Writing a Brief for Your Copywriter: A (Hopefully) Handy Guide

David Ogilvy, known as the Godfather of Advertising, famously wrote a letter describing his method of writing copy - and it’s an interesting place to start when trying to understand how to build a brief you need your copywriter to answer.

In the letter he says, “I write one definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve.”

It’s vital when writing your brief that you understand and communicate the problem you’d like your copywriter to solve - and if you follow the ‘Five Ws’ it can actually be easy and enjoyable.

The Five Ws

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The Five Ws are Who, What, Why, Where and How (I realise How doesn’t start with a W, but there’s one on the end so let’s not be too picky)

Who

Think about who you are trying to talk to and influence – consider your customer, perhaps, and if you were to meet them on the street, what would they be like. Describe them

What

What is it you’re trying to tell your customer and how will it benefit them? Whether it’s a product or a service, what problem does it solve? If it’s an offer or invitation, what will encourage them to accept?

Why

Why should your customer pick your product, service? Why is what you’re offering special?

Where

Where can your customer find your product - is it online, is it at an event, is it in a particular place? Where will you be collating their response to your copy? Are you collecting their data or watching a sales figure?

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How

How are you going to communicate with your customer? Is it via direct mail, social media or a press release?

Spend time answering these questions and building a picture for your copywriter, looking at what you need them to do.

Structuring your brief

A helpful way to lay out your brief is:

Aim

Objective

Method

Anticipated response/result

Research to be considered

Timescales

Budget

Structuring your brief this way and using the Five Ws will enable you to share with your copywriter all your thoughts behind the work you need them to do. The better they understand your expectations, the better the results will be.

Nothing Like Face-to-Face

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If you’re still feeling flummoxed at the prospect of writing a brief, consider this other nugget of info from the Godfather of Advertising: “If you want ACTION, don’t write - go and tell the guy what you want.”

Sometimes, when you’re not 100% sure what you need your copywriter to do, but you know you need them to do something, it’s easier for both of you to sit down and write the brief together.

Don’t forget: your copywriter has tonnes of experience to share with you; asking them to help you structure the brief can be part of the process.

If you’d like help with a copywriting brief I’d be more than happy to take a look - just get in touch.

 

The Ultimate Instagram Stories How-To Guide

If your business uses Instagram, you’ll have probably used the Stories function once or twice. Swiped from Snapchat (more or less), it’s an instant way to share thoughts and boost your visibility on your followers’ feeds.

If you’re not a confident Instagrammer, it’s also another confusing feature to feel intimidated by.

Some businesses hammer Stores all day every day, and some barely use it at all. This ultimate Instagram Stories how-to guide has been created to help you get the most out of this quickfire feature, no matter how you intend to use it.

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So let’s get started!

Create a Calendar

If you’ve been running your business for a while, you’ll already be familiar with the concept of an editorial calendar, whether you know it or not.

Your editorial calendar is a foolproof guide, created by you, to help you create and post the right types of marketing content, advertisements and offers at ideal moments throughout the year.

Whether you drill right down to the hours and minutes or you simply keep track of your busier times of year, your editorial decisions are based around these timings. It sounds difficult, but it isn’t: think about how you plan campaigns around Christmas, or summer holiday season, or even in the run-up to the weekend. It all counts!

Creating a calendar for your Stories content will help you out because it means you won’t be left stranded without content on a busy day. It also means you can really take advantage of my next tip…

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Schedule Your Stories

Creating your Stories content in bulk and scheduling them across the day, week or month is a fantastic way to keep on top of your Instagram Stories and ensure you’re not leaving your followers drawing a blank when they want to see content from you.

There are apps and scheduling platforms that allow you to do this easily, such as Tailwind and Later. Use their tools and let technology do the hard work for you.

What content should I share on Instagram Stories?

Good question. Every Instagram account is different, and it depends on what you use the platform for as to what you’ll be publishing on Stories every day.

Your main options to choose from are:

●      Photo

●      Video

●      Boomerang

●      Sharing posts.

With photos, you get a static picture, but you can add gifs and other adornments to them in the editing process.

Using video is great to share news or product releases in a personal way, and you can choose to have volume on or off.

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Boomerang is a more compelling way to share a relatively dull image – think shots of packaging – but it can eat into your users’ data and become annoying if used too much.

 You can also add to your story by sharing posts from your main feed or from any other feed you choose. This is really useful for highlighting review posts, or drawing people to your main feed for your latest post.

Use Stats

If in doubt, follow the numbers. If you’re not sure what types of content your followers are enjoying, take a quick look at Instagram Insights to see what’s been playing out well and what’s been flopping.

Armed with the facts, you can head back to work and create content you know will hit your targets.

See, Instagram Stories are easy once you get the hang of it! But if you’re really struggling, ping me an email. I’d love to talk to you about how I can help boost your Instagram game.

Until next time…

5 Quick Ways To Improve Your Website Today

Websites are vital to business, but we all know how time-consuming their upkeep can be.

That’s why I’ve come up with five things you can do today to improve your website. Not tomorrow at 9am; today. Even if it’s 3pm now. You can achieve these small tasks.

Consider this a collection of easy wins. Let’s get to it.

  1. Check Your Contact Page

Can your customers reach you if they want to?

You’d be surprised.

Take a look through your contage page and see if all the information is correct and visible. Here’s a checklist for you:

●      Is the phone number right?

●      Can you highlight the phone number on mobile so someone can easily pick up the phone and call you?

●      Is the email address right?

●      Can the email address be clicked on or tapped to send a message immediately?

●      Does the contact form go anywhere?

●      Is your address and postcode visible?

●      If you have a map here, is it working?

Some of these might be issues for IT to deal with, but at least you know now that your customers can contact you without any trouble – or they will be able to soon.

2. Plan Some Blog Posts

You might not have time to write them today, but you can definitely come up with five blog post ideas for your website’s blog.

Blog posts are one of the best ways to improve and update your website’s content and bring new visitors to your website. Taking fifteen minutes to research some compelling blog post titles and then planning out some time to complete and upload them will improve your website by 100%.

Stuck? Try this blog post generator by Hubspot.

3. Update Your Imagery

You’re bound to have some images on your website that are out of date. Times change, things move on and inevitably, websites get a little tired.

Take a look at some of the stock imagery on your website’s main pages and think about photography you could replace it with instead.

Your customers and website visitors find original photography much more engaging than obvious stock photos, but don’t worry. If you have no photos and can’t organise a photoshoot (or take a few new ones yourself), stock imagery can work as long as:

●      It looks natural

●      It works in context

●      It matches the tone and feel of your website.

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4. Check Your Links

Are your pages full of hyperlinks?

Well, they should be.

Google loves links that aid the reader to research more, and using links in context is a great way to boost your Google ranking.

However, broken links bring your site right back down again and not only that, they frustrate your visitors too.

Click through your links to make sure they aren’t leading to dead ends, and replace any that do.

5. Check Your Comments

Bots love to leave nonsense comments on blog posts. It’s just robot nature.

While there are very good, very useful spam detectors available for website developers to install, some comments just slip through the net and onto your website.

Take a few minutes to scan through your comment sections (doing this via the back end will be the easiest way) and nip off any of those weird, nonsensical comments that make your site feel a little overgrown and unloved.

I really hope these tips help motivate you to get improving your website. If you think you need a little more help, or would like to talk to me about the website content support I can offer you and your business, let’s chat.

Until next time…

Why You Should Hire a Copywriter in 2019

If you’ve been hesitant to hire a copywriter, I can sympathise. Making the decision to outsource your web content, social media posts or ads can seem like a daunting process. After all, your company is your pride and joy - and handing over the creative reins to an outsider involves a lot of trust.

You needn’t worry. Professional copywriters are experts, and we exist to help you. If you need a simple press release writing, that’s what we can do. If you need a full website’s worth of content creating, you can count on us to deliver exactly what your brief describes.

A relationship between a copywriter and our individual clients is all about communication. We trust you to give us all the information and support we need to create exceptional content – and in return, you can trust us to work hard to deliver content you need that goes above and beyond your expectations.

Here are some more compelling reasons why you should hire a copywriter in 2019, and why I think the job I do can help out businesses of all kinds all over the world.

A copywriter knows exactly what you need - even if you don’t.

You might be unhappy with your web content and need an overhaul. You might be working on a brand new website for a startup. You might have heard about Instagram ads and want to get involved.

You might know this, but you don’t know what next steps to take.

This is what we copywriters do. We can talk through your options, and together we can work out the best possible plan of action. Then we get to work. Simple as that!

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Copywriters only do what you ask us to do.

If you’re afraid that hiring a freelance copywriter will somehow start a chain of events that leads to you paying for content and fees you didn’t want to pay, don’t be.

Good copywriters can send a clear contract to you for every job you ask us to complete. If we think more work needs to be done – for example, keyword research or a spot of competitor analysis – we’ll flag this, but ultimately it’s your call.

If a copywriter is charging you more than you can afford, it only takes a conversation to rectify the situation. After all, we work for you, not the other way around.

Freelance copywriters have experience - and lots of it

Believe it or not, most freelancers don’t have one, specific niche. This is a good thing. It enables us to flex our mental muscles, turning copy into well-rounded, well-informed information.

We might know everything there is to know about your particular industry, but in the background we might also be experts in retail management, extreme sports and professional cleaning services. They don’t feel connected, but a wide spectrum of reference points helps our writing feel less robotic - and that’s what you want.

A copywriter understands how important your content is

If your team doesn’t have time to give your content the precision and care it needs, your business could suffer for it.

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A copywriter understands how vital your content is, and will work hard to ensure it is perfect before sending it back to you for your comments. We are also great at making amends, sometimes several times, so that the content you want is the content you get. We understand. It’s important to you, so it’s important to us.

A copywriter gives you space to achieve

 Whenever I speak to potential clients, I want to make sure that they are making the right choice for their business. I also want to convey that by handing over this work to a professional copywriter, they will be freeing up headspace, time and resources. It makes a huge difference to be able to pass work over.

The most common comment I receive from my clients is that I’ve given them time to think, and to work on important projects that in turn have helped their business to grow.

In that sense, copywriters offer two things in one: a chance to turn your mind to more important matters, and the truly essential resource of a professional who can write content that takes your business higher.

If you’d like to chat about how we could work together this year, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

 

In Case You Need Another Reason to Hire a Freelance Copywriter...

...and not just any copywriter (but meeee!), then here's the very reason you're looking for: my rates are lower than most. Lower than the national average, actually.

How do I know this? A survey from the Professional Copywriters' Network (an organisation I'm a member of) dropped into my inbox the other week and it revealed, amongst other things, that the average copywriting daily rate here in the UK is £339.

I can tell you my copywriting rate falls under that.

But that's not because I'm no good at my job and I'm therefore devaluing my services. No, no, nooo. Instead, it's because it's just as important to me to be competitively-priced as it is to offer my clients great work. After all, I live and work in Yorkshire - and I realise people like a good deal round these parts.

Here's a look at the highest copywriting daily rate out there, alongside the average. As far as freelance copywriting rates go, £339 isn't to be scoffed at. That's £339 to have someone make a start on your website, brochure, or compile a few press releases. Not bad at all, eh?

 

And while you may think that anyone can write great copy, that's really not the case. Furthermore, well-crafted copy really does lead to boosted sales. Or at the very least it'll help to cement your reputation amongst a sea of industry-wide competition. All that for less than £339 per day.

If you're looking for freelance copywriting services Leeds, you'll find there are lots to choose from. But are there lots that offer a daily rate that falls under the national average? I say: 'no, Siree'.

My rate may be more reasonable than those offered by other freelance copywriters, but I still produce the results my clients are looking for - and I'm a relatively quick worker, too. Just try me; I bet I can make a dent on the projects on your to-do list within a day or two. I've done the very same for clients including High Definition Brows, QVC and Flowers Direct, to name just a few.

Discover how reasonable my freelance copywriting daily rate is by getting in touch here.

I'm looking forward to hopefully becoming your new, reliable (and extremely reasonably priced!) go-to copywriter. Let's chat!

Until next time...