When branding your business, it can be tricky to know when to reach out to a copywriter (or designer or photographer). We get asked about it a lot, and it’s a totally fair question!
Although we love working with business owners at all levels, some of our conversations stop at a brief consulting call.
Why is that?
In short, copywriting is an investment into your business. And we want you to get the most you possibly can out of each project.
We also want to be able to focus on the things that allow us to do our best work and stick to the project timelines without experiencing unanticipated delays or increases in project scope.
Trust me, this post is written in love, and intended to be a resource for prospective clients so you have clarity on what needs to be done and when.
So let’s get into it…
1. A brand name & a purchased domain name.
Unless, of course, you’ve hired us for brand naming. Otherwise, we like to have this from the get-go, as we’d hate to get halfway through your messaging & copy, only to realize, the brand name needs to be changed. Additionally, the brand name plays into the overall concept that’s developed for your messaging.
So spend some time brainstorming, researching, and filtering your ideas through GoDaddy.com and whatever social media channels you plan to be on to check for availability. Then make sure you’ve got that thing locked down! You can read more about creating a brand in this post.
2. A registered business entity.
We’re not attorneys, but you’ll most likely start out as a single-member LLC or an S-Corp. Again, this is to ensure we don’t create a full website worth of copy around a brand name, for it to later be changed because it’s already legally registered. Just trust us on this one and make things legit from the start!
3. Relevant contracts and insurance.
You’re probably sensing a theme here, as this one builds on the first two. Depending on your field, you may need various types of insurance &/or a crystal clear contract to keep you and your clients protected in the event that anything goes down.
What’s in your contract also affects your process, as well as important information that may need to be expressed in your copy – in a FAQ section, for example.
Quick resource: Here’s where we shop for our contract templates!
4. Defined core offerings – (aka something to sell!).
Now, these don’t have to be perfect and we can totally help you make them sound more attractive and compelling, and advise on pricing, packages, and strategy. But it’s not enough to just know you want to start a business and have a loose idea of what you want to do.
If that’s the case, we can absolutely chat with you in one of our Brand Strategy Deep Dive calls and help you get ready for next steps like brand design and copywriting. We love doing that!
5. A rough idea of your “who”.
Meaning, you have an idea of who you’re trying to attract and serve through your products/services. We’ll definitely go deeper into this during the copywriting process, as it’s a huge part of our research. But we need at least a general frame of reference so we can ensure we’re interviewing and studying the right target group.
6. Your why.
Because your passion with our expertise is a winning combination! Our first Strategy Call with clients is all about digging up why you do what you do, why you love it, why you want to serve the people you do, and how this all came to be (your story). Without that, it’s hard to generate the energy and authenticity for a differentiated brand with staying power.
7. An idea for your visual branding, website &/or a designer you’re in the process of hiring.
There’s nothing better than pairing your conversion copywriting with beautiful and strategic design. We have a list of Design Pairings we’re happy to refer clients to if you haven’t quite decided on a designer.
If we’re doing your brand messaging, that will come a bit before brand design, but it can also be done in tandem. We’ll gladly share notes and collaborate with your designer so everything is cohesive.
A good rule of thumb is the saying, “Copy leads design”. So we like to be a part of the website planning process and ensure the copy is buttoned up before your designer completes much if any of your website design. (Designers appreciate this, too!)
One exception to this would be if we’re customizing a Showit website template for you. But even still, we’ll often help you select a template that seems to be the best overall fit for your copy and brand feel.
8. Reasonable expectations for project timelines.
There’s nothing worse than hearing from a dream client and then hearing they need the copy like tomorrow.
We do our best to accommodate inquiries within a reasonable amount of time, but it’s sort of like planning a wedding. If you know you want the best of the best vendors, you better plan on having a slightly longer engagement to ensure they’re available!
Planning out a big branding project is like that, too. The more lead time you give yourself, the more you’ll be able to work with your top choice for copy, design, and brand photography – and have it all come together beautifully in the end.
We know this can be a lot – especially if you’re new to branding & running a business. We’re here to answer your questions in the comments below or if you want to take the convo over to our inbox, please do! And if you’re ready to work together? Get in touch here.
Not sure where to start or what’s missing? Uncork the essential brand copywriting elements for your business, complete with examples so you never feel stuck or bottled up with your message!