We copywriters and all our fellow creatives place heavy emphasis on asking the client to provide a comprehensive brief with as much detail and colour as possible.
Naturally, we want to get things right. Investing in the briefing processes closes down the chances of a project starting out on the wrong footing. So, at ProseWorks we have our own briefing process which we ask all clients to follow.
However, this only works if the client actually knows what they want …
And often they don’t.
First drafts crystallise
This means that sometimes our experience must come into play. We produce a first draft based on what we know has worked for similar clients and similar projects.
Again, experience has taught us that even if that first suggestion is not for them, the process of reading and responding to what they don’t want helps them crystallise their ideas and vision.
Once it’s there in black and white (or any other colour in the Word palette) they are in a much better position to react, judge, comment and generally feel confident about what they need.
So, stamp firmly on any sense of exasperation or impatience with a vaguely sketched assignment. A client who finds the briefing process a little abstract and intimidating (and how are they supposed to know if they want a 3,000 or 5,000 word report?) may well need a little help to work out exactly what product they want or what their message is.
Dedication to helping others communicate better is, after all, pretty much the definition of a copywriter’s mission.