Why I include brand mapping in all my packages
One of my first copywriting clients was someone who didn’t know who she was, who she was serving, what she did, how she did it, or even why she did it. Nor did she seem to have any desire to figure it all out. She just wanted a website, and expected me to be able to write it for her.
And because I was naive, new to the game, and eager to please, I said yes. It, obviously, didn’t work out. And at the time, I blamed myself. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t creative enough. I didn’t have the knack. I thought every copywriter on the planet would have been able to come up with sharp, sparkly copy that completely encapsulated who she was and what she wanted to say, except for me.
The problem was I believed that the talent of copywriting was in being able to read your client’s mind, even when they didn’t know it themselves. To be able to magically pull words from a person’s brain. So rather than ask questions, and push for answers, I thought saying “leave it to me” was the professional thing to do. I viewed copywriting as a service I was offering, and that the success of a project wasn’t just the end product, but how little the client had to get involved. I thought I was better if I did it all on my own. I can now see how wrong this was. Good copy comes out of a partnership.
So with every client I’ve taken on since, I’ve spent more and more time at the beginning of our relationship asking questions. I’ve set up Skype calls, and prepped questions, and got them chatting about their businesses, and values, and dream clients, and why they are doing what they’re doing. And I noticed a correlation: that the longer we spent chatting about, and hashing out, what the client really wanted to say, the easier the writing for me, the better the end product, and the happier the client. As my confidence in copywriting grew, I demanded more of my clients, not less.
Yet the real eye-opener for me was how much my clients themselves were benefitting from the process. I know, not least from my own experience, how hard building a brand is. How much time and thought it takes just to get a tiny glimmer of clarity, and then to take that glimmer and build it, piece-by-piece, into a full and cohesive brand. I also know, how much tougher it is to do alone, than with someone to talk it all through with.
So this is why I decided to add Brand Mapping to all of my packages, including my content creation ones. It’s a formalised, more throughly considered version of my off-the-cuff Skype calls and questionnaires that I used to send, but the end goal is still the same: clarity. And rather than keep the document that I create to myself, I share it with my client so they can use it going forward.
It’s a map, essentially, of their brand, made up of five sections: The Essentials (who, what, how, why), Brand Direction (mission statement, brand beliefs, and brand values), Brand Messaging (a summary, biography, key messages and words), Ideal Client and Audience Profile (which includes a peer landscape review), and finally, Brand Experience (this is the part I find most useful – client pain points, how your process or product solves them, and what they takeaway). I have mine printed off and in a plastic folder which I keep by my laptop at all times, a handy reminder and reference for when I feel like I’m going off track a bit.
As well the clarity clients gain, it also makes the copy so much stronger. So often I come across websites where the writer has obviously just said what they think they should say, or what sounds good (my website used to be the same), and they all fall flat. Most copywriters can come up with a good pun, or clever turn of phrase, but if your website is really going to connect, and sell, then the words need to have something stronger behind them: purpose and meaning. And that’s what a Brand Map is for.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can create a brand map for you together, and my copywriting and content creation services, then have a read of my work with me page.