How to brief a freelance copywriter

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Hiring the right freelance copywriter can mean the difference between attracting and converting new customers and losing sight of your businesses’ core message and USP.

A good copywriter will of course be dedicated to making your content the best it can be. But they must also possess a clear idea of what you want from the project – to understand your customer’s pain points, what makes your business special and unique, and what has worked well for you in the past.

To develop this understanding, your copywriter will need a clear, detailed briefing that gives them the resources to create the content you need to cut through the noise and capture your audience.

From providing the right information to choosing the most effective SEO keywords, we’ve compiled a guide that will enable you to better brief a freelance copywriter.

Provide plenty of information about your brand and customer

This is a worthwhile exercise, even if your brand is well-known. It helps you get clarity and can encourage you to refresh your knowledge of your competitors and marketplace.

The information for your freelancer should include:

  • Your brand’s story, vision, mission and history
  • Relevant information about key people or thought leaders within the company
  • A description of your ideal customer
  • What kind of content works well – and for what customer groups
  • Your most successful marketing channels
  • Your main competitors – and what you think they do well
  • Your tone of voice
  • The reasons customers choose you
  • Your main barriers to sale

Define your content goals

The purpose and goals of your content must be clear from the start. Do you want to increase followers on social media? Drive more direct sales? Position your organization as a thought leader? The list goes on. If you’re not sure where to start, create a list of the problems you face, then speak with your copywriter or marketing agency. They should be able to recommend content that addresses your challenges, refines your message, and engages your target audience at different stages of the customer journey.

Describe the target audience

If you haven’t already developed customer personas – or you have, but need to update them – now is the perfect opportunity. Not sure how to get started? Read our tips on creating customer personas.

Make sure your copywriter knows your target audience, as well as the type of language that will grab its attention, its challenges and aspirations, the problems your product or service can solve – and where and when your audience might be reading your content.

Outline the specifics of the content

Giving your writer plenty of information about your content’s structure is vital. This should include:

  • Content type: blog, web page, press release, e-book, SEO landing page, etc
  • Word or character count
  • Project type: content creation, editing, proofreading, etc
  • Details of any template the content must fit
  • Content rate – per word or finished piece
  • Deadline and signoff process
  • Where the content will be published and promoted
  • Information about the structure (e.g., a compelling hook at the beginning; interspersed quotes; bulleted lists to break up the copy)
  • Whether to include internal links to related blogs on your website (these will probably need to be provided to the copywriter)
  • Any external links that will be used. (e.g.,a study or research that supports your content)
  • Reference materials (including sources not to use, i.e. your competitors!)

Clarify your messaging 

When you have several marketing goals, it can be tempting to try to squeeze multiple messages into one piece of content. This might work for some formats, but you are generally better off focusing on one message per article. Otherwise, your messages risk becoming lost in the mix.

Furthermore, when it comes to web pages, it is vital that search engines immediately understand your pages’ intent, so they can index the content and it can start its journey to the top of those rankings!

Finally, your website visitors are not going to stick around to try to decipher your content if the language is all over the place. Clarifying your message gives you the best chance of making your words count.

Here are some tips on what to include in your brief:

  • The most important benefit or selling point you want to communicate
  • The problems the will content solve or the questions it will answer
  • The desired reader action – and the words to get them to perform that action (sign up for a newsletter, etc)

Choose SEO keywords

Keywords are one of the most important ranking factors in Google and other search engines. If you want to increase your rankings, make sure you take time to refine your SEO keywords and search terms, then share those results with your copywriter.

SEO can be challenging, even for brands employing experienced marketers. If you are stuck, speak to your content marketing agency, which will be able to point you in the right direction.

Make room for questions

You know your brand and products like the back of your hand. This means it can be difficult to know how much information to include on a content brief. You don’t want to overload your freelancer, but you also don’t want to leave them with too many questions.

Creating and sharing a content brief that is clear and thoughtful is vital. It is, however, worth considering scheduling a quick call with your freelancer to make sure all aspects of the brief are clear. This also helps build rapport between you and your copywriter, enabling them to better understand you and your organization.

Want to learn more about working with an expert content marketing agency – or explore opportunities for enhancing your internal content strategy? Get in touch with us today!

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