You’ve already made the brilliant decision to use a copywriter (haven’t you?? If not, read this first).
Now, how do you get the most out of your investment by choosing a copywriter who will bring some whizz to your website or pizzazz to your press release?
There are plenty of copywriters out there and whether you’ve been recommended one or found one online, do your research to make sure they are the right choice for your business.
Copywriters can vary massively in quality, style and price and it’s going to cause a lot of time wasted in revisions (and potential cost) if you don’t like the finished words.
So do your homework and ask them the right questions in the first place:
What experience do they have in copywriting?
Anyone can turn their hand to copywriting – you don’t need a qualification or previous experience (but both help!) so make sure you sift out the experienced writer (did I mention my 20-year track record on Fleet St?) from the “I’ll have a go at this, it can’t be that hard” brigade. How long have they been in business, what led them to copywriting? Perhaps they have qualifications in journalism or PR … or perhaps they have a magical way with words.
The proof is in the pudding, so ask to see their portfolio and client testimonials/reviews.
Whilst a skilled copywriter should be able to write in a tone of voice that embodies each different client, they may have a distinct style that might or might not work for your business.
Find out what type of writing they specialise in.
Some copywriters get employed just to write headlines, others purely create sales letters. Find a copywriter who has experience that matches your project requirements, be it a blog post, an e-book, a website makeover or annual report writing.
What clients have they worked with before?
Are they used to working with a large team to research, collate and manage expectations? Have they worked in your industry – do they understand the technical side? Do they specialise in teasing out stories from entrepreneurs and start-ups?
Ask them what sort of information they need from you and how they go about writing it up.
A good copywriter is part interviewer, getting the gems out of their client, and part researcher, filling in the gaps and ensuring the finished piece really speaks to the target audience. You need to be prepared to spend a little time with them to get the best result.
What is their price/rate?
Too cheap or too expensive, alarm bells ring. A cheap hourly rate means nothing if they take twice as long to complete the brief. Try to get a price for the project and compare like for like if you are speaking to more than one copywriter.
How many revisions are included in the quote?
A slight amend here or there or a complete rejection of the first draft … will they keep to the original price or charge more if you want major changes? (Which comes back to making sure you select someone whose style you like in the first place – see point 2.)
What is their turnaround time/how soon can they finish your project?
Obvious really – all very well employing them and then missing your deadline because they forgot to mention they had three projects to finish first. The advantage of choosing a copywriter with a background as a journalist is that they have been schooled from day one that they will never, ever miss a deadline!
Check out their website, blogs and social media.
This will reflect their style of writing and hopefully show some previous work and recommendations.
Ultimately you should choose a copywriter you like and trust. You are asking them to stand in your shoes and tell the world all about you and your business. Find someone who understands you – it will make a real difference to your business.
If you fancy a chat to see if I’m the right copywriter for you, give me a call today on 01730 823366.
(And forgive me if I say you’re not the right client for me. If I’m not 100% certain I can do a brilliant job with your project, I’ll politely decline. For example, today I turned down a brief from a company with £10bn annual sales … because it was for their tobacco arm).
Related reading: Questions your copywriter should ask you