If you’re in the process of working with a copywriter, creating a detailed brief can be hugely beneficial for both of you.
Not only will clear instructions remove the risk of any confusion, they will also help you understand what it is that your business needs to address with the copy or content, and what you want to achieve with the work.
In fact, even if you don’t end up outsourcing this job to a professional copywriter, writing down the specific details of your project will help to clarify what it is you need to bring together the finished article a lot faster.
Here, we’ve provided you with a detailed example of how you can structure a copywriting brief. The key takeaway here is that you need to display all the relevant information in a way that is concise and clear for your copywriter.
(If you’re a budding copywriter, this template is a guide to the types of questions you should be asking your clients at the beginning of a project so you can gather all the information you need to price up the work correctly and deliver fantastic results first time.)
The project background needs to be short and sweet. It’s a quick and simple overview of your business, the copywriter’s details, and start and end dates for the project.
You will need to include:
- The client’s name
- Client website URL (if applicable)
- Your name / your agency’s name
- The project’s name (This can include the purchase order number)
- The start date
- The end date
In this section, you can go into more detail about:
- Who you are as a business
- Who your content is aimed at (your audience)
- The type/format of the content
- The aim of the content
- Where it’s going to be published or shared
This level of detail will help your copywriter develop the copy in a way that is appropriate for your readers and the channel where it will eventually be hosted. For example, blog content is written in a completely different way to printed articles; Twitter posts are a totally different ball game to LinkedIn posts.
If you’re a copywriter designing your own copywriting brief form, we recommend adding prompts under each of these sections to give your clients a good starting point, as below. The more information that can be provided here, the better.
- Who you are
- What industry are you in?
- What are your products/services?
- Who are your competitors?
- What is the purpose of the content you are asking to be created?
- Raising awareness of a topic?
- Driving traffic to your website?
- Boosting search engine rankings?
- Increasing leads?
- Where will the content be published?
- On your website?
- On your social pages?
- In a brochure?
- Who are you talking to? Who is your audience?
- Rough demographic
- What are their pain points?
- How do you solve them?
- What is your tone of voice?
- Do you have any brand or tone of voice guidelines that you can share?
- Can you provide previous examples of similar work?
- Do you have any examples of competitors whose content you admire?
This section of your copywriting brief is all about the output you’re looking for and how and when it should be delivered. This section needs to be precise so that the copywriter can price up the work for you accurately and deliver exactly what you’ve asked for.
This section should include the following:
- What is the estimated word count?
- You may decide to leave this open-ended, based on how much there is to say on the subject
- Are there any specific headings/subheadings you want to include?
- Does the content need to be optimised for search?
- If so, what are the targeted keywords?
- What doesn’t need to be included?
- Are there any words or phrases you want to avoid?
- Is there information that has already been covered elsewhere?
- What is the deadline for this project?
- In what format are you expecting the work?
- As a Google Doc
- As a Word Doc
- Loaded directly onto your site
- What is the review and sign-off process for this project?
- Do you want to include scope for one or two rounds of revisions?
- At what point will you expect to be invoiced?
Following this copywriting brief template will make your copywriter’s life a lot easier and make sure your working relationship gets off to a good start, which is vital if you’re going to need support from a writer or writing team in the longer term.