You already know that thinking strategically is an important part of being a copywriter. But how, exactly, can you start going about doing that? And how can you think strategically when it comes to your own business? A SWOT analysis is a great way to start. Read on…
Today’s question comes from Raul B., who asks, “I heard the term ‘SWOT analysis’ being mentioned at work the other day. Is that something I need to know?”
A SWOT analysis is a tool for figuring out where you (or your business) is and where it’s going. As such, it’s a great tool to wield when you’re working with your clients/company, and it’s a great tool to wield when thinking about your own copywriting business.
SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
“Strengths” refers to what the entity you’re focusing on has going for it. For our purposes, let’s talk about the company you work for. What’s working well? Does it have a motivated team? Does it have a great product? Does it have amazing customer service? Is it good at responding to and dealing with problems? What are the company’s strengths?
“Weaknesses” refers to problems within the organization and/or things that get in the way from it being the best it can be. Is customer service slow to respond? Is the website confusing for visitors? Is the research and development team slow to come up with new products? Does the marketing team ignore market research? What weaknesses does the company have to contend with?
“Opportunities” refers to elements or events that can be capitalized on. Does the company have a new product in the works that no one else does? Is the company located in a place that gives them great access to a skilled work pool? Did another company’s mistake give yours the chance to get more share of the market? What opportunities does the company have?
“Threats” refers to elements or events that could harm your company or, at least, increase the challenges it faces. Did another company develop a product similar (or better or cheaper) to yours? Did a competitor just take on a CEO who’s focused on improving areas you know are your own company’s weaknesses? Is a paid advertising vehicle changing how it calculates rates, potentially increasing your company’s cost to advertise? What threats does your company face?
It’s important to be very thorough and take plenty of time to write out a SWOT analysis. You can bullet point items or you can write full paragraphs (many people put a SWOT analysis in four quandrants, but it doesn’t really matter) — the most crucial element is that it’s all well-thought out and covers all possible issues.
Once you have a SWOT analysis compiled, it’s pretty easy to see what you/your company could do to maximize what it’s got going for it, improve in key areas, and defend against challenges.
Remember, too, that the focus of a SWOT analysis could be as big as an entire company, or as small as a single important marketing piece.
A SWOT analysis is also an important exercise to do for your own copywriting business, whether you freelance full-time or whether you take clients on the side. (For that matter, it’s also important to do it for your copywriting career, even if you work on-staff for a company!)
Take a careful look at your own Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats as they relate to your business and/or your career. You’ll quickly find ways to make the most of what you’ve got, improve yourself, and keep yourself moving forward.
Your turn! What are a couple of key insights you get from your own business/career SWOT analysis? Let us know in the comments below!