Hiring A Copywriter: Everything You Need To Know
October 10, 2022
In our latest guest post, Eleanor Margaret takes you through everything you need to know about Hiring A Copywriter for your website.
It’s no secret that words can be a powerful tool for business.
They can transform a faceless corporation into something that sounds human and feels trustworthy. They can increase a website’s visibility on search engines, and turn a stranger into a lifelong customer.
And when it comes to your bottom line: words have the power to make your business more money.
Everyone knows it. You know it – that’s why you’re here. Your competitors know it too, how else do you think they climbed the Google ranks so fast?
Whether you’re refreshing your website, developing a content marketing strategy, or in need of a killer email marketing campaign – you’re going to need some powerful words. You just might not have the time, resources, or expertise to write them yourself.
Enter the copywriter – just the crafty wordsmith you need to turn your browsers into buyers.
Yet, the prospect of hiring a freelance copywriter can be daunting. After all, you’re trusting someone else with your brand’s reputation. What’s to say they’ll get it right?
Well, with the help of this handy guide, nothing will be left up to guesswork and your brand will receive the copy it deserves. Expect your burning questions to be answered and your doubts reassured!
We’ll be covering:
- Do you really need a copywriter?
- What to look for when hiring a copywriter.
- How to make sure you get the results that you want.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
1. Do you really need to hire copywriter?
Now, I may not be a mind reader, but I can guess that the thought of writing your own copy has probably crossed your mind. It makes sense – no one is more qualified to talk about your business than you! But before you plough ahead and start tapping away at those keys, let’s first consider what’s at stake…
The pros and cons of DIY copywriting
Pros of writing your own copy:
- It costs less.
- You can update, edit, and revise your copy as much as you like, whenever you like.
- You’re an expert on your own business and your own industry.
Cons of writing your own copy:
- It takes time. Especially if you’re new to it (a good copywriter has at least 3 years of experience under their belt).
- Bad copy can lead to a crash in clicks, leads, sales, and revenue. Can you really afford to get it wrong?
- While you’re slaving away trying to perfect your copy, you could’ve been spending time developing other aspects of your business.
Doing your own copywriting is a great opportunity to learn a useful skill that can supercharge your business – however, not every business can afford to lose valuable time and resources on an experiment that puts revenue on the line.
And if you have previously had a go at writing your own copy and content, here are some of the not-so-subtle signs that it’s time to draft in a professional…
Signs you’re in need of a good copywriter
- Your existing content doesn’t sound human and it doesn’t feel like you.
- Your website and email campaigns aren’t generating enough clicks, leads, and conversions.
- You struggle to come up with content ideas and writing blog posts takes hours.
- You don’t have enough time to create content.
- Your competition is crushing it at the top of search results and across social media.
- …You just don’t like writing!
The right copywriter will help you fulfil your business’s potential, do your product or service justice, and see you give your top competitors a run for their money.
What does a copywriter do?
Copywriters come in handy for an array of projects, and you will want to consider hiring them for:
- Website copywriting.
- SEO writing.
- Content marketing.
- Social media marketing.
- Email marketing.
- Brand voice.
- Advertising copywriting.
Once they’re hired, you can expect them to:
- Interpret your creative briefs and growth targets.
- Research your market and industry.
- Proceed to develop content for your website and marketing channels that will achieve your desired goals.
They’re a valuable addition to a business, so let’s get into how you can go about finding the right one for you!
2. What to look for when hiring a copywriter
Copywriters can vary in terms of what they write, and how they work, and each one has their own unique sense of style. This section is going to help you make sure you hire one that aligns with you and your business – so that you can get the best results.
The different types of copywriters
Some copywriters specialise in a specific type of copy or industry, while others are more flexible across the board. The first step to hiring the right copywriter for you is knowing which type of writer your project requires.
Types of copywriters include:
- Website copywriters (these typically write web page copy and blog posts).
- SEO copywriters (these will optimise your blog posts and web pages with keyword-rich copy, and organically build your link profile with guest posts).
- Advertising copywriters (hire these writers for slogans, headlines and taglines to feature on posters and billboards. They also write sales emails, telemarketing scripts, and advertorials).
- Publication copywriters (writers that specialise in books, newspapers, and pamphlets).
- Landing page copywriters (masters at crafting copy for landing pages that are optimised to make your desired conversion).
- Sales funnel copywriters (writing copy for each touchpoint of the customer journey, tactically nudging leads towards a purchase)
Most copywriters are multi-taskers that take on work in website copy, SEO, landing pages, and advertising. However, specific projects (such as sales funnels), or specific industries (like finance), may require you to find a professional that works exclusively in those areas.
SEO or no?
A key question to consider when hiring a copywriter is whether or not you need one that is knowledgeable on search engine optimization. SEO is what makes your website visible. Your website can be a masterpiece, but without continual SEO efforts – no one will be able to find it.
You may already have an SEO expert working on the technical side of your site, but this is no replacement for an SEO copywriter. An SEO copywriter’s number one objective is to produce valuable content that your audience will enjoy. They do this while using target keywords and best formatting practices to get your website in front of your target audience on search engines.
Not every project requires a copywriter that understands SEO, but it’s a must for any content that is going on your website.
6 questions to ask when hiring a copywriter
Now that you know exactly what type of copywriter you need, it’s time to find out if they will be a good fit for your project. This helps ensure a positive outcome and can be done by asking 6 simple questions.
1. What is their experience?
This question is all about making sure your project will be in safe hands. You want to know how long the professional has been working, who they have worked for, and if they have any relevant experience in your industry. Ask to take a look at some examples of their work to see if it resonates with what you have in mind.
2. What’s their process?
Hiring a freelancer that works remotely can feel a bit like a shot in the dark. It benefits both of you if you get on the same page about their process as early as possible. Ask how they would usually approach a project like yours.
3. What’s their pricing structure?
You want to know how much it’s going to cost. Copywriters have varying pricing structures, some charging per hour, while others charge per word. Ask how they charge and how they expect you to pay. Find out more about the cost of hiring a copywriter in the next section.
4. What’s their availability and turnaround time?
When can they start your project? If you need your website finished by next week and your copywriter’s booked up for the month – you probably need to keep looking or adjust your timelines. However, you’ll find that most copywriters are pretty flexible and sympathetic to time-sensitive projects.
5. How do they like to communicate?
Communication is essential to the success of a project, so make sure you ask how they prefer to do it. Some might be happy to pick up the phone whenever you call, but most copywriters prefer to have more structured communications. Whether it’s email, WhatsApp, Zoom, or Asana – find a method that you both can agree on.
6. Do they have a confidentiality policy?
This is important if you require your copywriter to work with sensitive material. Ask them if they have a confidentiality policy, how they handle sensitive material, and what measures they take to protect your information.
All of the above questions will be welcomed by any copywriter, so don’t be shy when you make your enquiry!
The cost of hiring a copywriter
Before you go ahead and secure a copywriter for your project, let’s quickly talk about how much they cost.
The cost of copywriters can vary dramatically.
The pricing structure starts with content produced by content mills and AI robots and ends with industry-leading specialists. Just like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. Most find this out the hard way.
Cheap copy can end up costing much more when the end product requires another professional to edit out the grammar mistakes and make it read like real English.
You don’t have to hire the most expensive professional on the market, but you do want to hire one whose samples show their work stands the test of time. You want your copy to represent where your business is headed. You don’t want copy that’ll need to be replaced when you outgrow it in 6 months.
Pricing also varies depending on the type of copywriting you require. For instance, website copy and advertising copy will usually cost more per word than a blog post.
Ultimately, the one thing you should aim for is a clear up-front quote from your copywriter. This ensures that you are both on the same page and there will be no nasty surprises or disputes when the work is complete.
For instance, if you require 8 pages of website copy. Your copywriter should be able to provide you with a ballpark figure based on their rate (eg. £0.20p per word) and how much copy they estimate you need on each page. Make sure to ask whether edits and revisions are included in that price. It is also normal for copywriters to ask for a percentage of their price up-front.
3. How to make sure you get the copywriting results you want
You’ve found the right type of copywriter for your project and seen their impressive portfolio of samples – but now they have to turn your aims and ideas into some actual copy.
Of course, good copywriters will be able to whip up something pretty spectacular from even the most bare-bones brief. But that doesn’t make them mind readers. If you’ve got some specifics in mind for your project, the brief is your chance to get this across.
Your guide to writing an effective copywriting brief
An effective brief provides a copywriter with an in-depth understanding of your business, your audience, and what you want to achieve with this project. The more detail you provide, the less guesswork is required on their behalf. There’s also less room for misunderstandings and mistakes.
Put your own brief together quickly and efficiently by following my copywriter-approved list of what to include.
1. Details about your business
- The name of your business.
- A plain English description of what you do.
- What sets you apart from your competitors?
- Detail your brand voice (if you have one). This is the perfect time to provide your house style guide, brand bible, and tone of voice guidelines. If you don’t have these, it helps to offer a few adjectives that describe your brand’s personality, tone, and where you sit in the market.
- Top competitors and any other notable businesses you’re comparable to or inspired by.
2. Your target audience
- Who is your target audience? What’s their age range, location, gender, etc? Include as much information here as you think is relevant.
- What’s their problem that you solve?
- Include any links to what customers say about your product, such as reviews, testimonials, data, or social proof.
3. Your project
- What you need them to write.
- The objective (eg. be more visible on search engines).
- All relevant information about your business (existing website, supporting documents etc).
- Points that must be included in the copy.
- Your main call to action – what action do you want the reader to take after reading the copy?
- Any SEO keywords you want to be included. Or let your copywriter know that you require them to carry out keyword research.
- Any word limits or design constraints that the copywriter will need to bear in mind.
Follow a roadmap
Remember earlier when I said that you and your copywriter should get on the same page about the process? Your brief is also the perfect opportunity to nail down a roadmap that takes you from brief to final product.
This roadmap takes into account your copywriter’s personal approach, while also considering your business’s own deadlines and timeframes. It allows you to have peace of mind that your copy will be complete by the time you need it.
These roadmaps can vary from project to project, but I’d be sure to work backwards from your hard deadline, allowing enough time for 2 drafts and any required edits.
Develop a relationship with your copywriter
When you find a good copywriter, it’s important to keep them close.
They’ve now got experience working with you and writing for your business. Hiring a new one could mean losing consistency across your brand and your messaging.
Plus, there’s a plethora of ways that copywriters can help boost your business – whether that’s bolstering your SEO efforts with weekly blogs, or drafting up a highly convincing sales email when you need it. They’re also a valuable source of insight, expertise, and advice.
Copywriters exist to drive your business in the right direction, so don’t let them be the ones that got away! Be polite, write helpful briefs, and make your payments on time.
Badly written content is bad for business – the internet is brimming with lots of other things your target audience can go and read about instead of you! So hiring a copywriter to produce high-quality, engaging, and high-converting content for your business is an investment that’s worth your while.
Hopefully, our guide to hiring a copywriter has provided you with the framework you need to achieve truly great results. It leaves no room for guesswork or compromise, and the result is copy that feels like ‘you’, attracts your ideal customers, and provides real ROI.
So what are you waiting for? Go get the copy that your brand deserves now!
Eleanor Margaret is a copywriter and SEO specialist. She works with B2B and B2C businesses across the UK to craft optimised and engaging copy that converts.
Hiring A Copywriter: Further Reading
Many thanks for taking the time to read this article on hiring a copywriter. If you found this valuable, you may also like to read our post on How to get Great WordPress SEO with the Yoast SEO Plugin.
If you are a copywriter or guest blogger and would like to contribute to our website for your portfolio, please take a look at our Top Tips for Guest Bloggers.