5 Great questions to ask when discussing your blog brief

There will of course be many more than 5 blog briefing questions that you will be asking your client. This is a blog series looking at the varying aspects surrounding that of writing articles for your clients and the considerations you will come up against.

  • When speaking with your client you are likely to have a discussion which I like to call the brief but you may name it something entirely different. The outcome you are after is the same. In essence this is your opportunity to fully understand what your client is after before commencement of writing your blog.
  • It could be anything within the sphere namely that of copywriting that you are quantifying however I am going to home in on the writing of blogs for this particular series. You may find useful tips relevant to other industries too.

I of course write from the angle of freelance. That being said this will also bear some similarities to that of being an employee in a copywriting role and understanding what it is that your boss is requiring of you.

I have compiled a short list of 5 blog briefing questions for this week and will continue next week with other suggestions. The idea is that you have everything you need before you start typing your blog and you have full knowledge of what your client is after.

Cost and budget is not a point I am going to list here as really it is something that you want to have asked and agreed before the brief. The brief is your opportunity and the clients to get all the finer points and details clarified.

1) Who is your audience? Who am I writing to?

  • You want to know who the target audience is going to be. Your blog is likely going to be on the client’s website and shared on social media. Which channels will it be posted on? Do they already have a blog? Are you being bought on board to raise their online presence and profile?
  • Having a good idea of who you are aiming your blog at is vital in how you will pitch your blog. If they have a readership who is that and if they don’t-who are you aiming at? Likely you are hoping to drive traffic back to their site as well as building a brand online.

2) Tone

  • Fitting quite nicely after audience is the tone. What tone does the client prefer? Knowing your ideal demographic will help you in knowing and possibly recommending the tone. It’s always imperative to check. Make no assumptions. The tone is going to be how you will write your piece. Is it informative, is it witty, is it friendly? Base it on attracting your ideal. Are you talking to your average Joe? Are you talking to professionals of a certain level?
  • Ask your client exactly the style of tone they would prefer. If they’re unsure you can always ask the types of current industry pieces similar to their own that they admire or would share themselves. This will give you a good basis for what they are hoping for from you.

3) Expected quantity. How many words would you like the piece written in?

This will relate to your pricing or certainly should do. Dependent on whether or not you have agreed a package or you are pricing per word or per hour. You will have hopefully had an indication when agreeing price what ball park of wording you should be aiming for.

If not then ensure you are under no illusions how many words you are expected to write. This is confirmation to you that you have priced correctly.

  • Putting aside costing’s you want to know quantity. How many words do you have to portray the point of the client and convey it to their audience? Are you having to take into consideration SEO? Are they planning on a short or long blog article? Depends on your view and understood beliefs, and this has of course changed over the years. Neil Patel’s article on, ‘How long should your blog articles be,’ makes some interesting reading, and valuable insights https://neilpatel.com/blog/long-blog-articles/ .
  • Always check. The message from your client may well be perfectly put in 400 words or it could be well over 1000-2000 words. It’s never good to assume here what they want. However it will of course make a difference to the length of time you need to spend on your piece and how the article is ranked on search engines such as Google. This may be of great importance to your client. Ultimately it is worth asking the question.

You want to be singing from the same hymn sheet.

4) SEO content. Are you hoping to utilise words for SEO?

Is the client requiring for you to be using words for SEO? Again this helps with search engines and for some clients and industries it may be a must. If they have particular words that need to be weaved in to your blog article then you could ask for them to let you know what words should be included.

5) Layout of the piece

  • The layout of the piece helps to sell the message and tell the story. How does the client want the story to be told? How should it be sold to your target audience? Are you detailing down in bullet points no waffle and straight and direct to the point? Or are you gently selling and in doing so are you incorporating a real-life client event that has occurred in order to sell to the prospective or existing consumer?
  • Whatever you agree in your briefing you want to make sure you fully understand their wants and demands. You can back it up in email in thanking them for their time and also let them know your terms and conditions if you have any. Ask questions. No one should mind you clarifying any points.

Remember of course they’re your client and you are writing for them. Do ensure you also protect yourself and the brief matches all that you had previously agreed. This is where I stop for now. There is much to be discussed on this topic. I find smaller chunks is best when digesting information and will divulge more in my next blog to you.

Good Luck!

Do you or your business need help with copywriting?

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You can email me at ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com and you can follow me on Twitter @simplyamberlou or LinkedIn Amber L Smith.

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