One of the dreams you probably had about getting a website up was that it would be out there selling your services 24 / 7…building your list of potential clients…generating contacts from interested, high quality potential clients…building your web presence and your reputation as a trusted authority and expert solution provider.
Whether you decide to start your first site yourself or you’re going to hire a developer to build you a site, there’s one big problem you’re going to run into.
What are you actually going to say on the pages?
When I was the chief brand strategist and copywriter at the agency I worked for back in the mid-00’s, no client ever gave me much insight into the message they wanted to convey on their site. They looked to me to tell them what they needed on the site, how many pages, what those pages should be, and certainly what should be on those pages.
Luckily we never had a client disappointed with the sites we developed for them.
Our developer, Ryan, was a big talent; but even he looked to me for direction about things like which images to use and where to put those images on the pages. I even wrote the alt-tags and page descriptions for the sites.
I rarely write copy for clients anymore.
The clients I work with have been determined to do it themselves or they’ve been working with a developer. The problem with developers though is they rarely understand how or have the talent to write good web copy. That’s not an insult. Writing copy and developing sites are two completely different skill sets.
I only know two people who I trust write copy for the sites they develop.
Writing the copy for a site is often the longest (and most expensive part) of a site build project.
One reason for that is the fact that the client is usually unable to provide the necessary background information for the copywriter to figure it out so a lot of research has to be done.
Then, that copywriter has to let the information marinate as they plan the project and start writing.
Like most things, the project and its success hinges on clarity. The more you have and can share with the writer the easier and faster the writing will happen and the better quality you’ll get.
Most professional copywriters will work from a creative brief.
A brief provides a lot of information about the project and will end up being referred to quite a bit by all parties.
If there’s any confusion about what was promised or what you told the copywriter the information in the brief is what keeps things clear.
If you’ve ever worked on a project yourself that suffered from scope creep or constantly changing directions then some sort of project brief would help with that. (Scope creep is also a boundary problem too so you want to make sure you’re firm on what the client gets in their package).
I think a brief is a great tool if you’re writing your own copy because it helps you think the project through, recognize what you’re unclear about, and work out some fine points before you begin writing.
You can get my brief by sharing your best email address when you click this link.