Tips for Hiring a Copywriter


You’re almost there with your product or service. You’ve thought about the ad copy, but you realize you need a copywriter now. You want to hire someone to share your product the best possible first impression with potential customers.

This significant decision will determine how easy or difficult the rest of your quest will be. I sincerely hope the information presented here will make hiring and collaborating with your copywriter a breeze.

Concern that the person you hire to write your copy won’t be fully invested in your company’s success is a significant barrier to hiring outside help.

You may have conceived the idea, collaborated with the team behind the product’s development, and overseen its release to the public. The most challenging part is entrusting your “baby” to someone else’s care. Copywriters have historically not been accorded the same respect as other professionals. Everyone thinks they have a better idea than their copywriters, but few argue with their mechanics or doctors.

Nobody believes writing to be difficult until they have to do it themselves. The takeaway here is to trust your copywriter and give them some leeway.

Even if you have extensive knowledge of your product, a copywriter can sell it more effectively than you can. That’s why you went looking for him in the first place.

When you hire a copywriter with relevant experience, you should step back and let him or her do their job. You should be able to review the copy and offer feedback, but you should also take the copywriter’s input seriously, just as you would that of any other expert.

You can get a “feel” for the writer’s style by looking at past work samples, but keep in mind that every assignment is different.

Trust your instincts. Customers will have an easier time relating to the copywriter’s work if he is well-versed in the field, the lingo, and the language of your product category.

He will blend in with the rest of the crowd. For this reason, finding the market “specialist” for your product is essential. Copywriting is writing, and writing is essays.

A good copywriter, then, should be able to adapt his style to the needs of any audience. One copywriter may have an advantage over another if they have extensive technical knowledge in a particular area.

Once you’ve reviewed and are pleased with the sample, you should inquire about his rates. Rather than burying the information in the fine print, this should be made clear upfront. You should look elsewhere for a copywriter if you cannot afford the going rate.

If you try to negotiate a lower price with a professional, they will almost always give you less than their best. That is to say, the adage “you get what you pay for” is usually true.

Inquire about the copywriter’s background in writing generally. Is there a book out by him? written for trade journals or newspapers?

The ability to express oneself clearly through the written word is essential in copywriting, as in any other form of writing. You’ll benefit more from your copywriter’s services if they have previous writing experience.

Some clients will try to wring as much money out of a copywriter as they can. These business owners are not typical clients, but they are willing to consult with him for free out of curiosity.

If you are not serious about hiring a copywriter, you should respect his time and not waste it. The correct action is this one.

Potential clients frequently send me materials to read, information to review, and questions about various aspects of their business, but they either don’t hire me or someone else.

To be fair, I didn’t start screening out the freeloaders by requiring a deposit before providing any “free consultation” until I noticed a pattern.

Other suggestions for collaborating with a copywriter are as follows.

1. Detailed product or service descriptions are expected. Before beginning any copy, I always have my clients complete a questionnaire.

The questionnaire is meant to help the client zero in on their core offerings so that I can better serve them.

Knowing your product inside and out is essential in any sales role. There is no such thing as too much research for a copywriter. The more you reveal, the more likely you will make a sale.

2. Know precisely what you’re getting for your money. If it’s important, get it in writing. Before beginning a project, you should clearly understand the total price tag and the scope of services to be rendered.

During some copywriters charge by the hour, the rates at which I typically work are flat. This letter will cost $XX, and I ask for a 50% deposit to begin work and the remaining balance upon completion of the first draft.

There may be unpleasant surprises if I bill by the hour, but there won’t be if we agree on a flat rate in advance. This is why I favor a flat rate.

3. Let the copywriter have some room to himself. Don’t contact him via phone or letter after two weeks if he says he’ll have the sales copy ready in three.

Writing is a mentally demanding task without adding the stress of your constant questions. I spend about eighty percent of my writing time thinking and planning and twenty percent writing.

The copy I promised you would take X amount of time to write, and if you call me halfway through that time, I will tell you that I haven’t written anything yet.

Remember that you and your copywriter are in business and work best when communication is open and accessible.

He wants to help your company succeed, not steal from it. I believe this is true of most ethical copywriters; I find more fulfillment in knowing that my client made a lot of money thanks to my sales copy than in knowing that I made a lot from my client.

Because of the creative nature of copywriting, the writer invests tremendous pride in every finished piece.

4. Pay within the specified time frame. Timely payment is expected. An adage goes like this, “An army marches on its stomach.” Isn’t there another proverb that says, “Payment enhances effort?”

You shouldn’t expect your copywriter to give you his or her best work for free. Making prompt payments shows that you value him as a business partner.

You should tell him what needs to be fixed immediately if you’re not completely satisfied with the work, but you shouldn’t hold up the rest of the payment as a ransom.

Although each situation requires careful consideration, it’s doubtful that a job would turn out so poorly that you wouldn’t feel it deserved a reasonable compensation if you did your homework first. And this leads us to our next point.

5. Use reason when evaluating the submitted work. Feedback like “I don’t like the copy,” “It’s too boring,” and “I expected better” are all too vague to be of any use to the copywriter.

Rather than saying, “I think you should strengthen the guarantee more,” you should be more specific and say, “I think you should emphasize how unique our product is in the marketplace.” All of these claims are more concrete and quantifiable.

You should emphasize the positive aspects of the copy before pointing out the negative ones. Remember that the person you’re collaborating with has put a piece of himself on paper; you’re not dealing with a robot.

Being bluntly critical is painful, just as a writer’s feelings get bruised when he receives edits back on his manuscript. Remember that criticizing something is much simpler than making something new from scratch.

6. Think like a buyer when reading the copy, not a seller. It’s tough to evaluate your work from the end user’s perspective after you’ve spent so much time on the creative side of the process.

What seems obvious to you could be utterly foreign to the buyer. Only the customer, with their credit card, can judge the copy’s success. When the sales copy is implemented, your sales will be the only accurate indicator of its effectiveness.

The customer doesn’t care if you like the copy’s style, language, or anything else.

Customers care only about the value they will receive from your product. Many business owners find this a bitter pill because they give their copywriters too little autonomy. This goes back to people’s inherent disdain for copywriters.

7. Give out compliments freely and provide regular sales reports. Most customers will receive the copy, pay for it, and never speak to the copywriter again unless they need more work done. Sending a “thank you” note is always appreciated, but sharing the good news is essential when the copy performs well in sales.

This will aid his professional development and may even help you save money on your next endeavor. A word of thanks can go a long way, so don’t forget that rewards make work more enjoyable.

A copywriter, of all people, should understand the significance of words.

8. Sales are calculated using many variables, including copywriting. Your sales success will be determined by various factors, not just the quality of your copy. Great products can be sold with poor composition, but inferior products cannot be dealt with good copy.

Don’t immediately point the finger at your copywriter. I know some copywriters who won’t work with you if they think your product won’t sell.

Many factors could be to blame for the lack of sales, including a flooded market, intense competition, poor timing, and low estimation of the worth of your product.

If you did your homework before developing your product or service, this shouldn’t be an issue. But know that it’s a possibility.

Finally, here are some thoughts on how to evaluate a copywriter. Suppose a copywriter’s efforts resulted in selling 10,000 products worth $500,000. How does he stack up against a copywriter whose single letter resulted in the sale of a $1,000,000 plane?

How does one evaluate a copywriter by the number of letters written or the total value of products sold?

That’s something you, the customer, have to decide. Let it suffice to say that some of the most well-known mail-order sales copies were written by copywriting students who produced only a small number of letters.

Case in point: Joe Karbo’s The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches raked in $3 million at $10 a pop. Joe Sugarman, the ad’s copywriter, claims that Joe Karbo wrote the ad in one sitting with little revision before it was published.

In addition to this ad, Karbo has only written a handful of others. It seems he didn’t feel obligated to. This one piece of sales copy would provide him with a comfortable living.

When looking for a copywriter, keeping talent and experience in mind is essential. But even if they don’t have an extensive background in copywriting, they could still be the next Joe Karbo!

Best of luck to you in your endeavors!

Ray L. Edwards has written several books and works as a freelance copywriter, copywriting coach, and Internet marketing consultant. Contact him to learn more about how he has helped his clients earn millions online .com]

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