Continued from page 1
Good copywriting does not come cheaply — you'll find writers who charge anywhere from $50 - $150 per hour and up. You'll pay more for an experienced writer, one with a particular specialty, or one who's also a proficient editor. (Many writers are also great editors, but not all writers are editors, and vice versa.) Some writers will even arrange for your piece to get a final review by a professional proofreader. (A very good idea, since there are almost always a few errors that no one catches until last minute.)
7. Work on more than a handshake.
True writing pros will give you an agreement they've drawn up for you. However, you'll occasionally find yourself having to draft an agreement for project. This doesn't have to be complex — a simple letter of agreement that you both sign should do fine. Be sure to include project size, number of revisions included (if applicable), timetable, and agreed fee (this can be a flat fee or hourly rate).
And don't forget to ask about what's NOT included. For example,many writers charge extra for in-person meetings, research time, and weekend or rush work. You should also expect to pay an upfront retainer. Serious writers charge one-third to one-half of total project fee upfront, and many won't begin your project until they have signed agreement and check in hand. And if you have sensitive or proprietary information, don't hesitate to have your writer sign a non-disclosure agreement.
8. Give your writer background info at start.
I've often heard story of a writer being hired for a large project, and first thing she's asked to do is come in and interview several principals of company. After several days of interviews, writer is then handed company's annual report, previous brochures, and marketing plan.
If this background info had been given up front, client could have saved hours of time and money! At beginning of your project, pass on any and all previous brochures or sales kits, direct mail, Web site URLs, annual reports, research results, or business or marketing plans.
9. Appoint one person as your "project captain."
Appoint one person at your company as project captain. If you allow too many people in your organization to work with writer directly, each of them will likely have a different opinion of copy and request different edits from your writer. She may be forced to make many unnecessary revisions, adding time and cost to your project.
If you need to involve multiple reviewers in process, have your project captain handle internal reviews and edits and decide which ones supercede others. Then give your writer one master copy that includes all edits to be made. Also, be sure to involve your final decision maker early on, be it your CEO or board of directors. This gives your writer clear direction and avoids costly revisions down road.
10. Give constructive criticism.
Although copywriters have egos of steel and are accustomed to criticism, make yours constructive for best results. "This paragraph just doesn't work" isn't nearly as effective as "What we need to do here is stress benefits of non-skid surface." Also, tell her what parts you do like so she can emulate them elsewhere. And of course, everyone loves to know when they've done a good job. If you like her work, be sure to share that with her.
11. Don't discount "chemistry."
You need to feel comfortable with your writer in order to work effectively together. Take time to find a great copywriter whom you truly like and develop a good working relationship together. You'll get top-quality work that will help your business thrive. And you'll have a skilled and knowledgeable copywriter on call for your next communications effort.
Alexandria Brown is president of AKB Marketing Communications. Her FREE monthly e-zine gives "how-to" tips on writing compelling copy for Web sites, brochures, and e-zines. Learn how to attract new clients and strengthen your customer relationships! Subscribe today at http://www.akbwriting.com or by e-mailing AKBMarCom- On@lists.webvalence.com