The Write Stuff – Blog

Jul 17 2011 7 Things You Need To Know Before Hiring A Copywriter
how to find a good copywriter

If you actually know what a copywriter does, you’re already doing well. Many people still seem to think it’s something to do with copyright © and the protection of intellectual property, instead of the act of writing of copy (copywriting).

But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post!

For those of you who are aware of what a copywriter does and are thinking of hiring one for the first time, here are some helpful hintsto make sure you get the most from the experience:

1. Know what you want

If you don’t know what you’re hoping to achieve with your copy, your copywriter will be equally lost.

There’s no point hiring a copywriter to send out an e-newsletter just because it’s what everyone else is doing. If you haven’t thought about who it’s aimed at, what sort of content it should have, and what you hope it to achieve (eg. more sales, increased brand awareness, expanded client base, etc.), then you’ll ultimately waste a lot of time and money.

Consider exactly what you want the copy to achieve and why.

2. Know your timeframe

It may seem logical to think it shouldn’t take long to write a 500 word article. After all, how long can it take to write 2 pages?

Well… it can take quite a while.

There are a number of stages and review processes which can be quite time consuming; it’s not just about getting the copy on the page, it’s about crafting and honing the copy until the message shines like a bright diamond.

Just like painting a room, there’s a lot of prep and hard work that goes into making the final coat look immaculate and flaw-free. If you leave your copy requirements to the last minute, the essential prep won’t get done and the results won’t look pretty.

Make sure you get in touch with your copywriter at the very outset of your project to ensure the best results.

3. Know your budget

How much you pay for a copywriter can vary phenomenally. Some places like elance or odesk can cost you next to nothing, or you can pay upwards of $200p/h for experienced specialty copywriters.

Of course, more often than not you get what you pay for.

If you’re prepared to pay hundreds (or even thousands) for web and print design, then the last thing you want to do is skimp on the copy. After all, the copy is what SELLS YOUR MESSAGE and it’s well worth paying to get it done right.

4. Know your target audience

“Everyone” is not your target audience and if you try to write for “everyone” your copy will suffer. The most effective copy is that which speaks to your audience in their own voice – which is why it’s so essential to find out what that voice is.

To determine who your target audience is, you need to consider many things, including:

  • The gender of your audience
  • Their age
  • Where they live
  • If they have families
  • Their income bracket
  • Their interests

Once you’ve established your target audience, it will be much easier for your copywriter to craft a message that hits all the right notes.

5. Know your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

What makes your business truly different from your competitors? If you think it’s excellent customer service, or matching prices, then think again. These claims are a dime a dozen.

What you really need to consider is what your customers can get from only doing business with you. Perhaps you’re a pet-friendly café, or your offer extended service warranties on your goods.

Finding your USP gives your copywriter the power to really make your business stand out from the crowd.

6. Know your mutual obligations

Do you know if you will own the copyright (yes the “©” copyright) for the finished copy? What will happen if you – or your copywriter – can’t complete the project? Who is liable for any errors after the copy is published? Are revisions included in the price?

A real pro will provide you with their Terms & Conditions before commencing a project and knowing exactly what rights and expectations exist up front can avoid a lot of unnecessary misunderstandings.

7. Know you can give honest feedback

Just because you may not feel confident writing your own copy doesn’t mean you can’t critique your copywriter. If you’re not happy with the way something is written, then it’s essential that you feel comfortable saying so.

Your copywriter is a professional (or at least I hope so!) and won’t take criticism personally. Instead it helps your copywriter produce an end result you’ll be delighted with.

If you’re made to feel uncomfortable critiquing the copy presented to you, then perhaps it’s time to find another copywriter.

Unsure of anything else? I’m happy to answer your questions.

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