Finding the right writer
When you need to reach out for copywriting help, you don’t want just anyone. You may think, “My projects are so specific – I can’t choose just anyone.” This 10-minute read will help you find the right writer.
Determine what you need
This may seem basic, but it’s a great starting point. Ask yourself what you need. Some basic edits? A blog post? Or, brochure copy on Wankel rotary engines? (Yes, those are a thing.) Just like choosing an attorney or physician, knowing a freelance copywriter’s specialty in advance will make all the difference when it’s crunch time. A writer who has specialized in a certain area for several years knows their craft and is worth their rate.
Check out their website
Every freelance copywriter should have a website that’s inviting, easy to navigate and filled with some of their best work. Here’s mine: www.ronkellow.com. Their site should also have an area where former colleagues and clients have provided reviews. Think of these as references when you’re hiring someone – because they are. If a writer doesn’t have a website with reviews, move on. Today, a copywriter’s website should say everything about them.
Chemistry is key
We all do our best work when we get along. The same is true with freelance copywriters. Will they be paired with your esteemed medical specialist or your highly animated art director? Will they adapt to your group’s process? How do they work under pressure? Ask them how they like to work. The best copywriters bring out the best in your team. Find one that is positive and will mesh well – with both your team and culture.
Notice how well they listen – and ask questions
This point is one of the most important. Great, experienced copywriters have perfected the art of listening. They take both hand-written and mental notes. The latter may include picking up on non-verbal things such as how passionate you are about a certain part of a project or an area that you want to emphasize. They should also have the gift of asking the right questions. Questions that they developed prior to your meeting. Questions that won’t waste your time. Questions that you maybe haven’t asked yourself. The right questions make what they craft for you even better.
Talk frankly about timing
An experienced copywriter knows how to handle tight deadlines. Certainly, they will charge more if your timeline is extremely abbreviated – which should be reflected in your budget or their estimate. And you will also be able to see their positive performance under pressure. But consider a freelance copywriter as a valued part of your team, don’t only turn to them when your project’s timing has been upended and you’re in a crisis mode. Give them projects with ample timing as well. You’ll earn their respect – just as they are earning yours.
Talk frankly about money
Don’t play a guessing game with your freelance copywriter when it comes to talking money. If you haven’t yet determined your budget, give your writer as much information about the project as possible – and then give them a day to provide you with an estimate. This estimate should include any meetings and initial research they may need to conduct, as well as the initial draft and one round of revisions. If you already have a budgeted amount for writing, be completely upfront when you first talk. A good copywriter will let you know if they can work within your budget.
Know that experience equals efficiency
Keep in mind that copywriters are no different than any other specialized professionals – you’ll get what you pay for. Today, there are multitudes of new, eager copywriters in the market who are willing to write about anything and cheapen their rates just to get work. Unfortunately, they often take numerous revisions to get it right and what initially looked like a deal for you ends up taking longer and costing just as much (or more) compared to a seasoned copywriter.
Lastly, listen to them
Experienced copywriters are successful because they really do know what works. Listening to their ideas and suggestions could open some new doors for you. That’s simply good collaboration. Also, look for a notable level of confidence in the copywriter you choose. This is something they’ve built through experience – to your advantage. Plus, they know how to get their content read. If you need proof, you’ve just finished this article.
Ron Kellow is a freelance creative copywriter based in Columbus, Ohio. He writes for a variety of clients, including both B2B and B2C. If you're at a loss for words or simply have a writing project you’ve been putting
off, he’s ready to help. Contact him today at firstname.lastname@example.org.