Don Draper's Copywriting Process

The World’s Simplest B2B Copywriting Process

Content creators like to make grandiose statements like “I know where Elvis lives!” or “I have the secret to the world’s simplest copywriting process!”

Exactly half of these statements turn out to be true. It’s science.

Copywriters, graphic designers, bloggers, photographers and other content creators are driven by processes that are tested, refined, tested again, scrapped, re-born and so on until they’re comfortable with the content they create for their clients. There are certain aspects of the copywriting process you’re never going to stop modifying, which is not only encouraged, but is a crucial element in your growth as a writer or any other sort of online content creator.

With my final post of 2012, I happily present to you the world’s simplest b2b copywriting process. Whether you’re a copywriter or some other type of sinister helpful content creator, this process should work for you as you begin new projects with new clients. If it doesn’t work for you, then let’s have an epic battle royale in the comments below.

Meet Your Client

Pick up the phone. Send an enticing email. Camp outside their house or office, gently petting your laptop, paintbrush or whatever tool you normally use to create content.

No matter what sort of client you’re working with, it’s crucial for you to be proactive in your efforts to learn more about their business as well as the people driving that business. You don’t need to spend a ridiculous amount of time wining and dining them like Don Draper and Roger from Mad Men, but you do need to demonstrate your commitment to their project and your attention to detail.

The initial meeting is the time to brainstorm ideas, set your goals and start planning your content marketing strategy.


I’ll let Ruth Zive, the brains behind the content marketing machine that is MarketingWise, take the stage here with an excerpt from an epic comment she left on the ol’ Function blog last week:

Rarely do we just start blogging for a client without first doing a thorough assessment of their brand, their messaging, their corporate voice, their target stakeholders and their client pain points. Otherwise, content marketing will be much like shooting bullets into the air.

Follow up on a strong meeting with your client by completely submersing yourself into their world. Understand their business better than they do, and they’ll hire you again.

Write or Create

Go away and start working. Write. Design. Photograph. Draw. Whatever your medium, you’re now armed with a rock-solid understanding of your client’s business in addition to a thorough comprehension of their market and their competition.

It’s time to let the content creating beast out of the cage. If you’re a copywriter, just sit down and start writing. If you’re a designer, start designing. Part of my copywriting process is allowing the story to unfold in front of my eyes as the metaphorical characters that are an extension of my client take control. I follow the writing, rather than the reverse.


Jeff Archibald of Paper Leaf Design says that a finished website is like a race car – without premium-grade fuel, the car may look nice, but it’s not going to get very far. How can you support your client after the project has been signed off on?

Ask yourself:

  1. How will your client benefit from the content you create for them?
  2. Does the finished product stand up against the goals you set and the research you conducted?
  3. What else does your client need to make their investment in content creation worthwhile?

This stage in the copywriting process is where writing takes a back seat in favour of content marketing. Efforts toward including a social media strategy are made, analytics reporting is conducted, and the client is educated on how to drive their shiny new sports-car.

Check out Jeff’s take on the design process: Design or Content First: The Chicken or the Egg.

Meet, research, write, support. Swap in your unique methods in step 3, but for the most part, the process remains the same. The source of any successful process is effective communication, the ability to ask a million questions and provide honest, quality work.

No More Posts Till 2013!

To the loyal Function subscriber, the content creator who clicked on a twitter link, or the aforementioned creep camping outside my house; thanks for checking out the Function blog this year. As a special gift to subscribers, I’m putting the finishing touches on my second ebook: The Content Manager’s Guide to a Killer Online Content Marketing Plan. Here’s the tagline:

If you’re jumping into the content marketing game without a plan, you may as well be jumping into the waters of the Bermuda Triangle without a camera (to take pictures of the giant mole-people secretly running planet Earth).

Talk about a nightmare! Read The Content Manager’s Guide to a Killer Online Content Marketing Plan to ensure it doesn’t happen to you!

If you want first dibs on the ebook, subscribe to the blog and keep yer eyes peeled!

Otherwise, have an amazing holiday, enjoy some beverages and be safe!

Alright, who wants to argue?

photo credit: gulinvardar via photopin cc

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