Running a business is a full-on experience. Marketing a business is a full-time job all on its own. If you don’t have the luxury of a time turner or an in-house member of staff dedicated to your marketing, there’s one thing – more than anything else – that you’re really going to struggle with: content.
Hiring a copywriter to work with you is an amazing investment. The right copy will add massive value to your business. They’ll ensure your website copy is perfectly pitched to your target audience and optimised to attract your ideal client. They’ll crank out killer blogs, articles, and social media posts that will engage, seduce, and convert.
More than that, if you take full advantage of their services, they’ll create incredibly high-value brand assets and intellectual property that elevates your business to a whole new level – lead magnets, books, eCourses, you name it. Once you have a cracking copywriter on your team, time-poverty, slaving over your blog, and a lack of passive income will no longer be on your radar.
But with so many copywriters out there, how do you decide who to work with? How exactly does the whole process work?
Hiring a wordsmith shouldn’t be a stressful experience (quite the opposite!), so let’s demystify some of those questions. Here’s exactly how to hire a copywriter to take away some of your stress and boost your business…
Why Hire A Copywriter?
Unless you have a deep-seated hatred of writing, you’re probably more than capable of pulling together some website copy or a blog post. It’s your business, afterall, you know it better than anyone else possibly could. So why would you hire a copywriter?
For a lot of people, spending money on something you feel you could do yourself seems stupid, particularly if you’re just starting out and don’t have much cash to invest in your marketing. As with most areas of business, there are pros and cons to hiring a copywriter. You need to be discerning about what you spend it on, so why spend it on something you could do for free?
The problem with this mindset is that it underestimates the potential of your copy. At the end of the day, the words you choose to represent your business are – more than pretty much anything else – the deciding factor in whether or not people choose you.
Business growth and success hinges on driving results and creating the most valuable assets possible.
Hiring a copywriter ensures you’re focusing your time and energy on your zone of genius, while simultaneously handing your copy over to someone who specialises in writing and SEO.
It’s a win-win.
Instead of spending all your time penning copy, emails, blogs, social posts, and just endless words, you’re working on developing your business. You’re working on serving more clients, or creating new offerings, or developing a new revenue stream.
Meanwhile, the copy that is created for your business will be as effective, valuable, and profit-driving as possible, because it was crafted for that specific purpose by a professional pen monkey.
Your Copywriter Will Do More Than Just Write…
There’s a lot more that goes into effective copywriting than most people realise. Your copywriter should be researching keywords, creating a full SEO plan, and optimising all your copy for search engines and the best possible user experience. The words they craft for you don’t just describe your business. They raise your visibility and profile, increase trust, showcase your expertise and, most importantly, drive sales.
A great copywriter will also suggest ways you can build more value into the reader experience, so you forge more meaningful (and more profitable) relationships with your audience. Those suggestions are likely to go well beyond simple words, and touch on website structure, multimedia assets, creating new lead magnets, creating detailed case studies, or launching passive income products.
What Type Of Copywriter Is Right For Me?
The type of copywriter you need largely depends on your objectives.
Why are you getting copy written in the first place?
90% of the time, the goal is to get found, either on search engines or social media. That means you need a copywriter with a great grasp of search engine optimisation and user experience. These two things tie together, as your website’s ability to rank on Google (and other search engines) hinges on how much the algorithms like your stuff.
All the algorithms care about is showing people the content they will value the most. As a result, user experience is ridiculously important.
You should be looking for a copywriter who can advise you on how best to structure your site and content for search, and what keywords you need to be optimising for.
But that’s only half the battle.
Getting people to find you is great. But you need to convince them to stay. To explore more of your content. To signup to your newsletter, book a discovery call. Ultimately, to buy something.
A professional report or in-depth white paper is going to require someone with skills specific to business writing, with a great understanding of your niche, who can fully comprehend the subject and do a deep dive into it. You need someone who can bring something fresh and original to the table, while remaining completely professional, with a formal writing style that’s still engaging.
For less formal blog posts you need someone who can make whatever it is you do highly relatable. Someone who has the creative chops to understand that just because you find what you do endlessly fascinating and want to talk about nothing else, doesn’t mean it’s the best way to write blogs for your audience.
Identify Your Copy Needs…
Before you start truly looking to hire a copywriter, it’s important to be very clear on exactly what you want them to do. As you’re reading through their websites and scrolling through portfolios, it’s easy to get seduced by what they’re telling you.
They’re all writers, after all. Writing copy that sells you on a service is literally what they do.
But you will need to be a bit more discerning in your choice. Make a list of exactly what your project entails, what your expectations are, and the results you want to see as a result of your new copy.
Once you know that, you can look for copywriters who are showcasing the specific skills you’re after. You’re also in a position to give them a clear picture of the scope of the work involved, so they can give you an accurate quote and timescale for the project.
The Difference Between A Copywriter And A Content Writer
Copywriting has the power to make or break your marketing campaign. No marketing campaign can run without copy. No marketing campaign can run without content.
But what’s the difference?
In some ways copywriters and content writers are the same – they will both pen words for your business. But there is a distinct and important difference.
Copywriting is the fine art of crafting words that sell. Think ad copy, website copy, product descriptions, etc.
Content writers create copy that is engaging, informative, educational, and brings huge value to your audience. This is usually done with little or no ‘sell’, save a call to action at the end.
They have two very different functions. Copy attracts your audience’s interest, content nurtures that interest until they’re ready to buy…
More copy gives them the final push needed to part with cash, more content convinces them to come back and buy more…
And round and round it goes…
A content specialist isn’t always as highly skilled at, for example, writing sales page copy as they are at writing awesome blog posts. Likewise, a copywriter who specialises in ad copy may not have much experience penning articles. It’s important for you to hire the right kind of writer for your project. When you start looking, have a good snoop through their portfolios and case studies. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific examples of projects they’ve done previously that are similar to your own.
Finding A Writer Who Specialises In What You Need…
The difference between one writer and another goes beyond copywriter vs content creator and speaks to a fundamental truth about experience: find a writer who has a lot of experience doing the specific thing you’re looking for them to do.
That might be blogs, it could be your homepage, or it might be a book. Some writers are ‘all rounders’. They tend (like me) to work closely with a client for a prolonged period, helping them through various stages of their business. It starts with writing their website, it progresses to crafting articles and writing social posts, and escalates lead magnets, books, and eCourses.
If they’ve done this for multiple clients over a long period of time they will have amassed expertise and experience in writing multiple types of copy.
If, however, they specialise in a specific type of writing – for example, sales pages – they’re not likely to have much experience of writing blog posts.
Like most professions it’s not unusual for writers to have a particular specialty. Some are exceptionally well suited to writing websites. Others are far better at creating long-form, thought-leadership content. Others still are really in their zone of genius when it comes to press releases or ad copy.
Avoid Writers Who Don’t Enjoy Doing What You’re Looking For…
You’ll notice I didn’t link to an example of my work for those last two, because neither are something I do very often.
Writers find what they’re good at, what they love, and then do more of that. It makes sense for them – they enjoy their work more – and it makes sense for their clients – they’re more experienced at creating copy that’s as effective as possible in achieving specific goals.
Personally, I love writing websites, particularly if I can do the whole thing as a single project. Working on a brand’s voice, refining the personality of their copy, and ensuring their site effectively conveys just how good they are is something I love.
Optimising website copy for search is also a fun challenge for me (although I know a lot of writers who abhor SEO and prefer to write then hand over their copy to an SEO team who optimises it).
All that being said, my favourite kind of writing (and the writing I do most) is content – articles, blog posts, podcasts, vlogs, you name it, I love doing it. From lead magnets to fully blown books and eCourses there’s something immensely satisfying about designing, developing, and writing a full content schedule for a business.
On the other hand, writing ad copy or press releases bores me silly.
I can do it, I have done it quite a bit, but I’ve never enjoyed it. I don’t actively seek out work doing this type of copy. In fact, I’ve turned down clients on more than one occasion because they’ve wanted either ad copy, or press releases, and nothing else.
It’s always best to find a copywriter who is passionate about the type of content they will be creating for you. They will do a much better job than someone who finds it a dull or frustrating chore.
Be Prepared For Them To Say No!
When you brief your copywriter (I’ll get to that in a minute) they should tell you immediately if the project you’re looking for them to work on isn’t a good fit. Perhaps it requires technical understanding they don’t have, is an area they’ve never written about before, or simply something they – personally – do not enjoy working on.
Whatever the reason, the first gauge of a decent copywriter is how honest they are with you about what you want them to write. If their policy is ‘I’ll write anything!’ you need to have a good snoop at the quality of what they’re producing before committing.
When you’ve been writing professionally for long enough to get good at it, you know what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not. You can be discerning and say no to work that doesn’t interest you, or you’re not confident in doing as well as needed. A ‘yes to everything’ policy usually comes when a writer isn’t earning enough that they feel able to say no.
And that’s not the energy you want to bring to your business!
Where To Look For A Copywriter To Hire…
There are a number of ways you can find a copywriter. Social media generally has a plethora of them showcasing their skills. I am told that LinkedIn, in particular, is ‘the’ place to be if you’re a copywriter looking for work. But, I have to say, I’ve never had a single client from LinkedIn, nor do I have any patience with it as a platform. Moreover, I don’t actually know any other copywriters who gain business that way. Like me, they rely on people finding them on Google.
If you want to hire a copywriter, you can honestly go about it exactly as you would hire anyone else. Look at relevant professional groups like the Professional Copywriters’ Network, which have directories you can browse without being inundated in pitches. Ask other business owners, entrepreneurs, or marketers you know for a recommendation.
Realistically though, your best resource is Google.
Honestly, you need your copywriter to be capable of optimising your content for search. Even if you don’t see SEO as a priority, if you’re investing in digital copy that will be used online, it needs optimising.
You’re throwing money away if you’re not using every word to help make you more visible.
So, your copywriter needs to be capable of ranking content.
If they’re not capable of ranking their own content, how the hell are they going to manage it for you?
Be Wary Of Content Mills…
You are going to run into content mills when you’re searching. They are likely to appeal to you if you’re looking for a fast turnaround and cheap prices, just be wary. There are some out there which will deliver good quality copy – ClearVoice, for example, is one I’ve done a lot of work for myself. They only use experienced, quality writers, and they pay them a fair amount.
There are others, however, that pay their writers an absolute pittance (think £3 per post).
At that rate, the sheer volume of work their writers have to complete in order to make minimum wage is ridiculous.
You’re not going to get a well-thought-out, thoroughly researched piece they have done to the absolute best of their ability. You’re also not going to get a writer with any amount of experience, because those who have it seldom need to resort to taking work at such poor rates anymore.
Look at it this way, when you’re working with a content mill, you’re giving a good chunk of your budget to the mill, not the writer. And you get what you pay for.
It’s far better to invest all your budget into your writer and find someone with talent and experience, who isn’t going to resent writing your copy because they’re insulted by the amount they’re being paid to do it.
Apologies if that wasn’t what you wanted to hear, I only speak the truth!
Factors To Consider When Hiring A Copywriter…
Because your copy is such a vital element of your business, it’s essential that you gel well with the copywriter you hire. You want someone who shows enthusiasm for what they do – and what they can do for you. Someone who is insightful enough to ask the right questions, and craft copy that’s a cut above the average blurb you read on competitor sites.
You also want someone with enough confidence in their skills and knowledge to suggest things, regardless of whether they think you will ‘like’ them. For example, a lot of the time I tell clients that in order to achieve their stated goals, we will need to do x, y, and z.
90% of the time ‘x’ is a weekly blog post, and most people are quite happy with that. They’re realistic and understand that, without this, their site is just never going to get very visible. The y and z vary wildly depending on the client, but they are frequently suggestions that do one of two things:
- Force people out of their comfort zones (hello video marketing, podcasts, and going live on social).
- Cost more than they want to spend.
Here’s the thing: they’re just suggestions.
A good copywriter will tell you the best way of achieving what you want. If it’s outside your price range, no worries, they’ll come up with another plan that’s within your budget and has the best chance of hitting your goal. If it’s outside your comfort zone, they will offer alternatives while gently encouraging you to try something new.
If the answer’s no, it’s not a problem. You get the final say.
But they should be there with the confidence to make the suggestion, and the expertise to know exactly what to suggest in the first place.
Avoid A Passive Writer – Hire Someone With Guts…
There are a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners out there who prefer to hire passive copywriters. They will write exactly what they’re told, and create exactly what they’re asked to. When edits come their way they make them, no questions asked, zero pushback.
For a lot of people, this is the dream: hire a copywriter who just does as they’re told.
The problem with this is that the work you get out of them will only ever be as good as your own knowledge and understanding of copy, writing, and content.
Why are you paying an expert to do it as well as you know how to do it yourself?
Even if you’re fully capable of doing every element of your copy and content creation, and the only reason you’re outsourcing is time, you still want someone who will make suggestions, and give you another viewpoint.
For example, one of my clients is a copywriter and content creator with just as much experience as I have. When she hired me it was because she needed someone who could come in and do the job as well as her, because she didn’t have time to do everything herself.
And yet, she still asked for, expected, and valued my thoughts, suggestions, and perspective.
Look for someone who will challenge you. Not in an argumentative way (the final say should always be yours), but purely to help drive your business forward and ensure the work they create for you is as valuable to your business as possible.
The biggest challenge for a copywriter is creating copy that will effectively rank while meeting the desires of the client. We frequently find clients want to write about topics that aren’t relevant to their readers, or rank for keywords that nobody is actually searching.
It’s our job to tell you…
“Actually, your audience isn’t interested in that. What if we write about this instead, and weave some of that information into it in small chunks?”
“We can optimise for that keyword, and you’ll rank for it effortlessly, but there is zero traffic on it so it’s not actually going to achieve anything for you. Why don’t we aim for this one instead? It’s getting 2K hits per month.”
If you still want a piece of content about your favourite subject, in the full understanding it’s not the best thing to write about from a UX or SEO perspective, that’s fine. If you still want to focus on ranking for a keyword knowing it gets next to no traffic, that’s fine. But you should have someone who will be upfront with you about it so you’re aware of the return you’re likely to get on your investment.
One really good gauge, very early on, of whether someone is a good fit is how fast they respond to you. Send them a message on social or drop them an email saying you’re interested in hiring them as your new copywriter, could they please send you more information on their services.
See how long it takes them to reply.
Like all business owners, copywriters thrive on new leads coming in. They should be on the ball and fast to respond when it happens. It probably won’t be instant – they’ve got copy to writer for clients, after all – but you should expect a response within a business day of sending the request.
If they’re away from work for whatever reason, you should expect an autoresponder to be active to make people aware of this and when they will be available again. If that isn’t the case, you should expect them to be checking their emails and messages regularly.
If it takes them a few days to get back to you, this is an indicator of what working with them will be like. If they can’t respond quickly when you’re a hot lead, they’re not going to get quicker when you’ve already paid money and committed.
Personally, I check twice daily, once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. That avoids putting a dent in my productivity because I’m constantly bouncing back and forth between emails, but ensures nobody is left too long without a reply.
Crafting the copy for a project, particularly if it’s an ongoing plan like a weekly content marketing strategy, can be quite an intense process. Depending on how much input you want, you can end up spending quite a big chunk of time working with your copywriter.
I have some clients who give me full autonomy and don’t want any input at all. I have others who come up with the ideas and send me a title, or a few notes, but leave me to work on what the best thing to do with them is. And then I have ones who have a very clear idea of what they want, who are happy to work with me to go over every detail and ensure each word is perfect.
Consider what your own personality type is here and how much you’d likely to want to involve yourself in the process. If you’re very hands off, you don’t need to worry quite so much about personality. But if you’re a very hands-on client you need to make sure you’re going to personally click with your copywriter before you hire them.
If you can’t stand their personality, it’s going to be a very frustrating process!
Have a good chat with any prospective writers before hiring them. Think about whether or not you’re going to enjoy speaking to them on a weekly or even daily basis, and how they will fit in with other team members.
The traits I have found clients value in me the most is sensitivity to their needs and the pressures and stresses they’re experiencing elsewhere in their business (and lives), as well as a good sense of humour. Look for someone personable, who is a good listener, and adaptable enough to fit in around you, rather than expecting the reverse.
Ideally, you want someone fun. This will not only ensure they’re more pleasant to work with, but it generally shines through in what they write. Your copy will have more vibrance and personality if it’s coming from someone who is themselves vibrant and charming!
Consider Your Long-Term Needs…
This might seem obvious, but it’s an important one. If you’re only planning a one-off project, the type of copywriter you hire can be very different than if you’re looking for someone to work on an ongoing marketing project and cover all your copy needs for the future.
For one thing, one off projects will likely only require them to work with a limited number of people in your business. Full marketing strategies that will go on indefinitely, however, will likely require them to interact with everyone in your business at some point. It will also mean you will need to spend more time with them.
You may find it best to start with a one-off project, like a website re-write, and see how you gel with the writer. If you click, and you love what they’ve done for you, then you can confidently move on to a long-term relationship.
In an ideal world, your business should have a trusted writer on hand who knows your brand backwards. That way, there is always someone to create and refine your brand voice, and then ensure it consistently shines through in all your content.
Ask About Their Process…
All copywriters have their own methods and ways of working. Look for someone who works in a way you’ll be comfortable with.
At the start, your writer is going to have a lot of questions. That’s unavoidable; they need to know your goals, objectives, target audience, specifics about your products or services, and an idea of the way you want your brand to be presented.
They will take all that information and refine it, but they can’t – and shouldn’t! – start from nothing.
It’s your business, it needs to come from you initially.
A lot of writers gather this information with a questionnaire, others prefer a call or video chat. I’m perfectly happy doing either, but it’s good to ask how the process works before you commit to it.
If the idea of filling in a lengthy questionnaire fills you with dread, and your writer is adamant they can’t start until you’ve done it, you’re going to have issues!
Your writer may want to see previous marketing materials before they start. They might want you to take a bit of time looking for inspiration to give them a ‘feel’ for how they want your copy to make customers feel. Just ask, they’ll explain the process to you and you can decide if you’d be comfortable with it or not.
Be Clear About Your Needs And Objectives…
There’s really no point beating about the bush on this one. If you’re looking for website copy that’s going to get you ranking #1 for your core search terms, that needs to be top of the conversation when you speak to prospective writers.
If your goal is to nurture leads and prospects with high-value content that helps them get to know, like, and trust you while positioning you as an expert, say so.
And if all you want is a sales page that will sell the socks off your latest course and help you hit your goal of a £100K launch, be specific about this.
Your writer needs to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve so they can help you put together an effective plan.
Figure Out Your Budget, And Be Realistic…
One of the most important things to do before you start speaking to potential writers is to figure out how much you can afford to spend. What’s your budget?
This is a tough one for a lot of people because many don’t really know how much they should realistically expect to pay for copywriting services. I’ve come across more than a few entrepreneurs who thought it was perfectly reasonable to pay me a couple of hundred quid to write a 20+ page website. When I (gently) explain this is the going rate for a single article, they were shocked, then annoyed, then went elsewhere to get someone who would do it for the £200 they had to spend.
And that’s not a problem.
Just bear in mind that copywriting is a creative service that requires a lot of skill, a lot of experience, a massive amount of flair, and no small amount of gumption.
You will get what you pay for.
High-quality copy that is fully optimised for search, finely crafted to give you a standout brand voice, and effectively positions you as an expert is going to cost more than bog-standard, zestless bit of blurb that describes what you do.
The results you get from your copywriter are usually reflected in their prices. Writers capable of delivering results effortlessly command higher prices because they make you a lot more than they cost you.
So, figure out your budget, but be realistic, both in terms of what you can afford to pay, and what you should expect to receive for that amount.
Ask For Quotes…
Once you’re clear on all of the above, start collecting quotes. Have a Google, find a few copywriters you like the look of, and contact them.
Some freelance copywriters quote on an hourly basis, and you’ll get a time estimate for how long they expect the work to take. Check to see if they’ve put a cap on this, or if the quote is an estimate. If it’s the latter, your final price could be a lot different if it ends up taking longer than expected.
Most copywriters will quote on a project basis, rather than an hourly one. They will spec out the project and give you a quote for the whole thing. They will also tell you how any additional work, beyond that scope, would be handled if you asked for more later.
More experienced writers will almost always quote on a project basis, as this not only takes into account the time required, but also the complexity of the work, and the level of skill required. The time it takes to write something doesn’t always reflect how much that thing is worth.
For example, sales pages for eCourses or services will only take a few hours to write but will make the company thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds in sales. Anyone can bash out a sales page in a couple of hours, but a sales page that converts like crazy and has the potential to make you millions requires a writer of exceptional quality.
They will price themselves accordingly.
Having a few quotes to compare should make you feel more confident in your choice. You may find all the quotes far exceed your budget because you didn’t have a realistic understanding of how much your project would cost (this is very common!).
Conversely, you might find they are all a lot lower than you were expecting, meaning you can afford to look for more experienced or niche writers who specialise in what you do.
Get a clear quote in writing before you agree to anything. Ensure it includes a contingency for re-writes so you know how much to expect these to cost. Generally speaking, the first one or two rounds of edits will be part of the project, with anything subsequent carrying an extra charge. It’s worth asking if there’s a limit on how many rounds of edits you can have before incurring extra charges.
My clients get two rounds of edits/re-writes. This gives the scope for them to ask for changes, for me to make them, and for them to check they’re fully happy before I do a final finesse.
Bear in mind that quotes are based on the scope of your project. If this changes, the cost will change. Your copywriter should inform you if you ask for anything that is going to change the costs, and give you the option of either adding on the additional work, or sticking to the plan and keeping the extra for a later date if you don’t currently have the budget for the extra.
How Many Copywriting Quotes Should You Get?
Collect a few quotes before you make a decision. It’s worth putting in a bit of time to find three or four you really like the look of, then comparing quotes. Just remember that the cheapest doesn’t always mean the best and the price of the quote isn’t always the best deciding factor.
Basing your decision purely on price will usually result in you ending up with the cheapest option, rather than the best for your business and goals.
Look for the quality of their writing, results they can demonstrate, and trust your gut.
Ask For A Project Outline…
You might also want to ask for a proposed outline of your project if it’s something very large or complex. It isn’t generally appropriate to request a full outline of a long-term content marketing strategy (putting that together is something we charge thousands for, we’re not doing it for free!). Instead, ask for an indication of the keywords that will be targeted, or the broad strokes of topics that will be covered – providing these should never be an issue!
If you have an idea for a book you want writing or an eCourse, an outline is 100% necessary so you get a good idea of the tone they’re likely to take. When you’re looking for someone to write your website, requesting a proposed sitemap and keyword research is always a good idea.
Set A Deadline…
Make sure you set a clear deadline for the completion of your project, and/or the delivery of key pieces of content.
If you’re having a new website created, your copywriter should be able to give you a clear timeframe – when to expect first drafts, when to expect re-writes, and when they will have completed everything.
For ongoing projects, like a full content marketing strategy, you should expect similar deadlines but on an ongoing basis. For example, if you’re having weekly articles written, and you’ve chosen to edit and approve each (you may prefer to leave it entirely to your writer to pen and publish content without checking it!), you’ll want to know:
- How far ahead articles will be drafted.
- When you can expect the first one.
- How long you’ll have to complete edits.
- When you can expect to see the final draft.
Once the initial work is done and the campaign launched you will have a repeating schedule of delivery, edits, and publishing on a weekly basis.
Being aware of these benchmarks helps you keep track of your project. Just bear in mind if you have a deadline that is set in stone and can’t be changed, make sure your writer is fully aware of this and agrees to it before you commence the project. Likewise, bear in mind that half of hitting these deadlines rests on you.
If it takes you two weeks to give feedback on every article your copywriter pens, and they’re expecting that feedback within two days, this will throw off your entire schedule. You need to ensure the plan is realistic for you to manage, as well as your writer.
It’s worth noting you don’t have to check and edit things. I always advise my clients to do so when we first start working together, as their feedback at this early stage is essential to developing their voice. But after a while, I generally have their brand voice nailed and a very good idea of what they do and don’t like.
They don’t need to check stuff anymore, and they feel confident in trusting me to simply write and schedule everything for them.
For a lot of clients, this is the goal! But at the start you are almost certainly going to have to put some time in, so be sure you’re completely clear on what you’re committing to, as well as what your writer is agreeing to deliver and when.
Sign A Contract…
This one can be a tough one for a lot of people because they feel like they’re tying themselves to a particular writer. What if you change your mind? What if you don’t like working with them? But the truth is that having a contract in place protects both you, and the writer you’re working with, and ensures a smoother, less stressful process for both of you.
When you work for yourself having some degree of certainty when it comes to your income is the holy grail. We all want contracts in place so we have security in knowing where our income is coming from for the foreseeable future.
If you’re considering hiring a copywriter and they’re not willing to sign a contract, that should be a huge red flag. The freelancer who doesn’t offer a contract is usually aware that they’re going to break their obligations to you at some point, and they don’t want it in writing.
From your perspective, it’s important to see the fine print before you agree to anything. A contract should include the scope of the work agreed to, and the price agreed upon for it, as well as any payment terms. It should also include a schedule or deadline, and the circumstances around which it’s acceptable for that schedule to change.
Finally, there should be clear information about when additional charges might apply, and how much they will be.
Making Sure You’re A Good Client For Your New Writer…
When you’re a copywriter’s favourite client, you’re in the best position possible to seriously boost your business. For one thing, you will never again need to worry about where new copy and fresh content is coming from.
For another thing, they will become as invested in your success as you are. Partly because you’re their favourite and they want to see you succeed because they love you. Partly because favourite clients are a joy to write for and we want more business from you!
There is a lot of value in making sure you’re a great client for your new copywriter once you hire them.
Having clients who are genuinely enthusiastic about their projects, and passionate when it comes to talking about them is ideal for most of us. The more excited you are about what we’re doing for you, the more invested we tend to get in it.
Personally, I thrive on creative energy, and when a client comes to me with a load of raw ideas and excitement, wanting me to hone that into profitable copy and content, it’s the best thing ever.
Clients like this also reply promptly to questions and give detailed feedback, which is essential to creating great flow in the project (both in terms of delivery and the actual copy itself).
Here are a few easy things you can do to ensure you’re a great client:
Brief Them Thoroughly At The Start…
Most copywriters have their own system for briefs. There may be a more formal, initial brief, with things getting more relaxed as they get to know you. Initially, you will need to outline the main objectives, tone of voice, etc. Later, the level of detail you need to provide is likely to drop as they get to know you better.
I have a few clients on retainers who send detailed briefs on articles to write. I have others who scribble a couple of bullet points on a napkin while they’re drinking their morning coffee and ping me over a photo of it.
However you’re briefing your writer, make sure you do it thoroughly at the start. If you want it to turn out a specific way, make sure they have those specifics upfront. Need a specific word count? Tell us. Want us to touch on certain key points in an article? Send them over. Have a particular author or influencer who has inspired you to ask for a subject? Send us the links so we can see what sparked your interest to begin with.
On the flipside, be understanding if you find the finished copy is missing something you didn’t ask for; we’re not psychic (well…I am a bit, but not for anything useful!).
You’ll find we’re more than happy to accommodate requests, but you have to ask!
Give Your Writer Creative Freedom…
While effectively briefing your copywriter with enough info to do the job well is vital, you can go overboard. The whole point of having someone else write your copy for you is getting the benefit of their creative flair and expertise. In an ideal world you would tell us:
- What you need your copy to achieve
- How you want it to make readers feel
- What action you want them to take
- And then give us the creative freedom to achieve that in whatever way we think best.
That’s what you’re paying us for, take full advantage of it!
Provide Good Feedback…
The first draft you receive of your copy isn’t going to be 100% perfect.
If we’ve been working together for a while, you’ll get to a point where this happens on occasion, but at the start, it’s just not a realistic expectation.
As I said, we’re not psychic.
There is always going to be some back and forth as you tell your writer what needs tweaking. If you’ve picked a copywriter who is a great fit for your business, and you’ve properly briefed them on what you want, your changes shouldn’t be extensive.
But changes are to be expected.
When you’re giving feedback, be as specific as you can. Commenting ‘this is no good’, or ‘I don’t like this part’ is thoroughly unhelpful. Explain why you don’t like it.
Don’t worry about our egos; a pro writer will set their ego aside and accept your feedback. They’ll be more than happy to make changes until you’re 100% happy. They do, however, need your feedback and suggestions to be constructive.
Likewise, you may get some pushback on your comments if you’ve asked for a change that will have potentially negative consequences. For example, if you’re asking to re-word something that has been phrased for keywords, changing it may impact the ability of the copy to rank.
Telling you this isn’t refusing to make the change, it’s simply making you aware there will be a negative impact, so you can make an informed decision.
If you say ‘Understood, change it anyway,’ that’s not a problem at all. So while you’re being specific and constructive in your feedback, please also try to be open to comments we make in return. Ideally, we want to create an easy dialogue that lets us go back and forth effortlessly. That’s difficult to do without good feedback and both sides having a willingness to discuss, rather than dictate 😉.
Introduce Your Copywriter to Your Designer…
Your marketing copy should complement your designs and vice versa. Introducing your copywriter to the designer who is creating the visual aspects of the project is always a great idea.
This is particularly important if you’re having the writer create copy for a new website. The closer they can work with the website developer/designer, the better.
You might also consider asking your copywriter for advice on who to work with as a designer/developer. I have a genius website developer I work with on a regular basis. We have a system we have used to create dozens of awesome websites. Because we have that rapport, the sites turn out far better than they would if copy and development happened separately.
Respect the Writer’s Experience…
A professional copywriter who has been doing their thing for years genuinely does know what they’re doing. They have an in-depth understanding of business and marketing.
Unless your profession is related to marketing or business development, they know more than you do in both these areas.
We spend all our time working with all types of businesses, creating all types of marketing campaigns. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. We know how to take complicated subjects and present them in a relatable, impactful, interesting way.
You will get the most out of your investment by listening to and following your copywriter’s advice, asking for their input, and carefully considering what they suggest.
This type of respectful interaction will also create a much better relationship with your copywriter.
Help Them Find More Clients…
Finally, there are a few super easy things you can do that will help your copywriter get other clients. This shows them that your relationship isn’t a one-way street: you’re invested in their success, just as they are in yours.
Generally speaking, these are effortless things you can do that take moments, but mean a lot to your writer:
- Refer them to other business owners, entrepreneurs and colleagues.
- Record a video testimonial for them (yes, video, it’s got far greater value to them than a written one!).
- Recommend them on LinkedIn.
- Allow them to add your project as a case study.
- Credit them for the work on your website.
- Follow them on social media and engage with their posts by liking, commenting, sharing etc.
- Add a link to their website on yours.
Pay In A Timely Fashion…
This shouldn’t really need mentioning, as it’s not an option, but you’d be amazed how many people think it is – pay your copywriter on time! Most copywriters are freelancers, their businesses can’t handle late payments, particularly not on big projects where the sums run into the thousands. We just don’t have the cashflow to do that without it causing issues! Making sure you pay your invoices or make your direct debit payments on the dates agreed is the polite, respectful, helpful way to build a great relationship.
Aside from anything else, if you reach a point where you need a bit of leeway we’re much more likely to give it if you’ve always paid on time in the past. The pandemic has proven this point quite vividly to a lot of people. For some clients I had zero issues getting something they needed done, and agreeing they could pay a little later than usual. Others, it was a hard no, because of their track record of making payments late!
Say Thank You!
Again, this should go without saying, but a lot of clients are so busy and so stressed they just don’t think about it. When you’re giving feedback, add a quick thank you. If you’ve got concerns or criticisms, by all means share them, but make sure you also mention the parts you loved, and how great the rest of it is.
It sounds silly, but the conversation can quickly become a source of endless negativity for your writer if you forget to mention the positives, and only ever speak to us about changes you want, or things you don’t like!
Once again, we’re not psychic – if you don’t tell us you like something, we don’t know!
Ready To Hire A Genius Copywriter?
If all of this advice has got you eager to get the ball rolling, drop me a line and let me know about your project. I’ll happily chat through your needs, let you know if I think we’d be a good fit and (if so) send you a quote…