“What’s your copywriting process?”
It’s a question I’m often asked when speaking with new or potential clients.
And rightly so.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post ‘7 positive signs indicating you’ve found your ideal copywriter’, it’s important to suss out whether any freelancer is a good fit before you work with them. Not just in terms of values but also work styles – their typical process gives you a glimpse of this.
Not all freelancers have a defined process. And that’s okay. We’re entitled to take the approach that works for us – that’s a key perk of freelancing!
But for this freelancer, defining my process helps me achieve consistency in my personal workflow and how I work with my clients. Now, this process is “loosely” defined and can vary based on the client, type of work and length of project.
Still keen to discover what it’s like to work with me? Keep reading for my 6-step copywriting process.
Step one: Questionnaire
If this is our first time connecting, I’ll probably send you a link to my briefing questionnaire to answer 10 or so background questions about your business, goals and purpose for your content.
The questionnaire asks for information such as:
- Your brand story
- Your business goals and objectives
- A description of your brand voice in a few words (e.g. fun, simple, professional, friendly)
- Writing brief – type of content you require (see the services I offer here), objectives, desired outcomes, timelines
- Your audience – who you’re trying to connect with through your content
This step gives me an idea of whether I have the right skills, experience and time to give you the content or copywriting support you need.
Step two: Discovery
Once you submit the questionnaire, we’ll have a free 15 to 30 minute discovery call to chat further about what you require, how I can help you and agree on the writing brief.
This step helps me get to know your business and goals so that the message aligns with your brand. Because it’s not about my voice, it’s about your voice and establishing a genuine connection with your readers.
During our discovery call, we’ll talk about things like the story behind your business so I can better understand your purpose and make sure that’s evident in your content. We’ll also cover whether you’ve done similar projects in the past, the results, and any work you’ve done so far on the project you’d like me to contribute to. This will help us avoid any rework and build on the work previously done.
Then, depending on the writing service you need (website content/copy, blog writing, case studies, business communications), we’ll get to the more targeted discussion. For example, if we’re chatting about website copy, I’ll ask you questions such as:
- What is the first thing you want your reader to know about you and your business?
- What is the core pain point you help your customers address?
- What are the features and benefits of your solution?
- What action to you want your audience to take when visiting the site?
Step three: Quotation
Based on what I’ve learnt about your business, objectives and content needs, I’ll draw up a quote covering the scope of work, key activities, project timelines and pricing. This also acts as a quasi-contract to align our expectations for the work to be done.
I generally quote fixed fees for project-based and retainer-based work and the total fee quote is determined based on the agreed scope and expected work effort.
As part of this step, I consider your budget as well as mine.
I encourage my clients to read the quote/contract word for word. I know it goes without saying but it’s important for us to remain on the same page. It’s an opportunity before paying the deposit for you to raise any questions or points for clarification. It’s in both our best interests!
Why? Because scope creep is real. I’ve witnessed it many times in my consulting life. It also comes at an additional cost (this woman’s got to earn a living!).
Step four: Deposit invoice
After you approve the quote in writing, I’ll send you a deposit invoice (usually 50% of the fixed fee) for payment before I start work on your project. This allows me to focus on your project rather than getting distracted and worrying about whether I’ll get paid for my efforts.
Step five: Project activities
As part of step three (quotation), I would’ve noted any supporting documents or additional info I need from you to help me write your content. This may include a business plan, brand strategy, tone of voice guide and product/service related documents. I promise to deal with this info in confidence!
Once I receive the information I need from you, I’ll start work on the key activities (also outlined in the quote) to write your content, check-in as needed & send you the draft for feedback. For larger projects, I’ll provide a proposed content plan for your input before writing the first draft.
My work process means that most of the key info will be exchanged during the briefing and discovery stage. This means less meetings are needed. And no meetings means more time in your calendar for the things you need to focus on!
Even so, I work collaboratively with open communication to ensure that your content writing needs are met and will provide you with regular updates by email so we stay on the same page.
Step six: Project completion
After I send the draft content, I’ll give you some time to read through it, gather your thoughts and let me know your feedback. This may involve jumping on a call to talk through it, so nothing is lost in translation. Your quote will generally include one complete round of revisions so it’s best to collate all your feedback before sending it to me.
As the final step, you’ll receive the final content incorporating your feedback, plus a final invoice for payment. If I’m super organised, I might also send a request for feedback on my services so I can continue to grow and improve as a freelance writer.
If you’ve made it this far and are still interested in working with me to help you write content that effectively shares your message – contact me for a no-obligation discovery call.
Oyelola is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. She works closely with entrepreneurs and businesses in financial services, consulting and education, writing quality-rich content to engage their readers and motivate action. When not writing for clients, Oyelola provides insights on writing, wealth and work on her Phrased with Purpose blog and shares her faith journey on her personal blog, He Speaks, I Write.