Advertising is more than cute slogans or the 30 second movies you see on television. It requires research, planning and strategy. Whether you write your own copy or hire a copywriter, the first step is gathering information. Here are some guidelines to help you write selling copy. (It's not a formal questionnaire, though some of my clients have used it that way. Think of it as starting point for brainstorming.) 1. Describe your prime prospect. 2. Who are now your best customers and how do they use your product or service? (From now on, I will just use “product” instead of “product or service.” But it goes for both.) 3. Please describe your product: a. Physical features b. Use and operation c. Any special features? Special production methods? d. Any special knowledge or credentials you offer? e. Price 4. Please list the benefits a. What problems can it solve? b. What basic or special needs or desires does your product appeal to? Practical? Emotional? c. How can it save/make money? d. How can it improve the customer’s life? 5. How can we prove or demonstrate the claim? 6. What is your positioning? What position do you or your product now have in the mind of your market? 7. Any special credibility advantages or problems? 8. What advantages does your product have over competing products? 9. What other unique selling points does it have? a. Exclusive? Not available anywhere else? b. Improvement over competition? c. Advanced technology? 10. What is your offer? a. Special pricing? (Discounts? Coupons? 2-for-1?...) b. Sweepstakes? Contests? c. Gifts/Premiums? d. Limited time? e. Guarantees 11. What was good or bad about your old advertising? Did it pull? Is it worn out? Do you have detailed test results? 12. Have you tested different versions of the same promotion—changing only one variable (e.g., offer, price, headline, format or envelope)? 13. Do you want an entirely new approach, just new copy? Or just a new look? 14. What is the assignment? a. A direct mail package? One package or a series of tests? b. A space ad? Is this for a one-shot ad—or an ongoing campaign? c. A catalog? d. Web pages/Web catalog? e. A blog? f. A news release? Press release to media or social release?

Morty Schiller—Copywriting Checklist Page 2 of 2

A feature story? A newsletter? Ebook? 15. What is the immediate goal of this assignment? a. Getting orders? b. Getting leads? c. Positioning a new product? d. Repositioning an old product? 16. Is this your only product? Do you upsell? How do you follow up orders? 17. What is the deadline? 18. What is the budget? 19. What media will you be using? With what ads will our ad be neighbors? 20. Who will be “minding the store” to monitor results? 21. Who are your main competitors? What advantages or disadvantages do you or your product have in the market? 22. What legal or policy restrictions affect what we can or cannot say? 23. What incentives or involvement devices can we use? 24. What special information or obstacles should I know about? Background material to have before starting to write: 1. A sample of the product. 2. Testimonials from satisfied customers, media reviews, endorsements, press releases, spec sheets, white papers, sell sheets. 3. Complaints or suggestions from customers, including comments on blogs. Search for your company name or product at, and,, and, 4. Links to web pages (your own and competitors'), blogs and blog comments, online reviews and discussions of product. 5. Copies of your past advertising and comparative results. 6. Samples of competitors’ advertising. Which competitor is most successful? What do you like or not like about their advertising? 7. Any background information or research. 8. News articles, interviews and other sources and contacts for information Mordechai “Morty” Schiller is a copywriter and marketing consultant. His articles have been published in DM News, Target Marketing, Direct Marketing and other marketing publications. • See selection of articles at the "Killer Copywriter" website: • Read Morty's blog--Insights on writing, marketing and more! • Subscribe to Morty's blog to get free home delivery by email of new posts: • Subscribe to "How to Win Customers and Influence People" Newsletter: • Want to get moving on a project? Call me at (718) 253-1043 or email me for a quote:

g. h. i.

Mordechai (Morty) Schiller
KILLER COPYWRITER! Email: Phone: (718) 253-1043

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