With knowledge-based copywriting, excellent copy research is critical to success. When we start writing an assignment, and even before we start, while we’re working on the strategy, we know what we’re talking about. This knowledge comes mostly from our copy research.
The process usually begins by interviewing our client and the some of the client’s employees to find out what they know about the product, service, or company. We also gather as much information as we can about customers and competitors. We listen carefully and try to get facts and opinions that will help make our writing work. Clients have told us that many of the copy and advertising people they had worked with went through the motions of listening, relying instead on their preconceived ideas.
But we don’t stop there. We need to fill in the gaps we discover and explore other points-of-view. We can usually do this with online research. A vast wealth of useful data is available online without cost. In some cases, interviews and focus groups might also be needed.
Hard Data vs. Gut Instinct
Not that long ago, marketers and the writers who worked for them had to base most of their decisions on emotions and intuition. Hard, empirical data was not always available or timely, and it was never cheap. Enter the digital world.
Now we have up-to-date data at our fingertips. Two examples. Analytics reports on your website show how well a page is performing, which keywords brought the visitor to the site, which pages interest her most in terms of which pages she visits and how long she stays before exiting, etc. Google search data show which keywords users are most likely to search for, telling us which pages we need to write and which keywords we need to emphasize.
A hour of research using just these two sources will turn up practical marketing information that would be nearly impossible to get with accuracy from focus groups and marketing surveys. No contest when you consider the lag time and cost required by traditional methods.