By Kelly Koepke
When you hire someone to write content, develop a website or take photos for you, you want the relationship to go smoothly. You want an excellent product. The professional you hire wants to deliver what you want for the project so that you’ll hire them again — and recommend them to others. But there are some questions you need to be prepared to answer. Because without the answers to these questions, your creative professional won’t be able to develop the captivating and compelling content, website, graphics or photographs you want.
1. Who is your ideal client? This may seem like a no-brainer question, but I’m constantly surprised by how often a client can’t answer. So, think about who you want to attract to your business. Identify their demographic AND their lifestyle — where they live, what they like and dislike, what they spend their money on, etc.
2. What is the biggest issue facing your prospective or established client? What’s the problem that you have the solution for? Keep in mind that people buy for one of two reasons: a) to gain something they do not have or b) to avoid losing something they now possess.
3. What is your solution to their problem? How does what you offer — your product or service — help them gain something or prevent them from losing something? What makes your solution so special that your client wants only what YOU have to offer? This is the why should someone buy from YOU question. A copywriter/content creator needs to know this!
4. What is the single strongest benefit of your product/service? This one benefit drives the greatest selling power. It is money or time savings? It is peace of mind? Something else?
5. What are the additional benefits? Features are not the same as benefits. If you have a list of features, take a closer look and convert them into benefits. For instance, a hybrid car uses less gas. That’s the feature. The benefit is you save money and reduce your impact on the environment because a hybrid goes farther on less gas.
6. Whether it’s a sales page, website or direct mail package, what is the objective for the project? The purpose — lead generation, increased sales, more traffic or building your brand — dictates content, length and design. The method of delivery — an email campaign, a website, an article in a business publication, etc. — also figures heavily into how you present the information.
7. What’s your style or voice? Do you want the message delivered in a humorous way? Formally? In a cheeky or straightforward tone? Do you have words you always include or exclude in your messages, either by regulation or out of sensitivity to your audience? YOU are the expert, so if there are hot button words — positive or negative — you’ve got to share them up front!
So answer these seven questions to make your work with any creative professional — writer, web developer, graphics creator or photographer — go more smoothly. Your answers also will clarify the intent and purpose of any communication.
Kelly Koepke, a freelance writer/content creator with over 20 years’ experience, helps her clients communicate with customers and the media via blogs, website copy, newsletters, press releases and ghost written articles, among other business communication.