How to choose a copywriter
There are many reasons you might be considering hiring a professional copywriter. You could be a small business owner without in-house marketing expertise, or perhaps you are part of a large organisation that needs extra capacity to deliver a major project. Alternatively, you may need a specialist to write expertly on a subject. Whatever the scenario, you want to create new content that is of benefit to your organisation.
How much does a copywriter cost?
Cost is often the first consideration, but the reality is that prices vary considerably and, without trying to sound trite, you get what you pay for. Conversely, don’t make the mistake of thinking that a higher price is always the best indicator of whom to choose. Finding a person you enjoy working with, who understands your goals and your business, will take some effort on your part, but it could lead to a satisfying partnership over time, or provide much-needed support for a one-off project.
Why do you need a copywriter?
Ensure you are clear about why you are engaging a copywriter. Are you looking for a specialist writer, someone who has SEO skills or a specific writing style? Remember that one size does not fit all: a technical writer is unlikely to come up with snappy headlines, sales emails and website landing pages.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of the type of writer you need, you may hit the internet to see who’s out there. Doing this legwork now will pay dividends later as, the better your search, the more likely you are to find a copywriter with knowledge of your industry and a personality type with whom you can work.
These days a serious copywriter will have their own website, or at least a detailed LinkedIn profile. Be sure and check out any samples of their work, their list of clients and whether they have received testimonials.
Talking through your brief
With any luck, your search for the best copywriter will have paid off and you will be ready to brief them about your requirements. You may want to brief the copywriter, and then leave them to it, or you may have a job that requires more collaboration. Before you meet or talk with your copywriter, be sure to prepare thoroughly. You will need to sound them out but, remember that the writer needs to know all about you and your business needs too before they can give you an accurate quotation for the work needed.
Ideally, you will provide the writer with detailed background information or a list of useful resources. If not, expect the writer’s costs to reflect the amount of research they will need to undertake to fulfil the brief.
You also need a clear idea of the messaging channel(s) for which you need them to write e.g. a sales email and landing page for an email campaign, content for a four-page sales brochure, or six blogs for a website. If you are unsure of the type of collateral you need, a good marketing copywriter will help you identify these, so long as your overall marketing strategy is sound.
What you need to brief your copywriter
If you are unable to provide your writer with your main messages, information about the intended audience, and the action you expect that audience to take having read the copy, you are not ready to brief a copywriter! You might need to revisit your marketing strategy and develop your objectives more fully. If you draw a blank here, you need help at a strategic level. If you are very lucky, your copywriter is a qualified marketer who can offer marketing consultancy, or, even better, they will be part of a larger marketing agency, with a range of specialists to whom they can refer you.
Assuming you have made it to the briefing stage and you and your copywriter agree about the way ahead, don’t assume you must put all your eggs in one basket. Start by giving the writer a small job and see how they get on. You will soon find out if they are right for you.