Copywriting Blog

Behind all great copy there’s a great copywriting briefing

Copywriting briefing

The copywriting briefing process… “No, no, no! This tone of voice is much too glib!”

Every great piece of commercial writing starts with a top-notch copywriting briefing. So if you want to get the best out of your copywriter, you have to tell them exactly what you want.


Here’s our Top 6 guide to what your copywriter really needs to know:


  1. Be specific about what you’re trying to achieve… It could be as simple as trying to promote or sell something. Or it could be a bit less tangible… like gently raising awareness of a new product. Talk it through with your copywriter – explore all the possibilities now, while your job is still a blank canvas.
  2. Establish your target audience… Are they established clients or new prospects? Are they up-to-speed with your way of doing things? Are they familiar with your tone of voice? The more information you can give your copywriter about who they are, and what they want, the better.
  3. Agree on your tone of voice… The copywriting briefing part of the process only ends when both parties are agreed on what your copy should sound like. And once it’s agreed, ask your copywriter to write a sample page – just to prove they’ve really got it.
  4. Set some specific measures of success… If you’re launching a newsletter, take a look at industry-average opening rates and discuss a timescale to match or exceed it. If it’s a sales letter, look at a reasonable rate of take-up within an agreed timescale.
  5. Iron out the gremlins… Establish how product names should appear. Agree on your spellings – ‘realise’ or ’realize’ (UK or US)? Does your company name always appear in initial caps, do you use any acronyms, abbreviations, or industry-speak – it pays to get the ‘little’ things right because they’re the little things that can make a big difference.
  6. Set some milestones… Having an agreed delivery date, or a series of delivery dates keeps things on-track and on-budget. Talking of which… are you being charged a set project fee, or a daily / hourly rate? Make sure both parties understand each other’s payment and invoicing terms. It doesn’t affect the project itself, but it’s an important part of building a good long-term working relationship.

Don’t scrimp on the copywriting briefing process. Take the time to get it right, and you’ll improve your chances of ‘right-first-time’ copy, that really reflects your company, your customers and your ideals.

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