Before I became a full-time copywriter and business blogger, I used to deliver a lot of customer service and communication workshops to hospitality workers. Funnily enough, I’ve discovered that working with my writing clients is sometimes like a communication and trust building exercise I used in the workshops.
Maybe you’ve done it before?
The Communication Exercise
People are grouped in pairs in front of a table — on the table is a jug of water and an empty glass. One person is blindfolded and spun around in circles, then the other person must direct their blindfolded partner to the water jug (using only verbal instructions) and have them fill the glass. Ideally without spilling any water.
Both partners get a real insight into the way they communicate, and quickly identify strengths and weaknesses about themselves. It’s really funny when people start using their hands to give directions to their blindfolded partner, or use generic descriptions like ‘over there’. The person in the blindfold starts getting frustrated because they can’t understand the directions.
The job of a copywriter is a lot like that communication exercise — if you can imagine the copywriter as the blindfolded person, and the client as the one giving directions.
Copywriting and clients
When a copywriter starts working with a new client they probably know very little (or nothing) about the client’s business. But to write great copy — copy that’s going to sell, the copywriter will need to know:
- What the business is selling.
- Where they are selling it.
- Who they are selling it to.
- How they are selling it.
And most importantly, what makes their products and services different (and hopefully superior) to everyone else in the market.
Information your copywriter needs
Sometimes clients forget (or just don’t realise) how much background information a copywriter needs before they can start writing a company profile, press release, or set of product descriptions. It’s actually quite substantial.
Professional copywriters will have a standard list of items they will require from you, and you can reasonably expect them to ask for:
- Your website or blog, Linkedin profiles and company page, social media accounts.
- Links to articles (or newsprint clippings) that have been written about you or the company.
- Details of awards or special recognitions you’ve received.
- Books or publications you have authored and published.
- Videos of media interviews.
- Details and specifications of your product/services.
- Product reviews, testimonials, and google ratings.
- Profile of your customers
- Names of competitors.
REMEMBER: if your copywriter doesn’t know about it, they can’t write about it.
Working with a copywriter
It’s always best to provide as much information as possible (business plans, names of industry associations, business stakeholders are also very helpful) — and if you are concerned about privacy and confidentiality put an NDA in place. An ethical copywriter will always be willing to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that protects your trade secrets, data, and company information.
On a final note, a copywriter specialises in persuasive writing that convinces a reader to take some type of action — buy a t-shirt online, join a weekly eNewsletter, book a massage, visit the physical store during the end-of-season sale. So before you start the job, always have a clear vision of the actions you want your customers and prospects to take.
Your copywriter wants to write amazing copy that sells, convinces, inspires, and motivates your customers, so undo the blindfold and help them get to know you, and your business.
© 2019 Melinda J. Irvine