Business owners often think copywriting begins with the writing process. In fact, experienced copywriters spend as much time on research as on the writing process.

Copywriters often dig more deeply into your business than other consultants and coaches. Therefore, don't be surprised when your copywriting project leads to innovations in your overall marketing plan.

When you write your own copy, budget time for research and make a plan to review your business strategy. When you hire a professional copywriter, look for signs that your copywriter will research your business before plunging in to your project. Often the key to your whole campaign will appear when and where you least expect it.

For example, legendary copywriter David Ogilvy, author of Confessions of An Advertising Man, needed to write an ad for Rolls Royce. After talking with engineers and going for drives, he realized the car was designed to be totally quiet … except for the tick of the dashboard clock. This fact became the basis for one of his most successful ads.

In my own copywriting business, I’ve found messages hidden in services pages, notes from grateful clients and even scrawled on sticky notes for a client just starting out. I often take a client’s course so I learn the nitty-gritty and I can promote it better.

You can interview your own prospects and clients to identify hidden selling points and promotional angles. Two types of interviews are most commonly recommended.

“Biggest challenge:” Ask your clients to identify their greatest obstacle, what they’ve done so far and what they’d pay to conquer it once and for all.

Many marketers stop there but I would go on to ask, “What kind of resource would you expect to hire?” Often your prospects have stereotyped ideas about who offers what service. Many of my own clients are surprised when I can help them with identifying a niche, creating a marketing message and even creating offline promotions to complement their websites.

Alternatively, you can interview clients and colleagues to get a sense of how they view your strengths. This exercise builds confidence and may help you decide how to position yourself. Most important, you can explore your marketing messages to see if your unique assets are being communicated in your copy.

Author's Bio: 

Online copywriting expert Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., creates a compelling online presence for the discriminating business owner. When you want to promote yourself without sounding sales-y, start with