1. We talk. Chew the cud. Discuss ideas.

We get to know each other, understand what it might be like to collaborate in making your business offer an irresistible one. We discuss the particular difficulties you might be having with persuading readers…. describing your offering in an attractive way… differentiating your offering from a hundred lookalikes – and so on.

2. Later – the next day, perhaps – we decide whether we think we can do some good work together. If one of us doesn’t think it’s quite right… then we leave it for now. Maybe come back at a better time.  

3. If it’s a ‘yes’ then a couple of things happen: you send me a 50% advance payment. I send you a short(ish) questionnaire. It does seem like a fair exchange – at least, to me. More about that below. 

4. You fill in the questionnaire – spill the beans! – and we’re off.

5. I go into deep research mode. I research like a maniac so that, when done, I can write like an industry insider.

It’s not just jargon and concepts that I need a grip on; I need to know how your potential customers are at a disadvantage – how they suffer, even – when they don’t have what you offer. And how a part of their lives is never the same again once they do.

Doesn’t matter what you sell. We want to find an edge that turns it into something special. Sometimes that edge comes easily… sometimes it’s very elusive. We have to find it though.

6. After an agreed number of days I send you what I call the ‘copy sandpit’. It’s a document full of sales copy – ideas, approaches, word choices, angles… It’s not always pretty at this early stage – I’m playing with language and trying out different tones and so on.

So this is more a working document where I can show you my initial ideas and we can review, discuss and adjust where necessary. Your opinions are valued, your questions welcomed.

7. Once we’ve reviewed the copy sandpit I write for you the first proper draft of our copy. Now it gets some shape and order to it and takes on the form of something that will work in real life. Again, you review this draft and offer comments, opinions. 

8. Drafting and reviewing takes place a couple of more times. I expect we’ll get to the finished version in a total of 3 – 4 drafts. I’m flexible so long as we’re being reasonable. 

9 . Once we’ve polished off the copy and it’s sitting there gleaming in the sunshine you pay the remaining amount – and that closes our project. 

10. If you then send the copy to a designer I am more than happy to liaise with her/him while they’re fitting the copy into their design. Sometimes my comments help the designer decide how best to present certain parts of the content.

That questionnaire I mentioned:

It consists of roughly 10 questions – but they’re fairly searching and may have you thinking about your business in a way you haven’t considered it before. Some clients quite like this – it can be an eye-opener for them too.

In particular, I want to understand why people buy from you… and why they don’t. Because I want to handle their fears or misunderstandings in the copy before those fears or misunderstandings influence them to not buy. 

The other information I ask for helps me deal with other thoughts that might be going through a person’s mind when they’re thinking about a service like yours. 

Don’t worry if you can’t answer all of the questions very well. Just write as much as you can – and let yourself write freely without self-editing or self-consciousness. We’ll have a chat after and gradually work things out. 

One more point to note: payment terms are ‘immediate’. I’m like your local supermarket: I give you the goods, you pay for them at that same moment.