Template — Copy brief

qatalog-copy-brief

Intro to copywriting brief template

A copy brief is a document outlining the details of copy assets to be created. Goal is to give clarity to, and set clear expectations with the (freelance) copywriter in order to enable them to do their best work.

You can use this template every time you need to create a copy asset with an in-house or external copywriter. You can forward these briefs to your copywriter via email or (Slack) channel.

This template is for anyone in the organization that needs a (series of) copy asset(s) to be created (e.g. blog posts, ad copy, UX copy, etc.)

Get started by making a copy of the ‘Template’ section, and by creating paragraphs/bullet points for each step of the workflow. You can customize the process as per your company processes.

→ Looking to download a template? Download copy brief template here.

Template

Step 1—Define the scope of work

  1. If the brief is for a freelancer, write an intro paragraph about your product and value proposition.
    • Industry and market background
    • Value proposition and customer outcomes
    • Target audience
  2. Write a short paragraph about the job to be done. Include:
    • Customer outcomes and company goals for the assets to be produced
    • Outline the assets to be produced—number, word count, and where the assets will be used (e.g. blog, PR, etc.)
    • Attach a list of all deliverables and technical specifications to the intro summary
  3. Write a short paragraph about the production logistics:
    • Set clear timelines for each deliverables
    • Set starting date and deadline
    • Define expected rounds of feedback/revision
    • If needed, give specifics on key stakeholders and how feedback is gathered/given

Step 2—Copy assets specifications

Create a table for each asset with all the copy asset specifications. Keep it short and simple, and use bullet points where possible.

Feel free to copy the table below, and use the guidelines in the Specifications column.

Asset name

Specifications

Goals

  • What are the goals of this piece of content?
  • How do you measure quality of the content?
  • What are the core KPIs that will help you measure success? (E.g. traffic, indexing, leads)

Target audience

  • Who is this piece of content talking to?
  • What are their demographics and interests?
  • What are their pain points and alternative solutions?
  • Which channels are they using to consume content?

Keywords

  • Primary keywords:
  • Secondary keywords

Core message/story

People read content in order to answer their questions, and stories are the format of choice to satisfy their thirst for knowledge.

When creating a brief, take time to think through the core message and build a compelling story to enable your copy team to effectively reach your audience.

  1. Situation: What's the context of the story? Start with an anecdotal situation, using as much user words as possible. 
  2. Complication: What's the alteration to the Situation? (E.g. 'This is about to change' or 'Here's what could happen').
  3. Question: What question does the Complication trigger? Why should the audience care? (E.g. 'What should we do?').
  4. Main point: What is the main point or key line of this piece of content? This answer the core question and outlines the body of the document (e.g. paragraphs structure).

Key points

  • What are the 1-3 supporting points to the main point?
  • Depending on the format of the content, you might want to have one paragraph (or headline) for each supporting point.

Data points

  • What data can you use to back your key points?
  • Use internal research where possible, or leverage external research from sources that are credible and familiar to your audience
  • When using data, ensure to always use references and quotes

CTA

What user action are you aiming for after consuming the content?

Copy guidelines

  • What's the word count and/or estimated reading time?
  • What's the structure of the content (e.g. paragraphs, headlines, etc.)?
  • What are the markdown and SEO guidelines needed for the content to be correctly indexed?
  • What is the external research and referencing guidelines to back the supporting points of the aticle?

Complementary creatives

(if applicable)

  • E.g. source 1-3 complementary photography from Unsplash
  • List photography guidelines if you applicable

Other comments

  • What's the tone of voice?

Step 3—Include positive references

Set clear expectations and moodboard inspiration by providing design references:

  1. Include 3-5 links
  2. For each, provide clear references on what you like, and how it fits with the message/brand

Step 4—Include relevant resources

Gather preemptively links to useful resources to enable the (freelance) designer to promptly get started.

  1. Brand identity & tone of voice guidelines
  2. Marketing website & company blog
  3. SEO keywords list
  4. Value proposition and messaging doc

Step 5—Create a detailed deliverable checklist

Example

Asset

Specs

Status

Blog post

800-1000 words

Not started

Facebook ads — series 1

5x headlines — 240 characters 

Not started

Facebook ads — series 2

5x headlines — 240 characters 

Not started

Facebook ads — series 3

5x headlines — 240 characters 

Not started

This template was inspired by the Qatalog Team and Barbara Minto.

matteo-tittarelli

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