Last post, I wrote about copywriters not being mind-readers. Lest you think this was just me enjoying a chance to vent, let me clarify my purpose in writing it. And let me also say, the regular clients I have now are absolutely great – but I have run into this scenario enough times in my 20+year career to know that each time I take on a new client, it can be an education process all over again.

And let me also say, my clients would tell you I’m not even a fraction as cranky as I may sound here!

The reason you should care about providing your copywriter with as completely filled-out a Client Questionnaire as you can take the time to provide – or as many materials and examples as you can assemble – is simple. It:

  • saves you money
  • results in a better-targeted and better-converting product.

After all, you wouldn’t go to a garage, knowing your car was making a funny rattle in the front right passenger corner, and say: “Fix my car. Just make it right.” Would you?

You’d want to be as specific as possible, so you didn’t return the next day and find out they gave it a tune up, a wheel alignment, rotated the tires, changed the oil, and finally (after all that) found and fixed the wheel bearing in the front right corner that was causing your initial problem.

A Recipe for Disaster

Of course, my analogy is slightly flawed, because a mechanic wouldn’t play guessing games as to where the problem was – he’d hear the noise. And he’d cheerfully have no hesitation charging you through the nose for such extras, enjoying the carte blanche you gave him by default to the full.

But no copywriter is going to write a broadly generic product and not care if it hits your target market or not: More likely, they’re going to bug you for more details… and try to be patient and courteous when you get annoyed; or when you read the results of your own half-hearted and impatient specs, and freak out, yelling: “No! THAT’S not what I wanted when I said “affiliate profits” – I really meant “selling affiliate products solely with ClickBank”. Can you just tweak it?”  (And you both know perfectly well, he means “scrap it and rewrite”…)

Having a copywriter ghost-write your work is a two-way street. You’re both two halves of a whole – the product – and you both need to work as a team. You both have to input whatever you can to create a great product, to the best of your ability.

And if you really haven’t got a clue what you want the copywriter to write about, don’t freak out because you didn’t get that detailed recipe book on “1001 Ways to Make Irish Stew with Only A Crockpot and Two Onions“…

…when the only ingredient you gave your copywriter was “some sort of cookbook”.

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Filed under: Sales Copywriting