The Copywriting Process
I don’t go to many parties, but when I do, people inevitably ask me what I do for a living. When I tell them “I’m a copywriter for B2B tech companies,” there’s always a pause.
Conversational folk will follow up with a few polite questions, thinking I run a law firm that deals with copyrights or patents or something. When it’s clear that I’m not some high-powered lawyer, they wander off to talk to someone else.
Often, I rely on the descriptor, “I’m in advertising.” This helps explain the two-olive dirty Martini in my hand, but doesn’t help people understand what copywriting is all about.
Therefore, I bring you: The Copywriting Process.
Step 1: Collect Info from Your Company
When we first start working together, I’ll ask a few standard questions to learn the facts about your company. These facts usually include things like your marketing goals, what you’ve done in the past, who your ideal buyers are, your typical sales cycle, extra information about your product, and your company size / revenues.
Step 2: Conduct Research
Now that I’ve got basic information from you, I’ll dive deep into your website, your competitors’ websites, your social media activity (if any), and conduct industry research on your ideal buyers. This helps me talk to your prospects knowledgeably and confidently.
Step 3: Develop an Outline or Idea Brief
I’ll take all the info I’ve found and run it by you for some quick verification. If you’re hiring me for blog posts, I’ll send you some quick topics and outlines. If you’re hiring me for white papers, you’ll get an in-depth outline. Everything else gets an idea brief that summarizes the main points, call to action, and audience. This step helps us make sure we’re both on the same page.
Step 4: Create First Draft
This will be where the bulk of the work happens. I’ll reference my notes and outlines to craft a compelling, fascinating piece of writing that meets your marketing goals (e.g. traffic, lead-gen, SEO), which leads your readers to take action when they’ve finished reading. During this process, I may ask you for some additional info, but it’s rare that you’ll hear from me much during this stage.
Step 5: Cheerfully Implement Your Suggestions
When I’m done with the perfectly edited and formatted “first” draft, I’ll send it over to you for review. You’re the expert on what you sell, so you may find some minor things you want to change. If you do, I’m happy to make those changes for you. Since we’ve both been on the same page the whole time, you’re unlikely to have any major changes.
Step 6: Deliver Final Written Draft
If I’m writing a blog post or web copy for you, this is where I post it all on your site. This includes image sourcing and licensing, SEO optimization, and HTML formatting. If you’ve got an in-house team who does all that for you, that’s cool too. I’ll just send over a nice looking Word doc to you instead.
Step 7: (Optional) Design
Some of my clients don’t have an in-house team of any kind, and they’ve hired me for something that requires graphic design, such as a white paper, an eBook, an email or print newsletter, or a brochure. I can either do light graphic design for you (I use Adobe), or I can hook you up with the terrific graphic designers I know and trust. Either way, I’m happy to help.
If I Meet You at a Party…
Now that you’re an expert on how the copywriting process works, you’ll be able to nod knowingly if I meet you at a party and tell you that I’m a copywriter for B2B tech companies.
In fact, let’s set up a code word. If you think you’ve met me (the one and only super-cool Hilary Buckley) and I give you my little “I’m a copywriter…” spiel, you should totally be brave and say, “The owl speaks at midnight.”
No, it doesn’t mean anything, but it’ll be the secret code word between you and me… and if you say it to me, I’ll totally buy you a drink (one time only – remember, I’m not a lawyer so I don’t have a million bucks).
If you aren’t interested in secret spy code that gets you a free drink, you can say something else knowledgeable and cool such as, “I’m looking for a B2B tech copywriter. How about I hire you?” (wink.)