It is important when you start to write copy that you know as much as you can. This does not mean simply to read some research materials or ask around.

To be a successful copywriter you must get into the heads of people.

The best place to begin is with your client. They truly are the only ones that really know their own business and more than that they know their customers.

The best way to gather the information you will need is to follow a simple form that has 22 questions. Most of your marketing and creative agencies will use this.

Start with your clients. They know their business and their customers better than you do. (If they don’t, they should. You can help them learn more.)

The following is 22 questions that an ad executive came up with:

1. What is the description of the piece(s)? (Ad, Web site, brochure, radio script, direct mail, etc.)

2. What is the marketing focus? (What products or services are we telling about?)

3. What is the communications problem that the piece(s) must solve? (Awareness, positioning or repositioning, product introduction, category introduction, etc.)

4. Who is the audience? (Demographics, title, function, responsibility, etc.)

5. What is their point of view about the product, service, category?

6. Who is the secondary audience(s), if any?

7. What business problems or issues does the product(s)/service(s) solve for the audience(s)? (Efficiency issues, profitability issues, operations issues, technology issues, etc.)

8. What effect do we want the piece(s) to have on the target audience(s)? (Purchase, phone call, visit Web site, request more information, increase their awareness, etc.)

9. What can we offer to achieve the desired response? (Demos, situation evaluation, sales collateral, personal visit, white paper, etc.)

10. What is the single essential message we must tell the target audience(s) to achieve the desired effect? (Be as concise as possible.)

11. What evidence is there to support our claims? (Features and benefits, testimonials, case studies, etc.)

12. Can anyone else make a similar promise?

13. Are there any technology issues to address? (Compatibility, operating systems, hardware requirements, etc.)

14. What specific industry issues must be addressed? (Trends, etc.)

15. Are there any industry, product or competitive issues to be avoided?

16. What tone should the piece employ? (Hardhitting/serious, educational/informative, humorous, etc.)

17. What do you like about your current piece(s)? (Look and feel, tone, messaging, functionality, etc.)

18. What don’t you like about your current piece(s)? (Look and feel, tone, messaging, functionality, etc.)

19. What overall impressions (look and feel, etc.) would you like the piece(s) to make?

20. Will this piece(s) be used with any other pieces? (proposals, collateral, letters, etc.)

21. How will the piece(s) be used (online, leave behind, trade shows, mailed, etc.) and at what point in the sales cycle?

22. Any other comments?

By Neil Sagebiel

Of course it is lengthy and detailed and some of your clients might balk at having to think this through but just remind them how important it is.

Three ways to get the information

  • Ask the client to fill out the form
  • Fill out the form yourself
  • Fill it out during an interview with the client.

After all the research is done, you are now ready to write some great copy!

Filed under: Article writing and rewriting

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