The project brief

The brief tells me about you, your company, your product or service, your readers, and what you want your copy to achieve.

It specifies the work I’ll do and how we’ll measure whether it meets your needs.

You don’t need to send me a detailed brief when you first get in touch. We’ll talk and discuss what you requirements, and agree the brief together.

But it will useful for me to know as much about what you are looking for before we meet.

This page outlines the kind of information the brief will have. I have created a template in .doc format you can use as a basis for your brief. If you can, please fill in as much as you can, or that you think is relevant, and send it to me before our first discussion.

Your product (or service)

  • What is your product?
  • Who is it for?
  • What does it do?
  • How does it work?
  • How do people buy and use it?
  • How does it help people?
  • Does it have special characteristics that set it apart from the competition?

The reader

  • Who are you writing for?
  • What do they want?
  • What do you think might keep them awake at 3am?
  • How will they benefit from the product?
  • How are they losing out from not having it?
  • What do they know about the product, or this type of product?
  • Are they using a similar product already?

Your aims

  • What do you want the reader to do, think or feel as a result of reading the copy?
  • Do you want to generate enquiries or sales?
  • Inform prospects and clients?
  • Build brand recognition and preference?
  • Recapture previous customers?

Format

  • Where will the copy be used?
  • How long does it need to be?
  • How should it be structured?
  • What other types of content might be involved?

Conditions

  • Are there any legal issues (for example regulations on scientific or health claims, prohibited words, trademarks, etc).
  • Is the copy part of a campaign? If so how should it fit in with other copy that’s already been written, or that will be written.
  • Please specify any SEO requirements (for example, popular search terms that should feature in headings).
  • Please specify any brand or tone-of-voice guidelines the copy should follow.

Your company

  • Please tell me about your history, culture, people and values, and anything else that you might want to say.
  • What image are you trying to convey?

Technical information

  • The product (development history, use cases, technical specifications, distribution, retail, buying processes, buying channels, marketing strategy).
  • The product’s market position (price point, offers and discounts, customer perceptions, competitors).
  • The target market (size, history, typical customer profile, marketing personas).

Project management

  • What is the schedule? When do you need the first draft? And the final copy?
  • Who will provide feedback, and how?
  • Who will approve the copy, and how?
  • How should the copy be delivered: as a .doc document, or other format?