I’ve never worked with a copywriter before. I don’t know what to expect. What’s the process?

It can be a bit daunting signing up to work with someone new. Some of the questions you might have are:

  • How does the copywriting process work?
  • What will the copywriter ask me to do?
  • How long will it take to write my copy?
  • Do I get to have any input into the copywriting process?

Every copywriter is different, but here’s my process so you know what to expect.

Here’s how my copywriting process works

When you sign up for a job with me, I’ll lead you through a thorough process including 2 rounds of revisions – plus a bonus ‘skeleton draft’. Here are the steps to get from initial contact to final copy.

Step 1 – initial contact

You make contact me with me usually by email or my contact form, expressing interest. I’ll send you a ballpark figure based on your job type (eg blog or article, website copy, brochure copy) and a list of questions I need answered to be able to give you a firm quote. This will include details like:

  • How many pages do you need written?
  • Do I need to do research or will you provide me with sufficient detail?
  • What’s your timeframe?
  • Will SEO keywords be supplied or do you want me to do keyword research?

If you prefer to chat about the questions over the phone or a video call, I’m happy to arrange a time.

Step 2 – quoting and information gathering

I provide you with a detailed quote based on your answers. If you want to go ahead, I’ll send you an invoice for a 50% deposit up front (small jobs are 100% upfront) along with a questionnaire to ask more about the nuances of the project. This information will help me provide the best copy I can for your job.

I’ll want to know things such as:

  • What makes you and your business unique?
  • Who is your target market?
  • What do you want your customers to do after reading the copy? (eg phone you for a free quote, sign up for your mailing list etc)

Once you’ve paid the 50% deposit and I have your brief (questionnaire) back, it’s my turn to start work.

Step 3 – skeleton draft

After pulling together information from provided materials and the brief, and researching any gaps, I’ll send you a ‘skeleton draft’. This sets out bullet points of facts to be included on all pages or sections. I’ll also write a sample paragraph to make sure I have the tone of voice you want me to use.

I send that to you for you to add in any extra points you need me to cover, remove anything that’s not relevant etc. I may also include questions I need you to answer where I need to further understand your business or product. You’ll use Microsoft Word’s Track Changes so I can see what additions, deletions you’ve made. If you don’t know how to use it, that’s okay – I’ll send you a quick video showing you how.

Step 4 – 1st draft

When you send me your changes back, I’ll get stuck into writing the 1st draft based on the bullet points. When I send this draft back to you, it’ll be about 80% complete. There may still be a few questions I need you to answer, and it won’t sound as polished as the final version will be. There may even be – *gasp* – a few typos!

This is your chance to give me feedback on whether it all makes sense and everything is there. It’s your last chance for moderate revisions. (If major revisions are needed, the proposal may need requoting).

Once I send you your 1st draft, I’ll invoice you for the balance of the project (the remaining 50%) to be paid within 14 days.

Step 5 – 2nd draft

My 2nd draft should be just about the document’s final form– all of the information gaps should be filled and the tone should be right. It’s getting more polished and is pretty much the final version. You’ll have the chance to make minor revisions only – this is the last chance for any changes.

Step 6 – completed copy

After you’ve approved the 2nd draft, I do my final polish, have it proofread by an external party (at my cost) and send it to you. Once you pay the final invoice, copyright of the copy will revert to you, and you can do what you want with the words.

As you can see, it’s a thorough process to make sure the copy is what you need. I’ll guide you through the steps, setting out a timetable so we stay on track.

How long will the copywriting process take?

Writing the copy is a relatively quick task once I have all of the information. The majority of the time lag in the process is the back-and-forth for input and approval. So while I’ll do my best to fit in with your timeline, the overall time taken will depend how quickly you can respond. And if that blows out, other projects may slip into the schedule instead. So it’s important that you set aside time to be able to give me feedback promptly.

To give an indication however, I usually quote 2 weeks for a 5 page website copy.

If I can help you with any copywriting projects, I’d love to hear from you.