A stone staircase beside a tree lined road
A stone staircase beside a tree lined road

Mastering the Kick-Off: Essential Steps for Copywriters Preparing to Meet New Clients

Paul Kiernan

A kick-off meeting with a new client marks the beginning of a collaborative journey between a copywriter and their client.

A kick-off meeting with a new client marks the beginning of a collaborative journey between a copywriter and their client. It sets the tone for the entire project and lays the foundation for a successful partnership. Preparation is critical to making a lasting impression and ensuring that both parties are aligned on goals, expectations, and deliverables. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the essential steps copywriters can take to prepare for a kick-off meeting with a new client, from conducting thorough research to outlining an effective strategy.

But first, let’s take a quick look at the relationship between you, the copywriter, and your new client.

Copywriter-Client Relationship

The relationship between a copywriter and a new client is multifaceted built on trust, communication, and collaboration. As the foundation of any successful partnership, it requires a delicate balance of understanding, professionalism, and creativity. Here's a detailed exploration of the dynamics that define this relationship:

Initial Contact and Discovery: The relationship typically begins with the client reaching out to the copywriter or vice versa. This initial contact sets the tone for the entire partnership. The copywriter must demonstrate professionalism, responsiveness, and a genuine interest in understanding the client's needs and goals.

Establishing Trust: Trust is paramount in any business relationship, especially between a copywriter and a new client. The copywriter must demonstrate competence, reliability, and integrity to earn the client's trust. This may involve sharing relevant work samples, testimonials, or references to showcase past successes.

Understanding Client Needs: Effective communication is vital to understanding the client's objectives, target audience, brand voice, and expectations. The copywriter must ask probing questions to gather insights and clarify any uncertainties. Active listening skills are crucial to ensure that the copywriter accurately interprets the client's vision and requirements.

Setting Expectations: Clear expectations regarding project timelines, deliverables, revisions, and payment terms must be established upfront to avoid misunderstandings later on. Both parties should openly discuss their respective roles, responsibilities, and limitations to ensure alignment and mutual understanding.

Collaborative Process: Copywriting is often a collaborative process that involves iterative feedback and revisions. The client's input and feedback are invaluable for refining the copy and ensuring it resonates with the target audience. The copywriter should remain open to constructive criticism and be willing to make adjustments based on the client's preferences and feedback.

Transparency and Communication: Open and transparent communication is essential for maintaining a healthy client-copywriter relationship. The copywriter should provide regular progress updates, respond promptly to inquiries, and address any concerns or issues that arise during the project. Conversely, the client should provide timely feedback and communicate any changes or revisions to the project scope.

Creativity and Innovation: While adhering to the client's guidelines and brand identity is essential, the copywriter should also bring fresh ideas, creativity, and innovation to the table. This may involve proposing alternative approaches, experimenting with different messaging strategies, or suggesting creative solutions to overcome challenges.

Delivering Value: Ultimately, the success of the relationship hinges on the copywriter's ability to deliver value to the client. Whether it's crafting compelling copy that drives conversions, enhancing brand visibility, or solving a specific business problem, the copywriter must strive to exceed the client's expectations and deliver measurable results.

Building Long-Term Partnerships: Beyond individual projects, the goal is to cultivate long-term partnerships based on mutual respect, professionalism, and shared goals. A satisfied client will likely become a repeat client and may even refer the copywriter to others in their network, fostering growth and sustainability for both parties.

A set of red and silver headphones


A key element that is often overlooked and shouldn’t be is listening. As a copywriter, you should listen more than you speak. Good questions are those that get the client to open up and talk. Your job is to listen to everything the client says. More than just work or company goals, how they present themselves, what they say about life, and their views. Listen to the specific words they use. A company leader often molds their company around personal mores and views, and more can be picked up about the client when you’re actively listening between the lines.

Learn more about active listening: The Need For Active Listening.

The relationship between a copywriter and a new client is characterized by trust, communication, collaboration, and a shared commitment to achieving desired outcomes. By fostering a positive and productive working relationship, both parties can maximize the value they derive from their partnership and set the stage for future success.

With that, let’s discuss how you, as copywriters, can best prepare for and support a new client kick-off meeting.

Research, Research, Research

Before the kick-off meeting, it's imperative for copywriters to conduct extensive research on the client, their industry, competitors, target audience, and any relevant market trends. This foundational understanding will demonstrate professionalism and allow the copywriter to ask informed questions and offer valuable insights during the meeting. Utilize resources such as the client's website, social media profiles, industry reports, and news articles to gather pertinent information.

Define Objectives and Goals

Clarifying objectives and goals is crucial for aligning expectations and defining success metrics from the outset. Prior to the kick-off meeting, establish a clear understanding of what the client hopes to achieve through the project. Are they aiming to increase brand awareness, drive conversions, or launch a new product? By having a firm grasp of the client's goals, copywriters can tailor their approach and strategy accordingly, ensuring that their work directly contributes to the client's overarching objectives.

Understand the Target Audience

A deep understanding of the target audience is essential for crafting compelling copy that resonates with the intended demographic. Prior to the kick-off meeting, analyze the client's customer personas, demographics, psychographics, and purchasing behavior. By empathizing with the target audience and understanding their pain points, desires, and preferences, copywriters can create compelling messaging that speaks directly to their needs, ultimately driving engagement and conversions.

Familiarize Yourself with Brand Guidelines

Every brand has its own unique voice, tone, and style guidelines that dictate how it communicates with its audience. Before the kick-off meeting, familiarize yourself with the client's brand guidelines to ensure consistency and cohesion across all communications. Pay attention to elements such as brand values, messaging pillars, preferred language, and tone of voice. Adhering to these guidelines will help establish brand authenticity and build trust with the target audience.

A plastered brick wall with a street sign in the lower left corner reading Smith Street and a large question mark painted on the wall

Prepare Questions and Discussion Points

Effective communication is vital to a successful kick-off meeting. To facilitate meaningful discussions and uncover valuable insights, prepare a list of questions and discussion points in advance. These may include inquiries about the client's brand positioning, unique selling propositions, target audience segments, competitive landscape, and desired tone of voice. Encourage open dialogue and actively listen to the client's responses to better understand their needs and expectations.

Outline a Preliminary Strategy

While the kick-off meeting primarily focuses on gathering information and aligning objectives, it's beneficial to outline a preliminary strategy to guide the discussion. This may include proposed messaging themes, content formats, distribution channels, and key project milestones. By presenting a structured plan of action, copywriters can demonstrate their strategic thinking and proactive approach, instilling confidence in the client and laying the groundwork for future collaboration.

Prepare Supporting Materials

Prepare supporting materials such as portfolio samples, case studies, and testimonials to supplement the kick-off meeting and enhance the client's understanding of your capabilities. Highlight relevant projects that showcase your expertise in copywriting, content creation, and brand storytelling. Additionally, provide examples of successful campaigns or initiatives that align with the client's industry or objectives. These materials are tangible evidence of your track record and can help build credibility with the client.

Set Expectations and Next Steps

At the conclusion of the kick-off meeting, it's essential to recap the key discussion points, clarify action items, and establish clear next steps. Outline the project timeline, including deadlines, deliverables, and milestones. Discuss communication protocols, preferred channels of communication, and frequency of updates. Setting mutual expectations ensures that both parties are aligned on the project scope, timeline, and responsibilities, setting the stage for a productive and collaborative partnership.

Summing Up

Preparing for a kick-off meeting with a new client is critical in building a successful partnership and laying the foundation for a fruitful collaboration. By conducting thorough research, defining objectives, understanding the target audience, familiarizing yourself with brand guidelines, preparing questions and discussion points, outlining a preliminary strategy, preparing supporting materials, and setting clear expectations, copywriters can position themselves as trusted advisors and strategic partners to their clients. By investing time and effort into preparation, copywriters can maximize the impact of the kick-off meeting and set the stage for a successful project outcome.

You Should Know

Copywriting is about telling stories that grab attention and convert—we know that—but an effective copywriter brings so much more to the table. How’s your copy working? Is it active, compelling, and converting? That’s okay—it’s not easy. That’s why you need ThoughtLab. Our copywriters are master storytellers who have experience and insight into what clients want and need. Don’t leave your copy to the last minute; from step one they should be involved. If you need copy help, ThoughtLab has got copywriting covered, talk to us.