31 Mar

How to work with a copywriter

Should we hire a copywriter? It’s a question many businesses ask themselves when they’re faced with a complex or high-profile project, or a large volume of content that no-one in your team has time to write.

If you’ve worked with a good copywriter before, you know they can save you a lot of time and money – and headaches – when you’re under the pump. But if you’ve never outsourced your writing to someone you might be skeptical about whether it’s worth the investment.

Here are three questions I’ve come across from people who are new to copywriting.

  1. What if they don’t understand my business?

 A common concern is that someone who works outside your business won’t be able to write as well as people working in the business. But a good copywriter is like a chameleon – they absorb information and will adapt their style of writing to suit the content and your company’s unique tone of voice.

Of course, a copywriter won’t inherently understand all the nuances of your products or services and what you’re trying to achieve. That’s where a great brief comes in.

2. Why do I have to fill out a brief?

All copywriters start with a brief. This is a document that asks you questions about your objectives, the audience, the background to your project and what deliverables you want the copywriter to produce.

For some clients this can be an intimidating process. The brief can take a while to fill in, and you might not know all the answers. But as with anything else, you get out what you put in. The more information you can provide your copywriter, the better the copy will be. Examples of other projects, taglines or brand messages you want the copywriter to include, and your company writing style guide (if you have one) are all great things to include with your brief.

If you’re not confident filling in the brief yourself, ask your copywriter if they can go through it with you over the phone.

3. How much will it cost?

Copywriters generally charge in any (or all) of these four ways:

  • Number of words
  • Number of pages
  • Hourly rate
  • Daily rate

For example, they may use a word rate for a 300-word blog post and a daily rate for a longer-term project with lots of different deliverables.

It’s always a good idea to ask for a quote before you give your copywriter the go-ahead so you can make sure it’s within your budget. Most copywriters will provide you with a free quote before you start working with them. If they won’t do this, find one who will.

As with any profession, you’ll generally find that more experienced copywriters will charge more than ones who are just starting out. But they’re also more likely to produce higher quality copy and get your job done much faster (which is especially important if they’re charging by the hour or day).

Give it a go

The best way to work out if a copywriter is a good match for you is to trial them with a small, non-urgent piece of work. See what they’re like to work with, whether they get you and your business, and if you’re happy with what they produce. Maybe even try out several copywriters at the same time. Then when something urgent and high profile comes up, you’ll know exactly who to go to – and they’ll already understand your business and what you expect from them.

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