Copywriting is a unique and beneficial talent that can add enormous value to your business, but finding the right person for your copywriting project is seldom an easy task.
We’ve worked with many clients who have had, let’s say, complicated
business relationships with copywriters, who have cost them time and money; providing them content that they’ll ultimately never use.
In this piece, we’ve put together our top tips and hints so you can select a copywriting professional that can bring fantastic content and great value to your business.
Look at Copywriting Websites
The first thing you’ll need to do is draw up a shortlist of potential copywriters based on the services and industries they operate in.
Take a look at the website, how do they present themselves? Do you like their style? Does the way they write look like it could be a fit for your business?
Remember you’re looking for a professional who can create exceptional copy that can add massive value to your business, by engaging potential clients.
Creating content, particularly for websites, can be a long process, especially if you work in a very technical industry, so you want someone with a bit of personality that’s a pleasure to work with.
Perform Your Due Diligence
Once you’ve drafted up your shortlist, it’s time to compare
your possibilities. Even if you’ve had the names of professionals recommended by friends, family or colleagues, you must still perform this process, since it’s possible that your standards might be different to those who’ve recommended them, or they just aren’t a fit for your industry.
Performing your due diligence is about integrity and clarity, so with that in mind, here are seven questions you should be asking yourself about a potential copywriting partner:
How Well are They Marketing Themselves?
Do They Have Samples of Their Work?
Any copywriter worth their salt should be able to show you
samples of their work, which should be engaging, persuasive and personable.
You should be sure not to get sucked in by the design and
aesthetic appeal of the website, it’s their words that you’re interested.
Who Will Do the Writing?
In the case of larger agencies, it’s quite common that the person speaking to you is just an account manager or a salesmen, which means you need to impart your knowledge to them, and then they’ll have to take what you’ve said to a third party (often a freelancer).
This won’t phase some since the more prominent agencies will have plenty of testimonials and reviews. However, others prefer to be able to create a more personal relationship with their copywriter so that they will gravitate more to smaller agencies or one-man-bands. It’s up to you which approach you prefer.
How Long Has the Professional Been in Business?
Keen newbies in the industry may be a budget-friendly option, but inexperience can often be costly if things go wrong. Unless you’re willing to take a chance on someone you know, it’s essential to find a professional who has a proven ability to get the job done at the right price.
How Broad is Their Portfolio?
As we’ve already mentioned, you need someone who knows how to get the job done. Whether you prefer a specialist in your industry or someone with a broader range of experience, is entirely up to you. However, someone with a more comprehensive portfolio will be better equipped to deal with the complexities of each project.
What is Their Background?
Some writers will have more journalism/PR experience, while others might have come from a digital marketing background. It’s important to find out this information, as it gives you more to go on when you’re making your mind up.
Journalists, for example, will have more of an idea when it comes to press releases and in-depth research pieces, whereas marketing writers will typically be a better option for web content and marketing materials.
What’s Being Said About Them?
Testimonials are a powerful social signal and can tip the balance in favour of a particular copywriter. This might be in the form of reviews on their Google Business, quotes on their website, or endorsements on their LinkedIn profile.
Personality is Key
Once you’ve chosen two or three from your shortlist, you know they can do a job for you; they’re talented, and praise is positive across the board.
To narrow down further, you need to ask yourself if they have the right temperament to work with you – for example, if you’re operating in a creative, dynamic industry, you don’t want someone who is used to the precise nature of the finance industry.
In any walk of life, it’s generally good to get out from behind the computer screen, so if you could get some time on the phone, it brings another layer of authenticity. You’ll be able to tell on the call if the person on the other end is friendly, personable and genuinely enthusiastic about what you’re talking about.
Asking for a Quote
Fees are always something to bear in mind, so before agreeing on anything, be sure to ask for rates. Ask ten different copywriters about their rates and you’ll get ten different answers on how they go about charging clients. Some may quote by the hour, some by the word, whereas others may quote based on the size of a completed project.
Indeterminate time frames and finger-in-the-air quotes are dangerous for your bank balance, which is why it’s important to understand pricing structures before giving the go-ahead. If you’re outsourcing a sizeable project to them, more often than not, they’ll be happy to provide a fixed cost.
In copywriting you usually get what you pay for.
Define Your Project Early On
The best way to make sure that your project needs are met is to define them early on; either verbally, or even better through a written brief to ensure complete clarity. Sure, they can go away and do their research, but they will never know your business as well as you.
While it is important not to get bogged down in unnecessary specifics, offering insights into how the jigsaw fits together to form the entire picture can help them as they come to understand what you’re trying to achieve and how their role will make the difference.
It’s up to you to tell your copywriter the points you think need emphasis, the audience you’re trying to communicate with, your sales process, and any calls to action that you feel are required.
Ask for an Itinerary
Most good copywriters will probably do this without you asking, but as we’ve already touched on, anything that can make the back and forth even clearer will reduce the chance of misunderstandings.
While providing a full proposal for clients isn’t normally in the writer’s best interests due to time restraints, they will typically be happy to provide a written list of the particulars of the project, including timetables, rates and payment terms.
Trust the Professional
Hiring the right copywriter means that you can reap the benefit of their experience. That doesn’t mean you should blindly accept every idea without question, but do consider what they have to offer will probably be helpful.
There is such a thing as being a bad client, and butting heads is never going to help you build a rapport with this person.
By following these tips and hints, you’ll have a much better chance of hiring a talented professional, which means you’re more likely to have a better experience and a better end product.
One last thing to remember is that while copywriters can make the best sound even better, they won’t be able to take something that’s poor from the get-go and perform miracles with it. If you have a lousy product or your business isn’t a success, then a copywriter can only do so much for you.