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The secret of a good web copywriting project? A detailed client brief.

Freelance web copywriters rarely meet their customers face-to-face. We often have clients scattered across the state, across the country, and even across the world. That, plus the fact we usually charge for our services by the hour, means that we need to have a reliable way of collecting all the information about a project to write an accurate quote or proposal.

Enter the client brief.

Getting a comprehensive client brief starts a project on the right foot. It gives a copywriting project a far higher chance of success – which means a happy client.

My client brief (which gets filled out to kick start the project) contains:

  • Name of company and motto (so I get the spelling right in the content).
  • Contact name, phone number, and email address (so I know the person to chase up with any project related questions, and also who I’ll send the final version to).
  • Description of project – for example one 250 word web page using existing marketing material (gives me a feeling for the size of the project, how much content I need to write).
  • Unique selling points of product or company – for instance the only authorised supplier of xyz in Brisbane (helps with developing an angle for the content).
  • Five words to describe the personality of the product/company (helps me decide on the tone and language to use).
  • Company website url (for obvious reasons).
  • Supporting information provided (so I know how much research I’m going to need to do).
  • Main competitors (gives me an understanding of the industry).
  • What do you want your call to action to be (such as give us a call, download our whitepaper, subscribe to our newsletter)?
  • Who is your target audience (retirees, youth, parents etc)?
  • Specific keywords to use in the content (so I fit in with any other SEO activities you may be undertaking).
  • First draft of content required by (helps me plan).
  • Final version of content required (again, helps me plan).
  • Format required – for example .doc (I use Word 2007 generally, but I can provide other formats such as a plain .txt file).

I’ll also ask if you have an in-house style guide that you use. Helps me with things like heading style (of course I always recommend sentence case).

Do you think anything else should be added to the list?