So you're considering hiring copywriting help for your next brochure, Web site, or marketing project. Congratulations! You should get great results if you hire a pro to do it right.
Many business owners and marketing professionals have valid concerns about letting an outsider develop their content. After all it's your business, you know it best, and your image is critical. However, you're wrapped up in your business every day. A good copywriter can see your business in a new light, draw out key benefits of your products and services, and communicate that excitement to your clients and prospects.
Working with a writer isn't a complicated ordeal, however it will benefit you tremendously to become familiar with how relationship typically works and ways to help process move along smoothly. So, here are my top 11 tips on how to choose and work with a copywriter:
1. Understand your mission beforehand.
A crucial factor in streamlining writing process is determining principal points you need to communicate before you bring in a writer. Who is your target audience? What is your message? What is unique about your company? In what type of tone do you want to speak to your reader? What type of response do you ideally want reader to make? Having this information agreed upon before you get a writer involved will save you unnecessary copy revisions and keep your costs down.
2. Develop a realistic schedule.
Yes, you've heard this all your life, but haste makes waste. Avoid hastily hiring a copywriter and dumping a rush job on her. Not only will you not have time to thoroughly check her experience and references, but, no matter how wonderfully talented she is, her first drafts will not be "fully cooked." This is because copywriters need time to let words and ideas simmer.
Most writers will request a few weeks to develop your copy, so set a realistic schedule to give creative process ample time. Count on going through one or two revisions as your writer refines piece's angle and conveys key benefits of what you're promoting.
3. Make sure writer you hire has written for medium you want. Let's say you need someone to re-energize copy on your Web site. A freelancer who has only written magazine articles won't likely have skills to create content for a dynamic Web site. She's probably not proficient at breaking-up copy into easily digestible bits, integrating hyperlinks that entice your users to take action, and keeping your end-user in mind to plan a friendly, easily- navigable site. She may be able to learn how, but you'll be paying for her slow ramp-up speed. Take time instead to find right person it will save you many headaches down road.
4. Experience within your industry isn't always necessary.
"So you've never written for a _______ company before?" I'veheard many prospects say. Don't worry. A writer's ability to write well for medium is more important than her having prior experience in your industry.
Many writers are true generalists and write just as well for an edgy new media start-up as they do for a giant hospital network. They're very proficient at diving into your business, learning it inside and out, and churning out great prose to entice your target market. Now of course, if you're producing a technically oriented business-to- business Web site or marketing piece, you may want to hire a writer with experience in both your project's medium and your industry. If you find a good one, hold on tight. You've struck gold!
5. Ask for references, and contact them.
All writers can show you samples of well-written material, but how do you know if they'll work to understand your communication needs, meet deadlines, and act professionally in front of clients? Any great copywriter should have an ample list of references that she can share with you. Be sure to contact at least two of them, and ask them about writer's weaknesses as well as her strengths.
6. You get what you pay for.
It amazes me how businesspeople will drop thousands of dollars on Web or print design and hesitate to spend half as much on great copy. Pictures and design enhance your message, but jeez folks
the writing IS your message!