A prospective client asked me this question the other day – and provided the inspiration for a blog post I thought many would find useful.
“My area is quite specialised so I just wondering how you feel / what the process is for writing about topics which you may be unfamiliar with.”
This was my response:
“Writing about new topics goes with the territory. I’m no expert on laser eye surgery, water conservation, baby milk, residential construction or allergy-free snacks – but I’ve written about them all and given clients great results.
The way I assimilate information fast is via astute questioning and research in three key areas:
Your business and your project
My briefing questionnaire prompts clients to provide the exact details I need about their business, their goals and their project. We also usually chat in person or over the phone too.
Your industry and your competitors
To put a business into context, I study the competitive landscape, online and real-world activities to see what others are and aren’t doing and saying – so we can do and say things better.
In my questionnaire is a section on customers’ problems and needs. To bolster this, I mine information by stalking customers where they hang out, review products, chat in forums and sometimes I even pick up the phone and talk to them.
It’s less about you and more about them
Getting to grips with your product and business is one thing – and generally, business owners are experts in their field, which enables them to bring me up to speed.
But what’s important to note is that good copywriting is not actually about your product – it’s about what your customers are thinking and feeling and the outcome they’re seeking. Showing empathy in a language customers relate to is what good copywriting is all about.
(For a super read on Amazon review mining, read Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers who urges: “Instead of writing your message, steal it. Steal it directly from your prospects.’)
So, the short answer is that I speed learn about your business, product and customer needs. To a great extent, it’s the reason I love what I do – learning new stuff every day about a wide variety of topics.
For example, my friends are increasingly holding their menus further away and I can tell them with confidence, (and of course sympathy), that presbyopia is a natural part of the ageing process but it’s now treatable by Presbyond laser eye surgery. If they want more information than that, I send them to Eye Laser Specialists.