How To Prepare For A Copywriting Assignment
By Robert W. Bly

Business-to-business and direct response copy persuades readers in part, by giving them useful information about the products being advertised. The more facts you include in your copy, the better.

When you have a file full of facts at your fingertips, writing good copy is easy. You simply select the most relevant facts and describe them in a clear, concise, direct fashion.

But when copywriters don’t bother to dig for facts, they fall back on fancy phrases and puffed-up expressions to fill the empty space on the page. The words sound nice, but they don’t sell because the copy doesn’t inform.

Here’s a four-step procedure I use to get the information I need to write persuasive, fact-filled copy for my clients. This technique should be helpful to copywriters, account executives, and ad managers alike.

Step #1: Get all previously published material on the product.
For an existing product, there’s a mountain of content you can send to the copywriter as background information. This material includes:

Did I hear someone say they can’t send me background material because their product is new? Nonsense. The birth of every new product is accompanied by mounds of documents you can give the copywriter. These papers include:

By studying this material, the copywriter should have 80 percent of the information he needs to write the copy. And he can get the other 20 percent by picking up the phone and asking questions. Steps #2-4 outline the questions he should ask about the product, the audience, and the objective of the copy.

Step #2: Ask questions about the product.

Step #3: Ask questions about your audience.

Step #4: Determine the objective of your copy.
This objective may be one or more of the following:

Before you write copy, study the product—its features, benefits, past performance, applications, and markets. Digging for the facts will pay off, because in business-to-business advertising, specifics sell.

Bob Bly
Copywriter, Consultant and Seminar Leader
31 Cheyenne Dr. Montville, NJ 07045
Phone 973-263-0562, Fax 973-263-0613