In the world of copywriting, there is nothing more important than THE brief!
Clients will fight you over needing to fill out a brief.
Clients will get confused or have difficulty answering the questions.
Clients will believe the brief to be a waste of time.
(a copywriting client once told me, that if they need to take the time to fill out the brief, they might as well do the work themselves! My answer was: I am many things, but a mind reader is unfortunately not one of them)
All seasoned copywriters know and most new copywriters soon find out, that a good project requires a good brief. It is simple project management.
Over the years, I’ve written, revised, and adapted my copywriting questionnaire to get maximum output and all the information I need about a company or business.
The winning combo is short, precise, and professional.
If you work on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, then the brief/questionnaire part of structuring gigs is vital!
It works a bit differently but the premise is the same.
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Why do I need a copywriting questionnaire?
As a contractor or freelancer, the questionnaire is your chance to get all the information you need about the business you are going to be writing about.
It also serves as a guide to the work you will be doing, the project scope, and the resources available.
You can’t start writing without those answers!!
What should copywriters ask their clients?
Overall it should cover:
misc depending on the project
Depending on the copywriting project, I have a long list of questions that get added or removed.
I personally tweak it based on whether I will write for a website, an email sequence, or a feature article.
While not all questions will be relevant to all scenarios, you may use this as a guide to what needs to be included in your future briefs.
The questions below will apply to most clients and all businesses, whether you are doing a small one-off project for social media copy, or are working on a massive email sequence.
The Copywriting questionnaire
General information copywriting questionnaire – Understanding the Client’s Business and Goals
What is the core purpose of your business or organization? What inspired its creation?
Who is your target audience? Can you provide demographic information, such as age range, location, interests, and preferences?
What unique qualities or values does your brand bring to the market? How do you want your brand to be perceived by customers?
What are your short-term and long-term business goals? Are there any specific objectives you wish to achieve through this project?
What is the desired outcome or action you want your audience to take after engaging with our copy? (e.g., make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, request more information)
Do you have any specific keywords or phrases you would like us to incorporate into the copy for SEO purposes?
Target Audience and Objectives
Describe your ideal client/customer in detail.
How do your customers typically engage with your brand? (e.g., website, in-store, mobile app)
Are there any specific challenges or pain points your customers face that our copy should address?
What other information have you collected from previous customer interactions (this could be through surveys, interviews, additional data, current content, a course).
Branding and Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What is your primary value proposition? Why should someone pick you?
What are the primary emotional benefits (aka) the how a customer feels?
What specific products, services, or promotions do you want us to focus on? Are there any key features or benefits we should highlight?
Are there any specific calls to action (CTAs) or brand-specific language we should include?
Competitor analysis section
Are there any competitors in your industry whose messaging you admire? What sets them apart, and how would you like us to differentiate your brand?
Do you have any competitors whose style or tone you would like to differentiate from?
Brand guidelines section
Do you have an existing brand voice or tone? Do you have any existing brand guidelines, style guides, or key messaging documents we should be aware of? Mention anything to include or avoid.
Are there any legal or compliance considerations we should be aware of? (e.g., disclaimers, data protection regulations)
Do you have any preferences regarding the length of the copy? Are there any word count limitations or guidelines we should adhere to?
Do you have any existing design assets that should be incorporated into the copy?
Will the copy be translated into other languages or adapted for different regions?
Are there any specific testimonials or case studies to incorporate?
Are there any potential upselling opportunities or additional services to consider?
Will the copy be used for online platforms, print materials, or both?
Is a non-disclosure agreement required for the project?
What are the terms and conditions of the NDA?
What is the feedback process from your side and how many people will edit or review my work? Download a free version of the copywriting questionnaire
👋 Download a free version of the copywriting questionnaire 👋
⬇️Click below to access a live editable Google Doc link with the copywriting questionnaire and instructions.
📝 Don’t forget to make a copy of the document after opening it, so you can modify it.
Copywriting Questionnaire for Fiverr or Upwork
From my experience, working on platforms poses an additional challenge when creating the copywriting questionnaire.
**On Fiverr you will find it mentioned as “gig requirements” but it is exactly the same concept.
There is often no opportunity to jump on a call with a client, communication can be sporadic and you need something a lot shorter.
There are a couple of reasons for that:
platform clients are often one-off clients with small projects
platform clients are more likely to be less knowledgeable on how marketing projects flow and the process required for good copy in general.
the budget of the company or business hiring you as their copywriter can be smaller
even if you ask the right questions they don’t often have the right answers
there is not a lot of research which means no answers on the primary value proposition or the target audience
competition analysis is untapped
Things to keep in mind when writing a copywriting questionnaire for Fiverr
On Fiverr, most of the deliverables are already agreed upon when a client purchases an order.
That means questions regarding revisions, deadlines, budget, feedback, and length are already covered.
Fiverr calls the brief, “buyer requirements”.
This is essentially a list of questions, that sellers create from scratch that includes instructions and criteria needed to complete a project.
The buyer requirements section can be a very powerful tool for upselling, managing expectations, and educating the buyer about the process.
How to work with a client that struggles with the copywriting questionnaire?
This is one aspect of the job that is not often talked about and is particularly relevant to new freelance copywriters and those that advertise their skills on platforms.
Here are a few strategies to navigate this situation and help a client who may be less knowledgeable about their primary value proposition or target audience:
Simplify the language
Great copywriting starts before you write for the client. Your ability to explain in simple terms what you need from them is the start. Remember that not every client will know complex marketing terms.
You might come across a client or business at the very very very start of their journey with no website, no case studies, and no established audience. Only you can decide whether that is a project or client that is worth your time, but you should be prepared nevertheless.
If you get the sense that a client is struggling with the copywriting questionnaire, take the time and offer assistance and further clarification. Make sure to explain why you need this type of information and why it is relevant to writing great content.
Include a discovery session in your project
Schedule one-on-one sessions with the client to delve deeper into their business and customers. This allows you to ask the right questions and gather the necessary information in a more conversational and interactive manner.
It also gives the client an opportunity to describe their thoughts and ideas verbally, which may be easier for them than filling out a written questionnaire.
Offer strategy and research services as an add on
If the client lacks clarity on their primary value proposition or target audience, you can offer to do this aspect of the work first. Explore their industry, success stories, competitors, and target market to identify potential differentiators and customer profiles. Present your findings to the client as a starting point for discussion and feedback.
Not every copywriting client will see the value in this and that’s ok. You can either communicate that the questionnaire includes non-negotiable information needed to proceed, or take the risk and write the article or copy without all the information.
Collaborate and Educate
Sometimes it is important to take on the role of a collaborator and educator. Offer insights and guidance based on your copywriting expertise and marketing knowledge. Share examples from successful campaigns or a project that will help the client understand the importance of having a clear scope, idea, and data.
Provide Questionnaire Alternatives:
I have let some clients get away with a semi-written semi-interview-style brief. Others will provide a short Loom video where they discuss the project and provide answers. With a Loom video, they can also bring up sections from their website or competitors’ websites.
If a client is still struggling with the questionnaire format, offer alternative methods of gathering information. This could include conducting interviews, organizing focus groups, or sending them a questionnaire with multiple-choice options that they can select from.
More tips on how to develop a copywriting questionnaire
- Understand that not every client will have a strong marketing background or a clear understanding of their business’s unique value proposition.
- Approach the situation with patience, empathy, and a willingness to guide them through the process.
- Remember that your role as a copywriter is to assist and support them in finding their brand voice.
- Good copywriters create their own copywriting questionnaire after years of trial and error. Start with a template and tweak it as needed.
- Embrace tools that make your life easier like Loom.
- Don’t expect every client to have a website!
Any tips on writing the best copywriting questionnaire? Share below!
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