A brief is the single most crucial communication in any project. Without a concise brief and a concrete agreement, a whole world of trouble lays ahead.
So, what's in a brief?
It may seem like an obvious one, but if the brief isn't right, the copy won't be either. Make sure you have the following elements or ask yourself the below questions before you brief a freelance copywriter for your project.
What do you need?
Do you need help writing blogs and articles? Do you need product descriptions or help with e-commerce products on your website? Do you need help with SEO and keyword analysis?
Not too sure? Do you know that you want to drive more traffic to your website, but the thought of SEO and Google Trends gives you a headache? I like to send my clients a full proposal with all of the ways we can achieve your goals - it's like a shopping list, you can pick and choose what you want/can afford. But we need those quantifiable goals to get started.
Do you want three blog posts a week or once a month? Do you want 100 captions for Instagram, or do you need help once a week? Let us know how often and how many pieces you need. For example, I offer discounts on rates for retainer clients - so you could save yourself some money!
Research & Drafting
I've had clients say to me 'I could write 500 words in half-an-hour, why are you charging me a days work for one blog post?' Simple. If you want a quality blog that sounds a) like you, and b) well researched with quality, validated links - it takes time. And while we can tap out 500 words quickly, we do three or four drafts before you see a word. You're paying for quality.
Be honest about your deadline. Don't tell us it's a week when you actually need it tomorrow. We'll be honest with you about whether we can take on the project if you're honest with us too.
Ooo that's niche!
Some Copywriters have particular subjects or businesses' that they specialise in. For example, my background has been in small, creative businesses with an emphasis on eco-friendly practices. While it isn't essential to have a Copywriter already fluent in your business (we're all very flexible), it can make the process a lot smoother and reduce the research time.
Every client asks 'how much will it cost?' Well, that depends on how much you need. Lay down the brief with all the detail, and give the Copywriter a chance to cost it up for you. Also, if you have a budget - please tell us! We aren't here to rip you off; we're here because we want to do good work and keep you happy.
I won't take a job until I've spoken to you on the phone. Without speaking to you, I can't get a gauge about the honest brand voice; most copywriters will do the same. Just check the terms and conditions of your chosen Copywriter and see if they charge you for call and meetings.
The brief is important so that the first draft is as close to what you want as possible. You'll need to pay for that first draft regardless (again, check your T&Cs!) so it's worth getting that first stage right.
If you'd like to chat about words or how to build a brief, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.