GRUMPTION - a blog of sorts

How to work more effectively with your copywriter, regardless of whether you are a developer, graphic designer, marketer, communications manager, or just somebody who needs some good words about their product

Make sure your copywriter is a know-it-all

It just dawned on me that I do my best copywriting – both conceptually and in storytelling – when my client takes the time upfront to educate me on three things:

·     The Product (or Service)

·     The Benefits and what makes each a benefit and to whom 

·     The Market including both Decision Makers and Decision Influencers

This may sound like Marketing 101. But it’s too easy to do an information dump on the copywriter and expect that’s all it takes to write good copy. 

If an information dump is the way you work and your expectations are low, or you just want some words to fill up those blank boxes on your website, or you have an inadequate budget then you should be quite happy with the results. 

But if you depend on actual results and you know what it takes to move your market, then you’re going to be dissatisfied. And you can only blame yourself. 

Radar showed I needed to know my material

You can see an example of how to do it right by looking at the EEC Radar example here on my site.

Alabama-based EEC is the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of weather radars. I was brought in to work on their print and website materials through their great Atlanta-based design firm, ETHIC Inc. 

ETHIC had done their homework and realized that the copywriter should be very familiar with the ins-and-outs of weather radars.

EEC, realizing just how vital these materials were, agreed. So they sent both their top scientist/engineer and top marketing guy up to Atlanta to spend time patiently explaining C-band and single-side band and lots of other very esoteric information to us until we finally got it. 

These guys knew their markets well.

They knew that the sell to the meteorologist or scientist was not especially challenging – their products were well-respected and used throughout the world.

The hard part was explaining to the user’s boss why these very complicated and expensive instruments were so important. The boss wrote the checks but didn’t understand an S-band radar from an S-curve in the road. 

As the copywriter, it was apparent that I needed to understand the radar systems and the science behind them along with the major benefits of implementing the right system. That meant delivering two content objectives: 

·     Give the meteorologist the specific product specs and information to make an intelligent recommendation 

·     Make sure the boss understood and appreciated the value and the need for the proposed radar system

Copywriting miracles are the result of hard work

The bottom line here is don’t just throw some “background” at the copywriter and expect miracles. 

If you don't know the information, that's ok. Find someone in your organization who does and make sure they have the time and ability to explain it and then are available for follow-up questions.

Quite often, a senior salesperson is perfect for this task. They know the products and they know who is involved in the buying cycle and what their hot buttons are.

Just make sure that whoever does the briefings sets aside ample time to patiently: 

·     Explain the product

·     Describe the target markets (both decision makers and decision influencers)

·     Point out each benefit and – this is key – what makes that benefit so beneficial and to whom

When you educate the copywriter upfront, the result will be useful, informative copy that also sells because your prospect clearly understands why your product is so necessary.