Interview With a Copywriter: Why Meeting With Stakeholders Leads to Better Copy

Some of us popped on the scene, pen in hand, ready to turn ideas into scintillating prose-etry. Others hail from more diverse writing backgrounds—screenwriters, journalists, authors, poets.

Regardless, every MarketSmiths begins a live Content Strategy Session, during which we talk to your stakeholders (whether that’s one person or a cast of 10) and develop deeper insight into your business.

We were recently surprised to learn that interviewing clients isn’t necessarily par for the course. Here are some of the reasons it’s so necessary:

1) Objectives. Maybe we think a particular site is to educate readers—and gain them as clients. But it’s really to educate fundraisers, attract staff, please a board of directors—and gain an award. Not everyone wants the same thing from copy or content. Sometimes, presumptions about goals are dead wrong. Other times, executive opinions are divided. We use the opportunity to learn, parse, and acclimate.

2) Nuance. Definitional marketing jargon is finito. Today’s audiences expect more from copy. They’re hankering for some of that human element to move them (plus, they’re suckers for a good story!) Talking with you helps us catch those juicy little bits you may not think to communicate up front.

3) Objections. The interview is a chance for us to dig in deep, and resolve your readers’ every passing question—before they even form. The more details we cull, the less objections they have. It makes your job as a brand ambassador and salesperson far easier…and can impact your topline for the better.

4) Bragging Rights. Success stories and earned accolades can enliven copy—without even making an appearance. Telling your copywriter how, why, and to whom your services have made a difference gives him or her a chance to identify—and bullseye—your real value (yes, even if you think you already know what it is). And we never need name the names, tell the stories, or whisper a trace of it.

5) Voice. Great copywriters are Method writers. We step into your voice—be it cheeky or intense, juicy or deadpan, action-oriented or luxurious. The interview gives us a chance to hear you—and tune our instruments accordingly.

6) Audience. Your target readership isn’t immediately apparent to a copywriter—nor should it be. Even if you, say, target only moms, well, are they urban or suburban moms? Do they spend their time at work, at the mall, or volunteering? The more we hone in on whom we’re targeting, the more we can effectively target them. The conversation helps us climb into their heads to channel yours.

7) Insights. I’ve seen an eye doctor. But I’ve never undergone a procedure. And I certainly wouldn’t launch into the subject of LASIK surgery, um, blindly. Textbook understandings lack functional know-how. Talking to you superimposes your actual expertise onto our capable pens.

Spending time on the phone, Skype, or in person is a win-win-win. Writers have an easier time pinpointing and communicating value. Readers leave with their questions answered—and ready to act. And clients will find themselves effectively marketing—and selling.

Are you a copywriter or client who’s participated in a MarketSmiths Content Strategy Session? Let us know how you think the interview adds value!

 

Janine’s passion for words is rooted in her lifelong study of literature. Following a stint in boutique publishing and a beloved job as a journalist, she discovered an aptitude for marketing that led to SEO work, marketing strategy, and copywriting for (then) startups like FAB.com and major brands like Aeropostale. When Janine found that she could expound on T.S. Eliot, pen a hard-hitting piece on vernal pools, and promote panties with equal éclat, she knew she’d found a calling.

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