11 Things You MUST Know Before Hiring a Copywriter

Written by Alexandria Brown

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 outrepparttar 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 howrepparttar 108213 relationship typically works and ways to helprepparttar 108214 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 streamliningrepparttar 108215 writing process is determining repparttar 108216 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 wantrepparttar 108217 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 giverepparttar 108218 creative process ample time. Count on going through one or two revisions as your writer refinesrepparttar 108219 piece's angle and conveysrepparttar 108220 key benefits of what you're promoting.

3. Make surerepparttar 108221 writer you hire has written forrepparttar 108222 medium you want. Let's say you need someone to re-energizerepparttar 108223 copy on your Web site. A freelancer who has only written magazine articles won't likely haverepparttar 108224 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 findrepparttar 108225 right person — it will save you many headaches downrepparttar 108226 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 repparttar 108227 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 repparttar 108228 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!

Somebody's Distributing Your Copyright Content Illegally? Know Your Facts Before You Accuse

Written by June Campbell

Is someone distributing your software or other copyright content illegally overrepparttar Internet? It's possible. It happens. If you can prove your case, you have grounds for legal action.

BUT -- before making yourself look foolish and creating enemies, have your facts straight. A reasonable understanding of Internet technology can prevent you from ending up with egg on your face.

Take this situation. I've changed names to protectrepparttar 108212 guilty.

A representative of an online business emailed me saying, "It has been brought to my attention that you have maderepparttar 108213 "something.com" public download files freely available for download by FTP from your web site. Would you please let us know immediately what is going on and what your justification is for doing this."

First mistake. Ifrepparttar 108214 files are "public download files", then what isrepparttar 108215 problem? Public download files are freely available.

However, since I had never heard of their software, I responded with a request thatrepparttar 108216 company rep show merepparttar 108217 link or at least provide a screen capture ofrepparttar 108218 alleged FTP activity.

I received an apologetic email fromrepparttar 108219 company rep saying that she could not locate a link to her software from my site. "Perhaps your site has been confused with someone else's," she explained. Second mistake. If you're making an allegation of this nature, know whererepparttar 108220 problem can be found and be ready to present evidence torepparttar 108221 other party. You look more than a little incompetent if you can't back up your claim inrepparttar 108222 most elementary way.

A few hours later, a third email arrived. This time,repparttar 108223 company rep accused me of being untruthful and threatened legal action. She then backed up her case withrepparttar 108224 following URL:

ftp://www.nightcats.com/pub/users heirfiles/

Third mistake.

Sure enough, "theirfiles" were available for download at this link. And, sure enough, www.nightcats.com is my site domain. HOWEVER, hadrepparttar 108225 company rep had a basic understanding of FTP (File Transfer Protocol), she would have understood that a "pub" directory is "public" -- and thereforerepparttar 108226 URL had nothing to do with my site.

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