How To Become A Copywriter (Part 4 – Information Gathering)

As a copywriter, information is like vitamins. Just as a lack of vitamins in your body could make you weak and ill, a lack of information could make your sales copy weak, or your clients unhappy.

You need to know as much as you can about the product, and about the people who might buy it; and also about what your client wants and expects from you. You need to have a good “Information Gathering” hat.

(In this article, I’m going to assume you’re writing to sell a product – but most of this will also be true for services, or for achieving some other goal such as more sign-ups to a newsletter.)

Being an Information Gatherer involves asking the right questions of your clients to gather the information you need, and of communicating effectively.

Here is what you’ll need to know in advance from your clients, before you can write any copy for them:

  • What do they want to achieve – i.e. sales, sign-ups, leads, or just publicity – as a result of your services?
  • Who is their target audience? What types of people are most likely to buy it?
  • What is the product? What does it do for the customer? Why would they need or want it?
  • How are your clients planning to promote and sell the product?

It’s up to you how you gather this information, as long as you have it before you start writing the copy. Many copywriters have a form on their website which asks for some or all of this information, along with an offer of a free quote or consultation.

Of course, you can and probably should continue to gather information from your clients along the way, not only about the product and target audience, but also about what they want and expect as clients. This will maximize your chance of them being happy with the end result.

How To Pre-Empt “Conflicts Of Expertise”

Incidentally, sometimes what amounts almost to a “conflict of expertise” might arise, where your client wants something you know is likely to harm their sales process.

The best way of tackling this is to PRE-EMPT IT. I like to educate clients in advance.

For example, someone recently approached me asking for help and ideas for promoting her writing service.

Her site was very nice and professional looking, but it made the same mistake a lot of writing sites make, in that it didn’t really “sell the difference” as I call it. As a potential customer, it told me essentially the same thing as every other writing site, that their writing was “high quality”, “professional” and so on.

Now, I wanted to help, and I had plenty of suggestions I could share with her, but some of them might not be fully appreciated unless she also understood where I was coming from, as it were.

So I asked her first of all to read my latest report, Write To More Money, which would show her all the ways she could “sell the difference” with her writing service.

After she’d read it, I’d be happy to help, because only then would she understand where I was coming from with my ideas and suggestions – and I promised her it would help her earn more from her writing service, or I’d give her the money back.

So a great technique for getting better clients (or clients who are more aligned with your thinking) is to EDUCATE YOUR CLIENTS IN ADVANCE.

For example, in your pre-sales material (such as blog posts, forum posts, articles, videos, free or paid PDF reports) educate them to your way of thinking. Show and demonstrate WHY your way of doing things will help them. This will help you get better clients who are on your “wavelength”, so to speak.

Remember, even though you’re the expert, in some areas your clients might feel they know better. Maybe they do, but if you really believe your way is better, it’s going to make your life so much easier if you’ve helped them to see and understand WHY it is, in advance.

In Part 5 of this series, we’ll look at the Researcher “hat” and find out what that means. If you missed the previous parts, you can read them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

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One comment

  1. Once again Paul, great read and solid truth.

    Just as the lady whom approached you, I too was selling my services in all the wrong ways. Yes, I have been told many times–until it was burned into my mind–to ‘sell the differences.’

    I thought I WAS selling the difference. How wrong I was…

    Before, I would list my qualities. Qualities that I had and the competition did not, qualities that I had and the competition did too, but mine were better; mine were of a higher standard. At least, in my mind I considered them to be of higher standard. It was all wrong…

    When I read your report, ‘Write To More Money’, I started to understand exactly what ‘selling the difference’ was. I was doing it all wrong. I am now re-doing my sales presentation in hopes of bringing in new, higher paying, clients.

    Thank You,
    Joshua Collins

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