• Ettie Holland

How to brief copywriters for your HR tech business.

An effective brief won’t make poor copywriters great, but a poor brief will make great copywriters poor.


Even the best copywriters flounder without a great brief.

A great brief empowers your copywriter to deliver exactly what you need to reach your goals. It’s the cornerstone of great results.

But many HR tech businesses aren’t comfortable briefing copywriters. Many aren’t sure what we need to hear. Maybe you haven’t had much guidance from copywriters you’ve worked with before.

So here’s what you need to cover, to build an effective brief for your HR tech copywriters (so they can write the most effective copy for your biz…)

Your basic deliverables

  • What do you need, in what format, by when?

As in, we need a sales sequence of six emails, in a word document, by Thursday 15th.

Lots of ‘briefs’ start and stop here. Don’t. That’s not a brief; that’s an outline. Just about enough for a ballpark on costs. Not something any copywriter worth their salt will work from.

Your business context

  • Where does the project sit within your content ecosystem?

  • How does this project tie into your business and content strategy?

  • What happens to readers before and after this campaign?

  • How does your business speak?

As in, these emails are for our existing database who already hear from us monthly. Once they convert, they’ll enter a new sequence for event attendees and get a call from sales hoping to demo the new product stack. Etc.

This project’s not a standalone. Your copywriters need to know the bigger picture so they can write content that makes sense for your audience. And for your business.

Here’s also where you share any brand guidelines you need us to stick to.

Your product or service

  • What’s this copy promoting?

  • What do customers like most about your offering?

  • What do customers complain about?

  • What do prospects object about?

  • What value do customers see, in how long?

As in, we’re promoting our new workforce planning module – which customers love because it’s way simpler than anything else on the market while being completely configurable. Etc.

Your copywriters need to know what we’re selling before we start writing, even if this isn’t an overt sales piece. So we can niggle the right pains; press the right buttons; pre-empt the right issues. It’d be super useful if we can talk to people internally who talk to customers, like sales and customer success.

Your internal process

  • Who’ll be involved with the project?

  • Who’s involved with approval?

  • Who’ll give feedback?

  • How long will feedback take?

  • Which other moving parts are in play?

As in, EMEA’s marketing team get first sign-off but then the Global Head of Marketing needs to review. Then legal comes into play. And we’re waiting on the registration landing page before we can start.

This stuff tells your copywriter the lay of the land and helps them plan the project successfully. To avoid roadblocks later.

Your goal

  • What are you trying to achieve?

  • What do you want the audience to do?

  • What does success look like?

As in, we want to sell 1000 tickets to next year’s HR tech conference. We want readers to click through to our event registration landing page to pre-register for when we release tickets next quarter.

Your copywriter isn’t a hired monkey. (Well. Maybe if you’re paying peanuts. But you’re not, right?)

They’ll have a good idea whether the deliverable you’re discussing is actually the best tactic to achieve your goals, or whether you should a) manage expectations internally or b) do something else instead/as well.

Your audience

  • Who are we writing for?

  • What do they already know about the product/service?

  • What do they use/do instead of your product/service?

  • What keeps them up at night?

  • What holds them back from doing their job properly?

  • What does success look like for them?

  • What’s their most important priority?

As in, this campaign’s targeting HR Director Danielle and HRBP Peter. Etc.

You know this stuff, and hopefully you’ve codified it so everyone who writes for your business is on the right page (with kick-ass buying personas). To create compelling, relevant copy, your copywriter needs to get inside your prospects’ heads.

That’s one reason it makes sense to work with specialist HR tech copywriters, like HR Tech Copy. You can add nuance, of course, but we already know your audience well. We know what hurts them, helps them and makes them buy.

Your competitors

  • Who are your main competitors?

  • What do you see as their main strengths and weaknesses?

  • How do customers see you compared to them?

As in, we lose customers to This Other HR Tech Platform because they’re seen as simpler to use for the mid-market. Etc.

Help your copywriters understand your commercial context. Who else are your customers hearing from? Help us spot the gaps – and the areas of overlap where your comms need to work harder to differentiate.

An effective brief is the cornerstone of effective copywriting, whether you’re delegating to internal writers or working with external partners. That’s why HR Tech Copy have a structured KickStart briefing process, to make building an effective brief painless. So we can deliver copy that does exactly what you need. You know the drill - grab us for a chat.

If you’ve got a project in the pipeline or you’re curious to discuss where HR Tech Copy can add value, drop us a line and let’s have a chat.

+44 (0)1223 455186

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