I flippin’ love being a copywriter. Knuckling down at the keyboard to be the “sales person behind a typewriter” for my clients is rewarding, challenging and incredibly addictive.
After cuddling puppies, finding unexpected money in a pair of old jeans and making someone laugh until they snort, writing copy that gets my clients more customers is the best feeling in the world.
However not everyone feels that way.
In fact, there are people out there who are very suspicious of copywriters, particularly businesses that have never hired a copywriter before (and those who have had a bad experience). You see, one of the challenges you’re faced with when trying to find a copywriter is that just about anyone can throw up a website and call themselves a copywriter (as can business coaches, marketing coaches, web designers etc.)
And if you’re not used to working with copywriters, you might not be familiar with how the relationship should work.
I’ve worked with clients who have not had great experiences with copywriters, and whilst it’s been a joy to change their mind about how things can work, it’s frustrating to think that money has been lost learning that lesson.
So I put together my 5 top tips when it comes to choosing and comparing copywriters.
Listen To Recommendations
One of the best ways to get a flavour of how someone works is to ask around. This is a great way to find out what someone was like to work with and get honest opinions on how easy they were to get in touch with, whether they answered questions and how well they researched the project etc.
Ask people you trust who they know and have used but remember to consider what niche and industry the copywriter works in. If your friend sells financial products swears by their copywriter and you sell cookery tips, they might not be the copywriter for you. Which brings me to…
Look For Someone Who Knows Your Industry
Some copywriters may say that it is just as easy for them to write about beavers as it is about cars and that may be true. But if you can find someone who is already writing copy in your industry or in your style of work, you’re going to be working with someone already familiar with your target market, with your style of services and it makes big shortcuts all round.
Look At Their Portfolio
If a copywriter has no portfolio online and won’t supply you with samples of previous work then be wary. That’s not to say you can’t find an awesome copywriter who is just starting out. This can sometimes be the best find because you can get real talent and enthusiasm at their entry level prices. If you are talking to someone without any form of portfolio they should be very happy to offer you a spec piece, or sample written just for you. However, if a copywriter has an online portfolio that you can view, a request for a sample could be seen as trying to get free work so if this is the case and they decline to do a spec piece, it doesn’t mean they’re not good, they’re probably just guarding their time because they’re booked up with other projects.
Ask about Availability
If you have an urgent project, it’s best to let a copywriter you’re considering know about it up front. Most good copywriters are booked weeks or months in advance and there’s nothing worse than spending time finding the perfect person only to discover they can’t do it.
See If They Give A C**p
Your copywriter is hopefully doing what they do because they love it and if you’ve picked someone writing within your industry then they should really love work within that niche. If you talk to your copywriter and they’re a bit nonplussed, or their emails are stand offish then beware. Whilst some people are shy on the phone, you expect copywriters to convey their interest in your project in the emails you’re exchanging.
Hiring a copywriter isn’t the best move for every business. Most small businesses when they start can really benefit from having to write their own sales copy. But when it is the right time for you to choose a copywriter, hopefully this article will help.
Tom Ewer says
Hey Amy! I’d have to pick out recommendations and portfolio as the two most important aspects – everything else *should* fall into line.
The best shortcut for finding just about any service provider is those golden recommendations… 🙂
Great post Amy, I love the fact you’re advising people to make an educated decision and go with what’s right for them and their situation.
Having recently moved from arts journalism to copywriting for a local creative agency, I don’t have a portfolio site set up as yet as most of the work I’ve done is behind the scenes. Hopefully once I have a few more projects/clients under my belt I’ll be able to tick a few more of these boxes.
Congrats on the move to copywriting, you might not have a portfolio for copywriting projects, but your style is there for people to see on your blog (i’m glad you’re not giving up by the way – 6 months is awesome! And the overwhelm, confusion etc…? it’s been nearly 3 years and this business can still make me cry one minute and feel on top of the world the next)