Monday, November 17, 2014

5 questions to expect from a freelance copywriter

Wouldn't it be nice if freelance copywriters were mind-readers? Sorry, here in the real world, most aren't. To avoid hassles and get the results you want and need from a B2B copywriter (or just about any other contractor), everyone involved must have a clear understanding of the project.

When I start a new project, these five questions are among the first I ask:

1. Who is this directed to? who else might read it?

Defining your audience is critical to targeting the message.

2. Why are you talking/writing to them?

And why might they listen?  The answer is usually your goal; e.g., "We want them to buy tires during the sale! Tires are half off, so they can buy 4 tires for the price of 2!" Of course, the answer is rarely so obvious - which makes the question all that much more important. 

3. What do you want them to do?

Call us for a quote. Buy 4 tires before December 1st. Break your contract and sign ours. Pay on time. Whatever it is, your writer needs to know the end goal. As clearly as you can possibly state it. 

4. When do you need this (from me, the contractor)?

Because deadlines are when things get done.

5. How do you want it?

Do you expect a Word .doc, a .pdf? What about images? Would you rather just see copy emailed in the body of a message, or should it be tied up with a bow? If you have a style guide, by all means, share it with your copywriter. 

If you're thinking, hey, Who-Why-What-When and How are the same questions they talk about in Journalism 101! OK, you got me. In my defense, these are some mighty powerful questions.

In fact, answering these five questions usually takes less than 30 minutes, and on the average project, saves both you and your contractor about a gazillion hours. That's a rough estimate, of course. If you want to get an idea of what it would take to get your project started, contact me here

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