There are certain things I’ve come to learn about being a copywriter over the last couple of years. First, it’s very easy to underestimate how long a project will take and how much to charge for that project. Second, if I don’t make it clear to potential clients what the process is, then miscommunications and unclear boundaries start causing problems. Hey, I never said I was perfect! Running a business has been an enormous learning curve for me, too. What I’ve learned from both these things is that it comes down to me not telling you what to expect. And that’s all on me. Which is why I’ve put together this post detailing the 9 things you need to know about hiring a copywriter. That way there’s no excuse to say I haven’t already told you! 😉
#1: Have a realistic schedule
I’ll be honest; I’m terrible at saying ‘No’ when someone asks if I can do something in the next week. It’s a weakness of mine, but I’m working on it! So, it’s useful if you go into your search for a copywriter with a realistic schedule and deadline in mind. Shock fact! Writing your copy is not a quick and easy job! Especially if you want it done well. And there’s a good chance your chosen copywriter already has several clients and projects in progress when they agree to take on your project.
So, don’t leave your project until the last minute. Make sure you’re getting in touch well ahead of your chosen deadline to ensure you get the excellent quality copy you want and need for your business.
#2: Not your niche? That’s ok!
It might seem crucial that a copywriter should have written for your industry or niche before. But I promise it’s less important than you might think.
The thing is, other than writing, copywriters are also insanely good at researching. Yes, I’m saying you pay us to while away our time falling down internet rabbit-holes or secretly stalking competitors on LinkedIn. But it’s legitimate – FACT. Because we will dig and dig and dig to make sure we understand a subject thoroughly before we even start writing about it. And don’t forget you’ll get the opportunity to review everything I’ve written before it’s published too, in case you’re still not sure!
Ultimately, it’s more important that your copywriter can write for your audience in the language and voice that they’ll understand. Whatever your niche, any copywriter will be able to do precisely that.
#3: Copywriting isn’t a one-way street
Let me be honest here. If you tell me you want me to write you a 500-word piece about llamas before disappearing into the internet ether without a whisper of guidance, you’re not going to get the article you expect. Sure, I can write about llamas, but WHAT do you want me to talk about specifically? Because I’m sure you’ve got thoughts of your own about how this article should look.
What I’m saying is, the more you give your copywriter at the start of your project, the better a job we will do.
I can almost hear the groan as I type this, though. Worrying about all the time you’re going to have to spend writing notes and collating information. Well, stop, because it shouldn’t be that difficult. Bullet points, links to articles that have inspired your topic, quick notes, even voice memos. These are all ways in which you can give your copywriter a helping hand to make sure they’re writing the piece you want them to.
#4: Not all copywriters write the same thing
Just as there are different types of photographers out there (think weddings, branding, food photographers etc.), the same is true of copywriters. Not all copywriters write blog posts, for example. Some specialise in technical writing; some write social media content or advertising copy. It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Because each copywriter will have their strengths and weaknesses, so make sure you’re hiring the right person for your needs by being clear on the type of writing you need them to do from the very beginning.
#5: Be clear on pricing
There are a myriad of ways in which copywriters charge for their services. Some charge by the word, others by the hour, still others by project. So, be clear on this before you get started as it can be a bit of a shock if you don’t discuss it before booking.
I’m a fan of pricing by project, and I know a great majority of copywriters who work the same way. The benefit is that you know exactly how much it’s all going to cost and precisely what you’ll be getting at the end of the project.
#6: Get ready for the inquisition!
As a group of people, copywriters are a nosy bunch. It’s part of our job to be! The more we ask you, the more you can tell us. That means we can write far more for you and make it all sound much more like you and your business.
So, get ready for the hard questions. Things like ‘Who is your ideal client?’ and ‘Why should they buy from you? No, REALLY, why should they buy from YOU?’. We send you lengthy questionnaires, hold meetings that seem like you’re being interviewed and we dig and dig and dig. Yep, we’re pretty annoying, but it’s for a greater purpose, I promise!
#7: Prepare to be challenged
When you’re paying a copywriter to write for your business, you’re paying for more than words on a screen. Our unique position allows us to look at your business from a much broader perspective, and it may be that we see some areas where you need some guidance.
For example, if you come to us and say you need a blog post written from a particular angle, we might say ‘Sure, that sounds good, but what about writing it from THIS perspective instead?’
We’re not trying to boss you about, I promise. The advice comes from years of experience and understanding how businesses and marketing work. So, it’s worth trusting your copywriter and taking their advice.
#8: Know how to critique well
Every copywriter knows they might not nail it the first time. That’s why edits and changes are all a part of the process. But saying ‘I don’t like it’ when you’ve been sent a draft of copy is not helpful for me to make the changes you want. Try to be specific and clear, and explain exactly what you’re looking for. Feel free to show me some examples from elsewhere if that’ll help. Ultimately, the clearer you are in your feedback, the better a job I can do for you on the rewrite. Don’t worry. You won’t offend me!
At the same time, you should understand that I may counter your critique with reasons why what I’ve done will work better than what you’re suggesting. It doesn’t always happen, but if I’m saying why my way will work better, that comes from experience so try to trust that!
#9: Consider copy before design
If you’re having a new website built, consider getting your copy written before you start getting a website designed. This isn’t an ego thing, I promise! It’s much easier to design a website around good copy than it is trying to fit copy into a set layout on a webpage.
Of course, if you’ve already started the design process, speak to me about that and put me in touch with your web designer. I’m always more than happy to work together with them to get things looking amazing for you.
Now you know everything there is to know about hiring a copywriter! In which case, if you’re ready to chat about your project, I’d love to hear from you. I have availability for new projects commencing in November, and I’d love to chat with you about your plans.