What Does a Discovery Process Look Like for a Copywriter?

Though it’s often seen as “just” writing, there’s a lot that goes into copywriting.

Good copywriters are part writer, part marketer and part brand-building machine. They have to know the industry they work in inside and out, or have to spend enough time to do the in-depth research necessary to understand the industry so they can put everything into the proper context.

Given how much copywriters do, you may wonder what all is required to get the content just right.

While there are a few different ways to handle this, here’s a process that really seems to work well:

  • Intake Questionnaire

First things first… you need to know your clients, their industry and exactly what it is that they need. The intake questionnaire should cover every aspect of the job, providing information on the client, the product, service or other items that the copy focuses on and any other details that are necessary to get the job done.

  • “Kickoff” Call

Once the intake questionnaire has been reviewed, it’s time to kick things off and really get to know the client. While some copywriters skip this step, there’s a lot to be said for actually getting in there and talking directly to the client. Not only does it help to build a bond between you and the client, but it lets you review the questionnaire in real time and get any questions you might have answered.

  • Industry Review

This is where the hard part begins. To better craft the client’s copy, you need to learn as much about the client’s industry as possible. This involves a lot of reading and study, especially if the client only operates within a single niche of the industry. Learning enough about the industry to understand the context and references is essential to writing copy that doesn’t stick out as insincere or uninformed.

  • Researching the Competition

This is another big part of the job… researching the competition. This not only gives you an idea of how crowded the market is, but it also lets you see firsthand what your copy is going to be up against. Learn what you can about the competition, review their marketing efforts and then use that knowledge to build something even better.

  • What’s Hot and What’s Not

If you really want to get the most traction out of your copy, you need to know which associations will work for you and which won’t. Some industry trends may be trending for all of the wrong reasons, so take the time to learn what’s currently hot in the industry and what’s simply getting buzz because it’s all falling apart. The more effort you put into understanding trends in the industry, the more effective the final copy will be.

  • Bringing It All Together

Even with all of this work, there’s still more to do. This doesn’t take into account the added research that’s done to fill in gaps in the knowledgebase, the writing and rewriting that goes into initial drafts of copy or the ongoing learning that occurs when maintaining client relationships or seeking out new clients in the industry. It’s a lot of work, but the extra effort now ensures amazing client copy later so it’s all worth it.