Copywriting: my process

My clear process helps avoid content jams and problems. Here’s how

As a marketer, it’s easy to run into problems with a copywriting project if you don’t know exactly what you’re signing up to. That’s why I aim to communicate clearly with you about every copywriting project – following the same process each time. Here’s how it works.

1

You send your written brief

The single biggest cause of content confusion is a missing or unclear brief. So before beginning a content project, I seek to agree a written brief with you – to avoid problems later in the project.
 
I host a briefing form online, so you can send me detailed info as early as possible in the process.
 
If you prefer to give your brief over the phone, that’s fine, but unless the project is very simple,  it may mean that I need to charge a fee for working up a written brief. I may also need to do this if a brief needs more work.
2

We agree the deliverables

In response to your brief, I will usually send you an email or proposal to clarify project deliverables and terms.

I always agree a quote for the job with clients, rather than a hourly or daily rate. For smaller projects, I will also agree with you a deadline for a first draft. This means you know exactly how much you’re paying – and when you’re getting your copy. 
 
For some projects – typically long documents such as white papers – I may need to offer a content development service at this stage of the process. In this scenario, I will prepare a full synopsis or outline for you to agree before I start writing.
 
For longer projects, I will agree with you a target timetable for each content element, taking into account your business deadlines and my avaiability.
 
I offer all my copywriting on the basis of specific, plain-English copywriting terms, which I will share with you early on.
3

I research your project

Writing relevantly and engagingly requires research – and it’s this step which often separates good copywriters from the rest. My fee will allow for time spent researching your topic, spending time on the phone with you to understand your industry, and reading the documents you send.
 
Longer projects may include a specific discovery phase, marked in the timetable.
 
Either way, I’ll ask you to send any supporting documents you’d like me to use, or the contact details of anyone you’d like me to interview.
4

I send you a first draft

If everything has gone smoothly, I send your draft in Microsoft Word format, in time for your deadline. 

This draft will include not only the body copy – but also other content elements (e.g. headlines, subheads and pullquotes), clearly marked for your design team.

5

A clear path to sign-off

Revisions are an important part of the copywriting process – so I don’t set arbitrary limits on the number of revision rounds for your project. 

That said, it’s important to stop content projects dragging on for a long time, so instead, I agree a deadline with you for the content revision process. Once this revision window ends, revisions are chargeable.

For copywriting, I typically offer unlimited revisions for 15–30 days after you receive a first draft – though I’ll add time to this if I’m on holiday at the relevant time. 

As a client, it’s essential for you to allot time during this ‘revision window’ to go through copy drafts. If you have a holiday planned, just let me know in advance and I’ll add time to your revision window.

Copy-editing is a little different, because often I will be making large numbers of edits in long, complex documents. So I typically offer copy-editing and proofreading on a ‘single pass’ basis. This means I will go through your document and edit or proof it as appropriate, tracking changes as I go – but once I send it back,  revisions are up to you.