which keywords they are. There are various tools with which you can conduct keyword research. Your copywriter can help you with that.
The length of the text also plays a role in SEO. In a blog post, a longer blog of 1000 to 1500 words scores well with Google. The search engine looks for relevance and assumes that in a longer text, there is more useful information.
Make sure you have something new to report regularly
Refresh your texts regularly
A company, organization or brand that is standing still is not attractive. People love movement and dynamism. So make sure you have something new to report regularly. And occasionally something outright surprising. If you regularly refresh your texts, you also score better in the search engines.
For example, set up a content calendar, where you agree to publish a blog post, video or review every week. With such a calendar you can plan for a quarter or six months in advance which subjects you want to cover. That gives peace within the organization. And you can agree with your copywriter how he or she will receive the information and in which formats they work.
Another way is to work with different landing pages on your website. For example, a page specifically focused on upselling with returning customers.
A page aimed at introducing new products or services. Or a page with FAQs, so that employees are less busy. So immediately include the above matters in your briefing.
Make arrangements about the process
In addition to all substantive matters, it is of course also smart to make clear agreements about the process. When should the text be ready? How many people will judge the text and how will they communicate their feedback to the copywriter? How many correction rounds are there? Does the text still need to be corrected to Dutch? In short, discuss what the mutual expectations are and state the process in the briefing. Then the chance of a text is greatest to everyone’s satisfaction.
Briefing form and checklist
A useful tool in preparing a briefing for your copywriter is a briefing form or checklist. It lists all the above topics, so you can be sure you don’t miss anything. Ask your copywriter or agency for such a form or checklist. That makes you and your copywriter happy.
Tell a copywriter what you want
Are you short on time or do you find it difficult to put on paper what exactly you want from your copywriter? No problem. An experienced copywriter is also a kind of journalist and always very curious about what drives you. He or she will gladly ask you to take the shirt off so that everything necessary to write the text is discussed.
Because a good briefing not only produces good copy, it saves the copywriter time and therefore money. With the tips from this article, you ensure that the copywriter writes what you want, within the time and budget.
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