Questions I ask my clients before I start copywriting | Simply Marcia


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Questions I ask my clients before I start copywriting

Having written copy for many years now, I know that the key to copywriting success comes down to finding out and understanding as much as possible about a client’s business, their product or service, their customers and competition.

My fail safe way of doing this (beside my own research), and covering everything needed to get started involves an in-depth client brief –
based on a number of key questions. So before writing a word, these are the questions I ask my clients:

BACKGROUND
Tell me about your business. What’s the story / background?
What do your produce / what service do you offer?
What do you like most about your product or service?
What’s the main objective(s) for this project? What are you looking to achieve?

TARGET AUDIENCE
Who is the target audience? Tell me about this audience and what their needs are.
Who is your ideal customer? Tell me about them.
How can your product or service help solve a problem for your audience?
What’s the main call to action? What do you want your audience to do?
Do you have testimonials?

PRODUCT / SERVICE
Describe your product or service. What’s your USP?
What are the key benefits of your product or service?
What are the key features of your product or service?
Tell me about pricing.

COMPETITION
Who are your main competitors?
What do you do better or differently from your competitors?
Is there another business you’d like your business to emulate?

WEBSITE
How does your audience find your website? What are the main sources of traffic?
What is your preferred writing voice? What is the tone and style? Friendly, formal, casual, fun, informative …
What are the key words or phrases you would use to describe your product / service?
Walk me through the purchasing process.
Final question – is there anything else your audience should know about your products or service?

I hope this helps! Do you have other questions you ask your clients to find out about their business, products or service?

Thinking about going freelance? Here are my tips!

If you’re thinking about hiring a freelance copywriter (like myself!), have a read of my blog post BENEFITS OF USING FREELANCERS. You can also find me over on LinkedIn – maybe we could work together?


My vegan, dairy & sugar free flapjacks

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen! Our supply of delicious Deliciously Ella sweet potato brownies (for my sugar free February challenge) are no more, so I thought I’d have a go at making some sugar-free* flapjacks.

*Technically, these flapjacks aren’t completely sugar free as they contain 1) maple syrup and 2) squished banana and a few blueberries so I’m not sure how truly healthy-healthy they are? But, whilst sugar-free February is going well, I do need some kind of sweet hit once a day – so, ta dah! This is it:

VEGAN, DAIRY & (REFINED) SUGAR-FREE FLAPJACKS

INGREDIENTS

180g oats
3 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large mashed banana
1/4 punnet blueberries

METHOD

Thankfully, no special skills are required when it comes to the method – simply:

– mash the banana
– add the olive oil, maple syrup & vanilla extract & give it all a bit of a stir
– stir in the oats
– gently stir in the blueberries
– grease a small’ish cooking tin/tray with a little olive oil
– tumble the flapjack mix in to the tray and gently flatten
– chuck in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180C

Allow to cool a bit before cutting in to little squares (I go as small as possible!) and enjoy with a cuppa!

Do you have a favourite, tried & tested sugar-free recipe? Please let me know – I’m in need of more inspiration! x


Dry January – how was it?

So Dry January is over. I did it! A big tick and gold star to me! I can officially have a swig sip of my favourite gin!

Why the Dry January challenge?

Well … it’s a well known fact amongst my family and friends that I enjoy a drop or two of Mother’s Ruin. I’m not a daily boozer though – usually just a weekend gin indulger – I can’t bear or function with a weekday groggy head. However, December just gone, I certainly kicked back and indulged (almost every day). But by day 29, even I was at the point of ‘NO MORE!’ and made the decision to partake in Dry January (however, I did actually go on to see December’s ginathon through, right up until the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, obviously).

Health
I was starting to worry that my poor liver was taking such a battering, and imagined it shrinking and recoiling back every time a gin was poured – it needed a little holiday from being permanently pickled. But also, a really good friend had just found out that she had breast cancer. Horrible. Breast Cancer Now is one of the charities being supported by Dry January this year so it felt like another super-important reason.

Finances
When my partner and I worked out how much money we spent on a) bottles of gin for a tipple or five, at home on the sofa, plus evenings at our local, it was a bit pretty shocking. Eek. Time to reign it in. The money we’ve not spent on boozing has gone towards our holidays pot (cue smug face).

Willpower
Not one of my strengths. The thing is, open-ended resolutions such as ‘I’m going to get fitter and be healthier in 2018’ just don’t work for me. I’m a deadlines kind of person. So giving myself a finite amount of time to quit, give up or try something seemed much more achievable. And actually, I really wanted to prove to (mainly) myself and others that I could do it.

How was Dry January?
Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I thought – really. I mean, it wasn’t always easy, but telling EVERYBODY I knew helped massively. I had so much support. Helped no end by the fact that my partner joined me in my Dry January efforts.

I knew that Friday evenings would be the toughest for me. They’d come to mark the end of the working week and the start of the weekend – woohoo! Usually the time for me to let my hair down, head to the pub and sink a couple … So the first Friday was quite hard. In fact, we avoided the pub all that weekend. Instead, we treated ourselves to box set binging (we managed to binge-watch all 4 series of Peaky Blinders in 2 weeks – quite an achievement ha!) and homemade sparkling juice drinks and smoothies.

Once we got through that first weekend, I really felt a sense of achievement. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it was probably my first weekend of zero alcohol for maybe 10 years (hangs head in shame), so to wake up on the Monday morning (hangover free) having smashed it felt really, really good (it’s the little things init?).

Dry January Motivation
The high from having completed one week alcohol free really gave me the motivation to stick to it and see the challenge through for the whole month. We did venture to the pub on a few occasions after that to a) prove that we could go to the pub and not drink and b) because we still wanted to socialise and not hibernate for a month! We stuck to good ol’ soda water and lime or the occasional bottle of Becks Blue (which actually, tastes alright – I mean I felt a bit like a student all over again, swigging from the bottle and all that – but I totally recommend).

Benefits of Dry January
Ok, I won’t lie to you, I kind of expected to feel fantastic within a week. I was expecting to look bright eyed and bushy-tailed. Instead, for most of the month actually, I still felt pretty groggy with a heavy head and was really, really tired – so I kind of felt the same as usual to be honest! Springing out of bed I was not. However, I stuck with it as the thought of all the positive health benefits for my liver kept me motivated.

Initially I really wasn’t sleeping any better than usual – in fact I had real trouble trying to fall asleep. In the last week though, I’ve definitely experienced an improvement in my sleep. I can drop off quite easily, am sleeping through until the alarm goes off and don’t feel the need for a mid-afternoon power nap.

I think I might have lost a couple of pounds too! We don’t have scales in our house so I can’t be sure but I definitely feel less bloated and waistbands are looser (hurrah). Maybe, due to the fact that I haven’t been consuming any empty alcoholic calories but also because, going hand-in-hand with boozing it up, was my late night calorie-laden, case of the monstrous munchies. And that’s just not been happening either.

My skin has always been mostly ok’ish with just the odd flare-up, however, one massive benefit of Dry January has been that my skin has been noticeably so much clearer and my eyes and face much less puffy and ‘angry’ on a Monday morning. Which has made me very happy!

What I’ve learnt from my Dry January experience
Whilst it’s not been massively life changing or transformative, Dry January for me has been a really positive experience. Not only do I feel (and hopefully look) better, but my liver is probably very, very grateful and I’ve learnt I can socialise and not drink at all.

I think the bigger challenge for me going forward will be moderation. I’ve proved I can abstain (and equally I can go all out!) but controlled, non-excessive drinking will be a new learning curve for me; to take my time properly enjoying and sipping a favourite gin (rather than necking it back).

Would I do Dry January again?
I could be persuaded to take a month off the booze again but actually, I have plans instead for mini breaks from the booze. To take it easy on a regular basis. But never say never!

Final thought: I’ve discovered I do have willpower. And I feel that maybe as well as addressing my alcohol consumption, I’ve also addressed and reset my mindset when it comes to challenges. So, I’ve set myself a further 11 monthly challenges for this year. Sugar Free February is next – wish me luck!