8 replies
Maybe I'm overanalyzing this. I just want to be sure I do it right so I land this client.

Before I start the job he wanted me to provide him with a rough outline of the copy I would write.

I'm not sure how to convey to him that it will be good copy in only a broad outline. I haven't been paid yet so I'm not going to sit there and think out the hook and lead, and big idea and everything just yet.

How broad or detailed should this type of thing typically be? I can convey what the general structure of the copy will be but that seems kind of unnecessary. Why would he want to know that? He's seen my samples and knows I have a great grasp of good structure.

So I think what I'm really asking is, how much ACTUAL copy should be in this outline, and how much effort should I be putting into it?
  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Are you apprenticing for someone?

    I've never had a client ask for an up-front outline.

    Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • Profile picture of the author drewcer
    I am not apprenticing, I am relatively new to this though. It's the first non-local client I've had who is actually privy to direct-response.

    I think I'm just going to do something more general then. I can't imagine he'd ask for an extensive outline before he paid me. Thanks.
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  • Companies like Agora and other big mailers will ask for a "hook" and "direction" document before you get tothe meat of the writing.

    A pain in the ass up front, but in the end it makes the work that much easier. So much so that I now offer it up for all my clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Agora requests the same document from several freelances, and a committee decides which copywriter gets the assignment. So it's competitive.

      But, as MM stated, worth it in the long run.

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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    You want to write enough to get the idea across.

    For instance, I wrote some copy for this guy:


    There's no way I'd submit that as complete copy, but I wrote enough to get the point across.

    You want to do this. The last thing you want is to spend a month working on a piece the client doesn't agree with from the get-go.

    Especially if you write aggressive copy like me, which may be considered controversial or let's just say walks right up to the line.

    In my case, I also publish my work on Google Drive, so my clients can check in and see progress in real time. It's kinda fun watching them look over my shoulder as I write.
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  • Profile picture of the author SlenderYe
    i have to say it is not easy to be the client, you must put more efforts on it
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    Typically, I write out the subheads, and maybe a quick summary below each.

    Pretty hard to know exactly where you're going without research though... so just need to spec it out as best you can.

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