Why copywriters need to be good listeners

What makes a good copywriter? Being able to write well is the obvious answer to the question but beyond that, having good listening skills would definitely be at the top of my list.

Ultimately, whether you’re writing copy for an article, case study, blog, advert or website, any copywriter worth their salt needs to start by asking the right questions. Questions such as ‘Who’s the target audience?’ ‘What makes your company different?’ ‘What’s your tone of voice?’ First person or third person? ‘Do you use humour as part of your brand?’ (Who can forget KFC’s brilliant FCK response to the chicken crisis, courtesy of advertising agency Mother?)

Another favourite question of mine is ‘What’s the call to action? If it’s an advert and you want the respondent to call a number, have the reception team been briefed? Do they have a call script? Are they recording the number of enquiries/sales? If you want people to go to your website, is there a specific URL for this project? Or a dedicated area of your website? Are you set up with Google Analytics so you can measure traffic/ecommerce? You would be amazed how many companies get this so wrong and yet it’s a key part of the campaign metrics!

I’ve found from experience that the answers to these questions form a really useful framework for the project, save time and significantly reduce the chances of the client wanting to make major changes to the copy.