The damn point in 10 words max: Before hiring a copywriter, know your brand, market, and goals.
Let’s be honest, content is hard. Whether you’re revamping your website, need a landing page, or are building an email campaign, knowing the right thing to say and how to say it in a way that resonates with your audience and search engines is challenging. A copywriter can be the solution to your problems.
A common misconception, however, is that you’ll find an experienced, clever, professional, copywriting connoisseur and then walk away as they work their magic. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. A copywriter is only as good as the information you’ve provided them.
That’s why it’s important to come armed with everything they need to know from the beginning. Here’s the list:
Your target market.
Who is your customer?
Don’t have built-out personas? It’s okay! Create one.
Are they a Type A 30-something that wakes up early to go to the gym and values time with friends above all else? Or a new mom balancing a full-time job, parenting, and life?
Start by identifying their biggest problem–what ultimately leads them to you–and how your brand is their solution.
Let’s take the examples into consideration. A customer who is always on the go and values time is likely going to respond better to short, straightforward copy whereas the new mom balancing more things than she can count may appreciate a more empathetic tone that gently leads to your solution.
A great way to easily convey your brand is by giving it a personality. If I were describing Em Dash Blogging as a person, for example, it would be as follows:
Em Dash Blogging (let’s call her Em) is a type A personality. She’s a perfectionist and a people pleaser. Her worst fear is not living up to your expectations. She goes running every day and thrives on routine. Em is an over-sharer, she talks… a lot, and prioritizes relationships above most things. She values transparency and honesty. She takes her work home with her. Em sincerely wants you to be successful.
From this description, a writer knows that the copy should be engaging, conversational, friendly, and approachable. Technical terms don’t work here and certainly nothing salesy. Instead, they would focus on the personal side of the business and building trusting relationships.
If they are a good copywriter they’ll ask themselves many times, does this sound like Em? Would Em say this?
The goal for the user.
What do you want your potential customers to know about your brand the moment they land on your website? And what do you want them to do? These are two of our leading questions for every new web copy client.
Is the goal to set up a call? Maybe it’s to collect their email or have them purchase a product.
With this information, a copywriter will be able to structure the content in a way that guides the user to take the action you want. It helps orient your customers while saving them time since they know exactly what to do next.
Share your website crush. What’s a Goldilocks site that has just the right amount of text, hits all the right style notes, and captures the optimal mood and tone? It doesn’t have to be in your industry, just your website #goals. -Sveta, Creative Director at Em Dash Blogging
Examples can give a copywriter a ton of insight as to what you’re looking for. Would you prefer short phrases as opposed to longer, descriptive sentences? Do you want to offer a lot of information on each page or keep it minimal?
If there isn’t a website that immediately comes to mind, try looking at Pinterest. Take screenshots of anything that piques your interest and share it with your writer highlighting what you like about it and why.
For any copywriter, the goal is that you love the first draft. After all, they likely poured their heart into your project. There are still pieces of my soul left in a pharmaceutical analytics project I completed years ago. Like a horcrux*–a little piece of me will always live in an article about the misconception of drug prices. But I digress…
In reality, there will probably be a few iterations. Remember, you know your brand better than most and it may take a few tweaks to get it right. Here are some ways to make that process go faster.
Take time to thoroughly review all of it with your team.
Have each decision-maker on the team give feedback and then decide if you’re all on the same page. This helps save a lot of time on the back end. Even better – choose one team member as the point person who will make all the comments and suggestions.
Be as specific as possible.
A simple, “I don’t like it” or “not correct” doesn’t give the writer context. What made you not like it? What might make it better?
Positivity goes a long way.
We’re writers so we can take criticism. It’s a requirement of the job. But it doesn’t mean you have to be nasty. When giving feedback, kindness goes a long way.
Instead of–”This isn’t what we discussed.”
Try– “I really like this but can we include XYZ?”
Your writer will understand that they might have missed something without feeling demoralized. To be frank, the outcome will likely be the same, so why not make the experience better for everyone?
Set up a call, if needed.
Sometimes email, Slack, and comments through Google docs just can’t get the job done. If your copy isn’t hitting the mark, set up a quick call. There might be a misunderstanding somewhere that can easily get resolved.
This is the part where I’m supposed to shamelessly plug Em Dash Blogging and our incredible copywriting skills. I’m supposed to tell you how our onboarding is set up to make the process easier on you and how we leave horcruxes* in every project we touch.
But I hate being too obvious and salesy. So I won’t.
*Horcrux**- an object containing part of a wizard’s soul hidden by himself to gain immortality.
** If you didn’t know this term it’s time to reevaluate your life choices.