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What’s the key to good copy that gets results? A good brief (11 Oct 07)

This tested 5 x W formula ensures you get it right every time

There are two reasons why many if not most written messages are dull, confusing, hard to read, or all three.

One is that many people haven’t leant to write well. The other is that the brief was bad.

“Be careful what you ask for. You may get it” is an old saying which can be profitably applied to copy.

And by copy I mean anything designed to inform or get action. A leaflet, a letter, a poster, a report, an advertisement, a newsletter, an article: they’re all copy.

You will save yourself - whoever is writing the copy if it isn’t you - hours of work (not to mention heartache) by making sure you have all the information you need to convey the message.

To start with you need to state clearly who you’re talking to and why. You need to give the background to the communication. What’s happening that makes this message important?

What is the aim of the message? Is it to inform and educate people about something? Remind people about some activities or services and the benefits they offer? To re-motivate people who know who you are but are no longer doing what you want?

But following on from that there is a simple five step formula that has been used for countless years in newspapers that will keep you on the right track,

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