I’m not one for proverbs. I find them cliched, cheesy and corny.
But there is one by Benjamin Franklin that strikes a chord: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Yes, I know. An appalling cliché, thanks to tacky Instagram posts through to ‘motivational’ posters plastered in office building receptions.
Yet, while eyeballs may roll when reading it, there is one field where this saying resonates the most — copywriting.
Let me explain.
Four weeks ago, I schmoozed a new prospect. So much so, I converted him into a client.
Now, after the deliverables were agreed to, the deadline set and the contract signed, I started my usual onboarding process. (This is where I review the current copy and creative assets so I know what I’m working with.)
From the opening line to the concluding sentence, the content felt fatigued. I remember yawning mid-way through reading the intro. Ho-hum.
Here's the problem.
For starters, big smart-sounding words clashing with each other. Then, one grammatical error after another.
And the sentences? They had the stop-start jerk of a teenager learning to drive a manual car for the very first time. That poor clutch.
It was clear what the problem was. No planning.
A lack of planning leads to what I call the ‘salad bowl’ approach.
This is where the original writer threw their ideas into a salad bowl, sprinkled some industry jargon, drizzled connective words and tossed it together.
But we all know a salad, while healthy for us, puts our tastebuds to sleep.
So, to get this copy sizzling, I went back to the one thing I know would make a difference. The brief.
The solution you need.
A creative brief is like a recipe. It breaks down the key elements needed to create a mouth-watering piece of advertising. The type audiences eat up and lick the spoon after.
Any copywriter worth their salt, myself included, starts every project off with a brief.
Here at Mylk Copy, the process works in order of:
- Background/context of your business
- Problem and opportunity
- Business objective
- Target audience
- Key proposition
- Reasons to buy
- Intended response (if applicable)
Let’s see it in action with a made-up martial arts gym in Melbourne called Mylk Muay Thai.
First, let’s examine the business background:
Background/Context: Mylk Muay Thai is a dedicated Muay Thai fighting gym in North Melbourne. The gym takes beginners and experienced people of all ages and backgrounds. The instructors teach fighting, defence and discipline.
Then, we examine the problem and the opportunity to solve it as well as the business objective:
Problem: Everyone believes they can’t do a sport like Muay Thai without having a martial arts background.
Opportunity: Tell them why they need Muay Thai and what it can do for them.
Business Objective: To get people to sign-up for a 30 day free trial
After, we deep dive into the target audience, taking into account demographics, geographics and psychographics.
Demographic: Heard about Muay Thai. Males and females, 20-30, haven’t thought about fighting, but many would like to try it so they know they could defend themselves in the off chance something happens.
Psychographic: Most are tired of the same boring workout routines and want to try something new but just aren’t sure what. Many have watched UFC, boxing or ONE FC and have thought they wouldn’t mind trying it out but are unsure how they’ll go – they need the reassurance.
Next, I peel back the layers of your product or service like the skin on an onion. I need to find out the reasons why your biz is the envy of your competitors, or if it’s not, how I can position it to be.
Reasons to Buy In:
- Get trained by former and current active fighters.
- Learn a new skill and develop confidence in yourself
- 12 sessions per week; classes split between beginners and intermediates, and advance.
- The gym runs interclub events every 3 months for members to test their skills.
- Lose weight, get fit, build a stronger body.
- Within six months you won’t know yourself.
Finally, we arrive at the key proposition. This is where I sum up the entire message in one bite-sized, benefit-driven sentence.
Key Proposition: Muay Thai will teach you to defend yourself in any situation.
Experience has taught me the power of persuasive copy lies in the brief. It’s the one thing that should never be overlooked.
So before you hire a copywriter for your next writing project, always ask … wait …
Always demand they start with a brief. Want to discuss a copy project?
Brief me about it here.