How Copywriting Projects Are Initiated
How does a copywriting project hit your desk? If you own your own business, the answer is obvious. If you need a new sales letter, Web page, or presentation written to help promote your products and services, you give the assignment to yourself.
When writing copy for your own business, the toughest part of the job is discipline. There is no one else to crack the whip. You're the boss! You have to motivate yourself to sit down and put pen to paper (or fingers on the keyboard).
If you work at a larger company as a staff writer — or as a sales, marketing, or PR manager — copywriting tasks are typically initiated in one of two ways.
First, the project might be anticipated. You might have known for awhile that you'll be writing copy for an upcoming ad or articles for the next customer newsletter. This gives you a chance to plan ahead and schedule your time accordingly.
Second, copywriting projects can come unexpectedly. The company might have decided at the last minute to participate at a trade show. Suddenly, letters and handouts need to be written — and fast.
If you're a writer at an ad agency, every project seems to be a rush. Even those based on established marketing plans with clients are often done at the last minute, with the entire creative team scrambling and working late. This is part of the agency culture. It's fast paced. You rarely get a chance to catch your breath. It's five o'clock and the account executive comes to your desk and sheepishly asks, “The client needs a new banner ad written. Can you get the copy done by tomorrow at 9
Whether you're a copywriter at an ad agency or a staff writer at a company, the amount of information you receive to begin the project varies widely. You might get a detailed creative brief (explained later in this chapter) describing everything you need to know to write the copy. Welcome to Nirvana! More likely, however, the information you receive will be incomplete and you'll have to fill in the gaps somehow. That's why dogged research is such an important part of the copywriting planning process.