7 Big Tips For Hiring the Right Copywriter

interviewing for the right copywriterType “copywriting services” into Google and you’re sure to get a gazillion search results. That’s good: lots of choices. But also not so good -- even a bit daunting -- how do you go about choosing?  After all, this is an important decision. The right copywriter will make a huge difference to your results, and ultimately your bottom line.

Here are 7 tips for hiring the right copywriter:

1. The Right Copywriter Won’t Be Shakespeare or Dilbert

Naturally one of the first things you’ll want to do is take a look at some of the copywriter’s work. You might start with their website (assuming they have one). Do they present themselves professionally? What do you think of their own web copy? Most copywriters make samples of their work freely available. In some cases you might have to ask for it, but you should never sense any resistance. That would be a big red flag.

When you’re looking at samples, bear in mind that a good copywriter does not produce works of literary art -- the kind embellished with flowery language and flights of poetic eloquence. Nor do they write copy that reads like a technical manual or legal contract. The tone of their words should be conversational. It might even sound like an easy chat with a friend.

2. The Right Copywriter Will Be Responsive

A copywriter who is in demand will naturally be busy, so be reasonable with your expectations of response time. You may not get an answer to your first inquiry within the hour. If, however, you find them very difficult to get hold of, or you don’t receive a reply for days, that does not bode well for your future working relationship.

A good rule of thumb is that you should expect to hear from the copywriter within 24 hours of your phone call or email, and within a week for snail mail (if anyone still uses that).

3. The Right Copywriter Will Have Questions for You

Don’t be surprised if you feel like your prospective copywriter is suddenly interviewing YOU. This is a good sign.

In order to get the best results, your relationship needs to be collaborative. The right copywriter “digs for gold” (see my article on “What a Good Copywriter Will Do For You”). They will base their writing on solid research, which will naturally begin with your perspective -- you are the world’s greatest expert on your business. They will be asking you for as much background material as you can give them. So it’s natural for them to have questions about the job even before they get started.

4. The Right Copywriter Won’t Be the Cheapest In Town

As the old saying goes, “If you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys.”

It’s true that you can go to a dozen internet sites where “freelancers” offer their services at bargain basement prices. Ridiculous prices. But you get exactly what you pay for. Many of the writers setting the price bar on these sites live and work in developing countries, and in many cases English is not even their first language. Their “training” in copywriting (if they have any at all) is likely to have been an ebook they bought online for a couple of dollars.

Legitimate copywriters don’t need to hang out a shingle on these sites, and they’re not interested in competing for work that doesn’t pay reasonable rates. Plenty of business owners and executives are ready to pay for quality work for the right copywriter.

At the end of the day, what does it matter if you save money on cheap copy if it doesn’t get you any results? That is false economy. You’re actually wasting your money, not saving it.

5. The Right Copywriter Will Be Realistic About When They Can Deliver

You should be wary of a copywriter who promises to have your copy to you by “tomorrow”. For one thing, that would indicate someone who has no other work, and if that’s the case you’d want to know why.

It would also indicate that this copywriter is not going to take the necessary time to deliver quality copy. It’s going to take more than a day just for them to ask you all the right questions, and then research your product and your market to adequately understand it. Then they have to do the writing. Just coming up with the right headline alone can be very time consuming. Then every word of every line needs to be strategically considered.

Putting words on a page isn’t that hard. Grabbing a reader’s attention and leading them all the way to the point of action is another thing entirely.

6. The Right Copywriter Will Be Interested In Your Results

If your copywriter doesn’t care what happens after they deliver the copy and get paid, you might look elsewhere next time. The right person will want to know that you’re satisfied, and even more than that, they’ll want feedback about the results of their work. They might even suggest “tweaks” to the copy to improve the results, or want you to run some split tests on different headlines.

7. The Right Copywriter Will Hand Over What You’ve Paid For

There has been a trend for some copywriters to suggest that their work remains their intellectual property. In other words, you are paying to “rent” the copy from them. So, if you want to use it in a different context, or run your ad a second time, or send your letter out to another list, you have to pay them again.

Now, there are some large direct mail companies who do pay copywriters “royalties”. They have a pre-arranged agreement with the copywriter that if their sales letter becomes the “control” and is mailed multiple times, the copywriter will be paid a bonus royalty calculated either by the volume of future mailings or even as a share of revenue generated. This is legitimate, as it is part of the agreement up front.

But, other than royalty agreements like this, you should expect to own the rights to use the copy you have paid for however you see fit. So, ask your prospective copywriter whether or not you will “own” what they produce for you.

 

There you have it. 7 tips for hiring the right copywriter, which I hope will be a help to you.

These are some of the best practices I operate by in my relationship with clients, and if you’re looking for a copywriting service I’d love to work with you! Get in touch with me.

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2 Comments

  1. […] (Check out my article "7 Tips For Hiring the Right Copywriter") […]

  2. Should I Hire a Small Business Copywriter?

    […] small business copywriter will want to collaborate and work as part of your team. (See my article "7 Tips for Hiring the Right Copywriter") To do a great job, they’re going to have to learn a lot about your business, but they will also […]

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