Write what you know.
That's what they teach you in school, but in the world of professional copywriting you'll often be called upon to write content on subjects that are foreign to you.
When you write for a client, even if you are "in the know", you still need to thoroughly research the subject just to be sure your knowledge conforms with present day facts. Researching topical articles is time consuming, but at least once you've done your homework you have a solid base of information to begin your client's content.
Although writing sales copy is one of the most profitable types of copywriting, it poses special problems. Before you can write good sales content for a client, you have to know your abcs:
- What the client wants on their website
- What content will rank well in the search engines and
- What content will convert web visitors to buying customers.
These elements often butt heads, but your job is to make them compatible.
If the client doesn't have an existing web site, it can be like pulling teeth to get the information you need. If your client has an existing website, you'll frequently find that the current copy is written to tell not to sell.
The Client Content Questionnaire
This was a real problem for me when I first started copywriting for clients. I knew what I'd like to see on their pages but often my clients’ opinions differed from mine. Finally, I developed a client Content Questionnaire. In less than 20 questions it gives clients an idea of what they can expect to see as well as what they need to see on their web pages. Text blocks under each question expand so that clients can add extra information. Below is a truncated version of the form.
- What information is the most important to emphasize throughout your website content?
- What is your business structure?
- What additional information would you like to see mentioned on your home page?
- How long has your company been in business?
- Who founded the business and what was their incentive to begin the business?
- What specific information about key people would you like to see on your website?
- What other information about your company would you like to see on your about or company history page?
- How would you describe your business in your words?
- Do you have brochures, flyers or other media that contains product or service information?
- What is your primary demographic?
- What is the range of your market?
- Should your website cater specifically to your present market range or work to extend your market?
- Is location or regional information important to your business?
- What sort of feel do you want your website to have?
- Does your business hold any special qualifications, certifications, licenses, memberships, etc. that you would like mentioned on your website?
- If your business is product oriented, what shipping information would you like included in your website, if any?
- Does your business have a slogan, mission, and/or vision statement that you would like included in your website content?
- Does your business have any product and/or service disclaimers that are necessary to your website content?
- Do you have other comments, requests,or information that will help us to write the content of your website to reflect your business accurately?
Download the free sample, here. (.odt compatible with both Microsoft and Linux).