How to write the perfect copywriting brief

How to create the perfect copywriting brief template

Do you have a blog post, homepage content or a series of product descriptions you need writing? Before your freelance writer can put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard – you’re going to need to create a brief. Thankfully, we’ve put together some simple tips on how to write the perfect copywriting brief.

What is a good copywriting brief?

In a nutshell, a good brief tells your writer everything they need to know about:

• Your company
• Your product or service
• Your audience and how you talk to them
• What you need producing

Signs of a good copywriting brief are:

• Lots of detail
• Examples, such as links to your website or product photos
• The agreement of certain contractual aspects

The benefits of a good copywriting brief

Some freelance writers charge by the hour, others by each round of amends, so it saves you money (and time) if you can get your finished piece spot on the first time around. That’s where the perfect copywriting brief comes in.

As copywriter Emma Cownley states, “Even if not all the information ends up in the final piece, the more we know, the better our creative response will be.”

How to write the perfect copywriting brief template
Ken Teegardin (

In essence: when your writer knows exactly what you want to communicate to your reader, they’re well equipped to provide you with the content that engages, informs and above all converts.

Ultimately, according to Forbes, “the test of a good creative brief: if the editor, client, or company leader looks at the finished piece and says, ‘This is exactly what we wanted!’ the creative brief is a smashing success.”

Tips and template for a perfect copywriting brief

If you came here looking for a copywriting brief template, you’re in luck. Below we speed through what to include in your freelance writing brief:

Project detail

Type of content

First things first, tell the writer what you want to be written. Is it an article, a blog post, a piece of web content, or a bunch of product or category page descriptions for your e-commerce site?


You may have a strict 500-word limit or be willing to let a copywriter run with it. Always state whether this will impact payment.


Now, what is it about? Perhaps the subject is fashion if you need to promote your new range of womenswear, or health if you want to add insight to a medical surgery blog. If you need a piece of content to pitch higher than general readership, mention if you’d prefer a copywriter with industry-specific knowledge.

Project context

Is this part of a larger project – have you already produced similar content in-house or using other writers? Your writer won’t know, so state how this copywriting job fits into your overall content marketing campaign and provide examples where necessary. Also, don’t forget to tell them where this piece of content will appear.

Company information

Getting your company ethos and tone of voice right comes down to the writer understanding as much as they can about you. Let them know if you’re a start-up, if you’re rebranding in a particular area or if you have a niche. How do you communicate with your customers? Are you humorous, personal and friendly, or professional and formal?


Any information you can supply about your customer demographic will help. This includes data you’ve pulled or customer profiles you might have produced as part of your business or marketing plan.

Call to action

Don’t forget the reason you want a piece of content written! Should the call to action be to link to your contact page, push customers towards taking advantage of an offer, or sign up to your newsletter?


In the age of Google, search engine optimisation (SEO) can be the difference between making it onto page one and being lost to the recesses of the internet. Let the writer know what search terms (including any localisation or variables) you want to be included, such as ‘plumbers in Croydon’.

How to write the perfect copywriting brief template
Global Panorama (Flickr)


Be aware, not all freelance copywriters offer a service for providing images of other multimedia content. Include details about what kind of image as well as quality, size and orientation you’re looking for.

The task

Here you can flesh out your concept. If you want a writer to plug a certain event, you need to provide them with the information or links to sources that can help them. Got a specific layout you want? Provide a style guide for them to follow.

Additional information

This is where you can get really specific. Any phrases you think sound awful and really don’t want your copywriter to use? Mention them here. You could also detail required formatting such as HTML, or the number of words or characters in a section (relevant if you need a meta description writing or have limited space). What about where you wish keywords to appear and keyword density? Should they include any external links?

Contractual agreements


This is the bit most copywriters are interested in: how much does this project pay? They will also want to know how they will be paid and when.


State the time frame you need the work to be delivered by. You also need to agree with the copywriter what the situation will be regarding amends. Will you be entitled to any ‘free’ edits? Will you pay more per amend?

Signing off

All contracts need to be signed off. Include the following at the end of your brief:

• Date of writing the brief
• Name and signature of hiring company/client
• Name and signature of copywriter
• Date of agreement

How to write the perfect copywriting brief template
Perzon SEO (

Who will supply the brief?

If you’re approaching a freelance copywriter, you may find they already have a copywriting brief template on their website for you to download and fill in. However, not all copywriters are prepared for this and you may need to produce your own. That’s not to say you should jump in at the deep end with a super detailed brief. Start with a speculative email and see if the writer is interested in your project before you commit to getting the details down on paper.

Doesn’t writing a copywriting brief take too much time?

When you need some content writing, you’re always going to need to provide a writer with a copywriting brief. It’s the only way to ensure you receive the end product you need while safeguarding both yourself and the writer in the process.

Australian marketing analytics company Digital Balance states that you should “make it your goal to put as much effort into writing your brief as you expect to get back from your writer.”

At the same time, use your judgement. Copywriter Liz Ernst writes about the fine line between providing enough detail to help your copywriter and writing so much that you overburden your writer – and yourself in the process. Your brief should be comprehensive but streamlined; remember, you’re hiring a writer to make your life easier, so don’t fall into the trap of practically creating the content yourself!

Of course, one way to get around the pitfalls of sourcing a freelance copywriter and having to remember all of the above is to use a copywriting agency with a set copywriting brief that you can customise. This can save you time, money and a lot of hassle.


Image credit: Perzon SEO ‘business office morning coffee’

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Work life balance tips for freelance copywriters

Work/life balance tips for freelance copywriters

In 2016 there were 2 million freelancers working in the UK – a rise of 43% during the previous eight years. But whether you’re a freelance copywriter, you work from home or you balance paid work with freelancing, trying to keep your personal and professional lives separate without the traditional office boundaries can be a challenge.

However, there are plenty of easy ways to prevent your career having a negative impact on your private life as well as your health and mental well-being, from switching up your environment to investing in a business phone number. Below we offer some work/life balance tips for freelance copywriters:

1. Manage your time

It sounds obvious but it’s one of the most difficult aspects of freelancing to master. In fact, many people in employment believe they lack the willpower to work for themselves. But whether you’re a chronic procrastinator or you tend to take on too much work, drawing up a schedule is crucial so that you don’t end up spending more time than necessary on a task.

The beauty of being a freelance content writer is that you can choose to work at a time that suits you. However, too much freedom can be a bad thing. Define the parameters of your working day and don’t overstep them. Task management platforms like Trello and DropTask are invaluable if you have to juggle a lot of jobs or crave structure. Or a simple calendar can do the trick.

If you know you tend to spend far longer than you should, ensure you set strict time limits and don’t be tempted to overstretch yourself. You might even find it helps to work on one job in the morning and another in the afternoon so that you can make steady gains while keeping your mind fresh.

2. Shake up your environment

For some, working from the confines of the home could be a recipe for going stir crazy. It’s best to try and have a designated office space, even if it’s just the corner of your living room so that you can leave it and mentally switch off when you’ve finished working.

Finding the home too distracting? Try taking your laptop to a quiet café or find a nearby coworking space. If you live in a remote area, make an effort to take a short walk or go out and grab lunch to give your mind some respite and help break up the day.

3. Keep your personal time personal

Don’t run the risk of letting your freelancing bleed into your personal life. The best way to do this is to make plans with friends and family – and stick to them! If you plan to meet your best friend in the pub, have tickets for a show or you’ve committed to a weekly exercise class, you’ll feel better knowing you have something to look forward to and for having some time away from the desk. Make sure you also schedule time for yourself, whether to work on a personal project or hobby, or simply relax with a good book.

4. Use your time well

Being a freelancer means accepting that workload ebbs and flows. Get into the habit of being smart with your time, capitalising on any fallow periods by catching up on accounts and invoices, and writing and scheduling your own blog and social media posts with a tool like Hootsuite. This means you won’t feel the need to let it encroach on your free time when you’re suddenly inundated with work. Employing an accountant or investing in accounting software is also a useful way to save yourself some time when it comes to completing your end of year tax return.

Perzon SEO 'Business woman working on laptop in her office'
Perzon SEO (Flickr)

When you’re going through a busy period, prioritise your jobs by deadline but aim to make a start on new jobs as soon as you can. Even if you that just means doing some preliminary research or getting some ideas down – it will help you feel better that you’ve made some headway when you finally get round to it and will give you chance to clarify any parts of the brief you’re not sure about before it’s too late. Also, just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean you can’t have some of the perks. Grab an early finish when you can – it will do wonders for your self-esteem!

5. Know your limits

Be realistic about how long it will take you to complete a job and be upfront with your client if you can’t complete it to deadline – or at all. It can be tempting to say yes to every job that comes your way, but you’ll only end up working longer hours which will have a knock-on effect on your personal relationships and even your health. Ultimately, you could find yourself out of work for longer if you’re beset with stress or exhaustion. Some projects might have to fall by the wayside but the client will appreciate your honesty and may even be willing to extend the deadline.

6. Make time to log out

In the gig economy, it can be tempting to stay chained to your smartphone or laptop, retweeting social media posts, checking stats, networking and hustling for work. But all of this can contribute to unnecessary strain, leaving you feeling exhausted. Make time to disconnect from the internet and your tech for at least a few hours on an evening and at weekends. Planning regular holidays or a few days away can also help refresh what may sometimes feel like a monotonous day-to-day cycle.

7. Separate your devices

If possible, buy a separate computer for personal use. This means when you’ve finished working you can put your computer to bed and won’t be reminded of what you’ve been working on, be tempted to tweak that blog post or fire off an email.

8. Get a business number

Having a separate computer might be a choice, but having a work number really isn’t. For starters, having a dedicated business number from an app like Another Number means you can choose to receive calls during your designated ‘office hours’ so that you can spend more quality time with friends and family.

Marco Verch - 'Windows Phone'
Marco Verch (Flickr)

What’s more, you can use it on your website or online business listings without compromising the privacy of your personal phone line so that you needn’t worry about nuisance calls when you’re relaxing. Just as crucial, having a work number helps manage client expectations by letting them know that just because you’re a freelancer doesn’t mean you can take their calls at all hours of the day.

The app allows you to have a second mobile number on your smartphone without the need for another contract or sim. It means you can continue to provide a professional service without having to carry a second phone around. Another Number also has custom ‘do not disturb’ and auto-reply messages features. Plus, when you receive a call, you know before you even pick it up whether it will be personal or business related, allowing you to take it somewhere more private if necessary.

Being a freelance copywriter doesn’t mean you need to become a victim of burnout. Get more tips to improve your work/life balance or advice on how to become a copywriter.


Image credit: Leticia Chamorro, ‘Time’

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How to measure content marketing success

How to measure content marketing success

If you want to use content marketing to get your business website found online and convert that traffic into customers, you need to know how to measure content marketing success. But how exactly can you find out whether or not your web content strategy is actually having the reach you expected and providing an adequate return on investment (ROI)?

The truth is that content marketing takes time, effort and money, whether you turn to a copywriting agency or in-house staff to produce your content, or even choose to write it yourself. While online marketing often enables you to gain more tangible and useful data than offline marketing, it’s unrealistic to expect immediate success with the click of your fingers. That’s why an analysis of your content marketing strategy should take place over a period of time.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can measure the reach of your content marketing through different avenues, analyse this to work out your ROI, as well as how to ensure success going forward.

Monitoring the reach of your content marketing strategy

1. Web analytics

To begin with, one of the most helpful ways of monitoring the impact of your website’s content is with an analytics platform like Google Analytics or your website and/or blog host’s inbuilt metrics. Here, you can view data such as the number of page views, the length of time visitors spend on your site, the crawl rate, the bounce rate and the inbound links visitors clicked on, as well as visitor demographics.

'Digital Britain Final Analytics' - Joss Winn
‘Digital Britain Final Analytics’ – Joss Winn (Flickr)

Conversion rates should be another key point of focus. You aim is to secure loyal visitors by feeding them through the sales funnel. That means engaging them, seeing what they respond to, and making necessary adjustments to your web content or layout based on your findings.

2. Search engine ranking

SEO plays a large part in content marketing; however, it can take months for you to see success from your efforts. Therefore, monitoring SEO campaigns over a period of weeks and months is crucial when it comes to the success of your website or blog content. Ways of measuring your SEO strategy include:

  • Search engine results page (SERPs) ranking
  • The number of organic visits to your website
  • Which of your pages are more popular and reviewing/comparing the use of your keywords and content
  • The customer journey through your website and whether they cross over to other platforms (e.g. your social media pages, blog, etc)
  • Conversions (newsletter signups, purchases, eBook downloads…)

There are numerous tools you can use online that can help you pull data on the success of your web content, including SEM Rush. You can also find out what content is performing well across the internet (and on which platforms) using a tool like Buzzsumo, which can influence the topics you discuss on your blog or social media as well as show you how many backlinks you have secured.

When working out the ROI of your SEO campaign, you will need to analyse the success between natural SEO against a paid strategy such as PPC (pay per click advertising), for example. You will need to work out the sales growth and subtract any marketing costs, in order to analyse whether paid content marketing has been a successful investment.

Having unique, keyword-rich web content is important to drive up your organic search results and ensure you are not penalised by Google for having poor-quality content on your site. Hiring content writers who specialise in creating effective, on-brand and targeted copy is an ideal way to do this.

3. Social media metrics

Another useful way of monitoring your digital content strategy is through analysing social media metrics. Most social media platforms come with some analytics options so that you can gauge:

  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Buzz
  • Participation
  • Transaction
  • Advocacy

This enables you to monitor the success of your posts, videos, photos and infographics on social media and helps you see whether you need to change your tactics to achieve higher results.

'Social Media & Marketing' - Rosaura Ochoa
‘Social Media & Marketing’ – Rosaura Ochoa (Flickr)

Some social media platforms also offer more in-depth analytical tools, such as Twitter analytics and Facebook business pages which provide post stats and insights into customer demographics, as well ways to boost your posts further by paying for a wider exposure/audience imprints. If you use this option, monitoring your ROI through the available insights into post reach will be crucial. You’ll need to subtract the amount you spent from the monetary value of imprints. Again, tools such as Buzzsumo are another way to monitor your social footprint and see which posts have performed well.

4. Feedback

Qualitative data is just as important as quantitative data when it comes to measuring your content’s impact – perhaps even more so. The way in which your visitors engage with your business online through comments on your blog, social media or review sites allows you to understand how your content is coming across to new visitors and potential clients. It also allows you to step into the conversation and build relationships which are vital for a strong online presence and credibility amongst your online audience.

View negative comments in a positive light so you can change up your strategies to aim more towards your target audience. By treating any type of comment as a positive, you can make the necessary amendments to your website to gain more visitors. However, you should ensure you have a moderator who can check comments over before publishing them, in case they contain offensive, potentially harmful or spam content which, if left unchecked, could put readers off, cause damage to your brand’s reputation and eventually even impact your ROI.

5. Subscribers

If you have a video channel or blog, one way to keep a check on your success would be to see how many subscribers you are gaining on a regular basis. Building a loyal following is a good way of getting return visits to your page, with each new content piece you create. If you notice that you aren’t gaining as many subscribers as you were previously, it may be that your content just isn’t cutting it or you have new competition.

You will need to look into aspects such as the quality of your posts, the subject you are discussing or the in-depth value that visitors are looking for. Compare your most recent posts to previous posts and try and work out where the problem may be.

You can also monitor how many people subscribe to your newsletter. Use A/B testing and regularly switch up the content on your newsletter subscription page and inbound links through social media to monitor over time the content which most effectively results in signups.

6. Email statistics

One of the oldest forms of marketing is sending email newsletters to existing clients or new website visitors. One way to monitor how well your emails marketing strategies are doing would be to monitor metrics such as:

  • The number of emails opened
  • The number of emails clicked on internally
  • Conversions
  • Sender score

Through monitoring the top scores, you can use these figures to change your email marketing strategies to gain a higher success rate of sales. Use A/B testing in subject lines to see which content is more inviting to recipients. You can also do this with the time of day you send your email to see whether this has an impact on your open rate.

If you present new products or offers to your audience through emails, ensure you take these leads into account when working out your ROI. It can also help to compare how much your subscribers spend compared to those who don’t subscribe.

Do I need to measure my content marketing return on investment (ROI)?

Measuring ROI in marketing is an essential part of monitoring your success as a business. Essentially, it entails offsetting the money you have paid out on the necessary marketing strategies against revenue from these campaigns. Expenses refer to the costs of hiring marketing staff, the money put into an SEO or PPC campaign/agency, and the money invested if you hire a copywriter.

'Money' - Pictures of Money (Flickr)
‘Money’ – Pictures of Money (Flickr)

Your revenue will chiefly be in the form of sales. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge there is more than one kind of return for your efforts. While monetary value is key, so is building a position as an authority in your field, inspiring discussion and attracting/connecting with new customers – all of which may not yield immediate monetary gain but will help you benefit from customer loyalty (and ultimately sales) in the long term.

Doing this for each aspect of your strategy will show you where you are most successful. You can compare this ROI against offline marketing to gain a perspective of how successful it is for your company as a whole; however, since results from digital marketing take time to accrue, it’s important not to make any hasty conclusions.

Want to find out more about monitoring your success? Check out this helpful guide to measuring return on investment for all you need to know.

Actioning changes to improve content marketing success

Now you know how to measure content marketing success, how can you improve your content marketing strategy to maximise reach?

1. Awareness

You should keep a lookout for recent trends in your industry and amongst your target audience. This doesn’t just mean an awareness of the amount of web traffic, followers and search engine rankings but new social media platforms your customers or clients are using, what they are passionate about and how they choose to interact with businesses or organisations online.

For example, a recent survey found that over 15 million consumers turn to social media as the first point of call to find out about products and services and review the company on whether they are reliable. If your content marketing strategy is neglecting social media, you may be missing a trick when it comes to attracting new leads.

You’ll need to decide on your goals, which may include creating brand awareness, building relationships, generating leads and making those clients then take action (for example, signing up to receive a newsletter or purchasing a product). Try not to focus on too many goals at once but narrow them down so you have a better focus on how to monitor your content success.

2. Consideration

Next, you should use this awareness to consider taking new steps. Your motivation should be to allow users to engage with your content, therefore constantly reviewing and adapting your strategies. Your main goals within these sectors should focus on reach, engagement and conversion.


Your main aim should be to reach out to as many visitors, customers, followers and subscribers as possible, through non-paid and/or paid reach such as PPC. Buying your reach, whether through search engines or social media, should not be your sole emphasis. This is because long-term sustainability is developed through a loyal audience, and that relies on having great content that engages and inspires. However, your content strategy can be bolstered by paid advertising such as Google AdWords to get your great content seen by more people initially.


Once your visitors arrive on your site, you need to impress them in order for them to engage with your landing page content. Therefore, create content which is unique, timely, informative and relevant to your audience and which will keep them returning to your site. Think: tutorials and guides, news pieces, competitions, regular updates, videos, infographics…


Finally, you should aim to fulfil conversion. Conversion aims to turn the acknowledgement of engagement into action; for example, taking out a subscription, using a coupon code, or another form of action which entices visitors to make a move. With a clear call to action on your landing pages (such as a ‘buy now’ or ‘sign up’ button) you can monitor the success of your content.

3. Getting the balance

Although it seems like a great idea to use as many forms of reach and engagement as possible, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin and risk neglecting content (and customers) in one particular area. Find out which is your strongest marketing avenue while striking the right balance to attract new customers on key platforms across the web, so you focus on building a sustainable and far-reaching customer base which helps you monitor the success of your efforts.

Crucially, ensure you know how to write great web content which is regularly refreshed and reviewed, or hire a professional copywriter who does. Once you’ve built up a cohesive web content marketing strategy, measuring its success using the techniques above is essential to understanding your position online and is the key to strengthening your marketing and outreach.


Image credit: Trevor King, ‘Measuring Up’

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