Wondering how to hire a copywriter or want to find out how to find one. Or, how to know when you do!
As professional writers and marketers, we’ve learned a few key things that will help you make the best choice when it comes to finding a copywriting expert for your business.
How And Where to Begin Your Search
Expertise is important. Most people start their search for a copywriter on the internet (as we do for most items in our life)! But the thing is, the first result to come up from search engines may not be the best writer; they may just have a big marketing budget.
Whether you choose to search for a freelance copywriter or big agency, it’s important to take the time and investigate their experience, writing samples, and writing style. You want to make sure they’ll be able to accurately capture your brand’s identity and provide a great copy with quality on your subject matter.
Just starting your search?
If budget is a factor, you may want to start with services like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer. These are online services that connect freelancers with potential clients for a fee. You won’t have to pay to be connected most often, but the freelancer may pay to respond.
Depending on the resource you use to get connected, expect an experienced copywriter to have a portfolio they can share. Whether it is hosted on the platform you connected through or elsewhere, it should include a few different types of writing samples – and certainly samples of the type of writing you need.
Below are just are a few different types of projects a freelance writer might work on – and what to look for in each category:
What To Look For In a Copywriter – By Project Type
Businesses use press releases to announce news, such as a new product, partnership, or employee joining the team. In general, press releases follow a standard format that includes a summary of the announcement, a quote or quotes from a company executive, and contact information for the media to follow up. This type of writing should be professional, and any samples should be easy to follow and free from grammatical errors.
Many companies include brochures in their marketing efforts, whether they’re mailing a direct response campaign or using a digital version. The right copywriter will have examples of brochure writing, which should include short, focused sections about the product or service. This type of advertisement for a business acts as a teaser, not a word-filled white paper that will overwhelm the consumer.
If you read the brochure copy and find yourself asking for more, you’ve likely found a writer that knows their craft. If you’re not connected with a resource already, you may want to ask your copywriter if they have a printing company they recommend for content marketing. While individual freelances may not have those types of resources just yet, larger agencies often stay connected to other professionals so they can readily make professional recommendations and referrals for you as the client.
Unlike brochures, writing copy for case studies is not necessarily short and to the point. Here, the business owner needs to convey enough information to build trust and prove that they are experts. The best copywriters can turn a tedious case study into an interesting piece of writing with engaging content and proper use of headlines, lists, bullet points, and in some cases, images.
The first draft of a case study is often heavily informed by data or research that the business owner has provided, so it’s essential to identify a copywriter with a high level of comprehension and grasp of various topics. The more technical your subject, the more critical you find someone who can adequately represent what you do.
Advertising copy can come in many forms and takes a variety of writing skills. Not only does the ad need to be high-quality content, but it also has to quickly grab the consumer’s attention and leave them wanting more.
Writers with this skill set should have examples for various types of work, including Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads (or other social media ads), Google ads, mailers, and even ads for tv or radio. Look for examples that make you interested in the product – being able to write a good hook matters in ad copy.
Many companies use email marketing in their sales funnels – whether they start from an online lead magnet or cold outreach campaign. A professional copywriter with experience in email marketing will be most likely have an example of a drip campaign they can provide.
This is a set of two or three emails sent to potential customers over time, leading them into a sales funnel. We consider this different from regular newsletters, which may go to existing customers regularly to keep them informed about what the business is doing.
Blogs are a great way to build content for website visitors and improve your SEO over time. Whether you want to share insight on a given topic or showcase your expertise in a niche area, blogs can be a powerful tool for your company. Because blogs are one of the more common jobs for a copywriter, finding the right one for you is important.
Review a prospect’s portfolio or profile to ensure they have written about any specialties for your business. If they haven’t, ask for samples or carefully review their other pieces. Do they have a wide range of topics they’re written on? And are the details clear, easy to follow, and interesting? While it’s not imperative that they’re written something exactly like what you need, they should have some experience in a related field.
Sales pages are a way to convert visitors into taking action, whether it is purchasing a course or product or signing up for a service. Sales pages can be created for a specific limited-time offer (like a class) or to help track various sources of website leads.
When hiring a direct-response copywriter for your sales pages, ask to see short-form and long-form examples. Look for clear, persuasive writing with standard sections included such as an attention-grabbing headline, pain points, explanation of the offer, testimonials, FAQs, etc. They should also indicate where to place a button or link for calls to take action, like sign-up or purchase.
Now that we’ve covered many of the reasons to hire a copywriter let’s talk about the next important steps to consider before getting started.
How to Choose A Copywriter
I remember when we were working with someone who had requested blog posts for a personal training business. The blogs came in at a great price for the client, but they suggested that a personal trainer help you get fit by “taking long walks on the beach with you”! Ummmm, what? Not only did the author completely miss the mark on the industry, but it was also of no value to the client. If walks on the beach can help you get fit, why bother with a personal trainer? Posting that blog on their website would actually help drive traffic AWAY, not encourage them to get started.
The blog also required a total rewrite due to spelling, grammatical errors, and other copywriting basics, which meant that the client had paid for copywriting services that they couldn’t use. What could they have done differently to avoid this problem? Here’s a short list of what’s next – after you’ve asked for samples.
Review the Work
This may seem like a no-brainer, but we’re all busy, and overseeing a hiring process takes time. It’s easy to ask for writing samples, but it can be a hassle to sit down and read through them. Our best advice is to do it anyways, start to finish. Most copywriters will send over or post their best pieces in a portfolio. If you aren’t overly thrilled with what you read, chances are this copywriter isn’t a good fit for you.
Pay for a Sample
If you’re getting ready to invest in professional copywriting services, you might want to consider paying for a short sample or one piece first. While this doesn’t make sense for every client and copywriter, it is an excellent way to determine if this professional copywriter can capture your brand voice, style, etc., before signing a longer-term agreement.
Look For Positive Reviews
Today, it doesn’t take long to find positive (or negative) testimonials on Google. With just a few quick keywords of the copywriter’s name or business, you can learn more about feedback that has been left in the open marketplace about their work. Mostly positive search results are what you’re looking for. Not everything will likely be perfect, but overall, clients should be happy when working with this copywriter.
Talk to Them
Sometimes we forget that personality matters, and it’s important to choose someone you think you will enjoy working with! Most people we work with are heavily invested in their businesses. They’re proud of the legacy they’ve built, and they want someone who appreciates their passion. Whether you’re hiring a copywriter for a one-time project (like a website redesign, website redesign or presentation review) or a long-term relationship (like blogs, landing pages, social media posts), the point of hiring expert copywriters is to offload some of the stress those tasks can cause. Don’t add it right back by working with someone who has too large of an ego to come alongside your vision for your company.
Now what? Once you’ve identified your top agencies or freelancers, it’s time to start asking the nitty-gritty questions that will help you make your final decision. Below are some of the common items that you may want to discuss before getting started.
Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Copywriter
- Is a Retainer Required?
Understanding the hourly or per project rate is the first step, but you may also want to ask about a retainer or deposit. At The MMC Agency, we know that we can get better results for our clients when we work together towards a defined strategy over a period of time, rather than producing a one-off piece for a new client. As such, we have a minimum retainer and time commitment for our copy packages.
- What Revisions Are Included?
Regardless of how great a copywriter is, often, there may be a need for revisions. Whether there is a need for corrections or some preferences you want to be incorporated, ask how many revisions come with the cost. The standard is usually between 1 and 3 rounds.
- Do You Upload Your Content?
One of the questions we’re often asked as professional marketing copywriters is whether or not we will upload content onto our client’s website, which most often includes a blog on WordPress. If that’s of interest to you, find out what is included once your file is finished. Most copywriters create web content but don’t add it to your website unless they have other responsibilities as well. For The MMC Agency, we typically don’t make changes to our client’s website unless we designed it, to begin with.
- How Are Deadlines Handled?
One of the second biggest complaints we hear from clients about copywriters, after quality, is how often deadlines aren’t met. Ask in advance how your potential branding and web design agency or freelancer handles deadlines and what protections you have, if any, if one is missed.
- What About A Contract?
Most professionals will require a contract that states what work they’ll be doing for you and what obligations you’re committing to. If not, consider asking for a terms sheet that outlines expectations and your general agreement. If you’re concerned about protecting private or proprietary information, you may also want to ask for a signed non-disclosure agreement before signing any legal contract.
One important question you should ask your copywriter is how much they cost. Keep reading to learn more.
How Much Does a Copywriter Cost?
Professional copywriting shouldn’t be cheap. You’re hiring a professional individual or team with the expertise to represent you with consistent, quality content that matches your brand and vision. Take the time to ask potential candidates about how they price their work. Most often, professional copywriters will charge by the hour or project. In our experience, the least experienced copywriters price per word and are often the most inexpensive but also the most ineffective.
How much is a copywriter by the hour?
You will find a range of prices for copywriters, depending on their skill level and expertise. Typically, new or inexperienced copywriters will charge $20 an hour or more, often up to $50 an hour. You will likely get a good piece of writing in this range, but you may find occasional errors and find yourself spending time making edits or updates to ensure the pieces align with your brand guidelines.
A good copywriter will likely cost you $50 to $100 an hour. In this range, the freelancer or team member should have a strong portfolio with samples from b2c and b2b clients, etc. You may make slight adjustments to each piece, but over time, good copywriters will notice the type of changes you make and adapt their writing to become more in line with your company style and brand voice.
Looking for the best copywriters? Expect to pay $100 an hour to $250 and up. These are professional writers who will consistently produce high-quality content. You should expect copy without errors and content that you can readily use without making significant changes in this range. You may also find these copywriters have input on marketing and brand strategy that provides valuable input for you as a business owner.
How much does it cost for a blog?
The answer to this question depends on the blog content, size, and more. Will the blog be one page or five? Are you depending on the person writing copy to research your topic, or will your team supply all the details? Will the copywriter be providing only the first draft or working through revisions with your team?
For the most basic blogs, expect to pay $75-$150 for quality content from a professional copywriter.
Hiring a great copywriter doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be done right. Start by doing some research, learning about the type of content you need, asking questions, and setting a budget. With a professional copywriter, you can expect to have a valuable asset for your team and future business growth!