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2.If you want quality, steer clear of “bidding” sites. There’s too many of them already, and more seem to be popping up all time. The online auction is a great concept for your old fishing equipment or clunker on cinder blocks, but not for a good freelance copywriter, designer, photographer or any other “creative service” professional. Sites like Elance.com, Guru.com and their many cousins allow service providers to whore themselves out for projects in a reverse auction where lowest bid wins. Unfortunately, there really is no winner. The freelance copywriter (or whoever) gets a fraction of fair market value for their work and client, unless they’re extremely lucky, will be stuck with a student, green amateur or someone who might not even speak English well—to say nothing about copy they’ll write.
3.Seek out freelance copywriters with online portfolios. Find freelance copywriters who have some kind of online portfolio. Go through it in detail. Try to get an idea of communications problem freelance copywriter had to solve and get a grasp on talent and thinking that went into creating finished copy. Then ask yourself, “If I was in market for something like this, would this make me more interested in learning about this product or want to buy it?” The work of a good copywriter will be obvious.
4.Judge by work, not product. You may have a great new product that everyone’s going to want, or an old product that everyone already has, but with a new feature or something. Now, your first instinct in finding someone who’s going to write copy to sell this product is to find someone who, if you’re selling underwater titanium door hinges, has written copy for underwater steel or plastic door hinges. Yes, too many marketers think if a freelance copywriter has only written for X and not Y, that they can’t write for Y. This kind of thinking is misguided. Again, go back to No. 3 and look at portfolio. Gauge talent. If they did a great job communicating something about X, you can bet they’ll be able to do same for Y. A freelance copywriter isn’t defined by product. He is defined by how he writes about that product.
These guidelines, along with a little “buyer beware” mentality, will help you wield Internet as powerful information tool it’s purported to be. You will find a good freelance copywriter.
Adam Barone is a freelance copywriter from the Boston area, who writes copy for such clients as The Timberland Company, Bank One, TJ Maxx, and other clients and ad agencies. Visit him at http://www.adambarone.com. Subscribe his e-newsletter, CopyTHINK at http://adambarone.com/mailinglist/?p=subscribe. ©Adam Barone 2005. All rights reserved. Online-only reprint rights granted as long as the article is published in its entirety, including links.