7 tips for hiring the right copywriter

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So you need to hire a copywriter? There are literally hundreds to choose from. How are you supposed to find the right person for your business?

Hiring a creative can be daunting but don’t stress. Here are some tips to help you navigate your way through the perplexing sea of service providers out there:

1. Ask for referrals

I hate to state the obvious but this should be your first port of call. Find out as much as you can about each recommendation. What were they like to work with? How long did the project take? If you find copy you love on a company website, contact them and ask if they can pass on the writer’s details.

2. Do a little snooping

Now that you have your list of names it’s time to start checking out their credentials online. When you visit each writer’s site, pay attention to first impressions. Do you like their style? Does the copy draw you in or confuse you? If they have social media profiles, take the opportunity to follow them or sign up to their blog.

3. Get in touch

The best way to vet candidates is old-fashioned but effective. Give them a call. Most copywriters will have a brief chat about your project before sending you a quote or proposal. Others will take care of this via email.

One tip: If you’re a start-up it’s important that you have a really thorough understanding of your business and what you want to achieve before you hire a writer. A writer’s job is to translate your vision, not create it from scratch!

You can also ask to see samples, though bear in mind they have been written to another company’s specifications and won’t necessarily reflect what the writer can produce for you.

4. Find a perfect match

There are plenty of copywriters who are generalists, but others have specific expertise in areas like SEO copywriting or content marketing. Make sure you choose a writer whose skills match your needs.

Ask if they’ve written copy for your industry before, particularly if it’s one that requires a steep learning curve like engineering or medicine.

If you have a personal brand or you need a ghostwriter, you’ll want to hire a writer who can channel your voice and make your copy sound authentic.

5. What advice do they offer?

A good copywriter will be able to figure out what you need by taking a look at your website or marketing materials. So listen to their advice. A copywriter is a marketing expert, not just a writer. Discuss their recommendations and make sure you’re in agreement on the direction you want to take with your copy.

6. Check the small print

Always check payment terms, revision clauses and turnaround times before you sign a contract. As a general rule you can expect to pay a retainer fee (or in some cases the full fee) before a writer starts work on your project.

There is a time investment required in bringing a copywriter up to speed on your business so factor that in. Remember the more information you provide, the better the result so make yourself available for meetings or phone calls.

7. A word on availability

Copywriters can be booked for weeks or even months in advance so don’t wait until the last minute to get in touch. It’s also worth checking on a writer’s availability once your project gets underway. Do you need them to attend weekly meetings? Do you need the writer to collaborate with other employees? Always run through your requirements in advance.

I hope my tips help you find the perfect writer for your project. If you have any questions or tips to add to this list, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

  • These are very useful criteria for finding the right copywriter. One other thing is important: be sure to choose someone who’s easy to get along with. You don’t want to be working with a prima donna!

  • Great tips, Denise.

    Before asking for referrals, I’d recommend people check the copywriter’s website for testimonials and/or a portfolio. That’s an easy first step. If copywriters don’t provide such proof on their own website, I would be hesitant to proceed if I were a client.

    Good point about getting people to check the small print. Not all copywriters have the same terms & conditions. Check if and how many revisions are included in the fee, for example.

  • I agree with Charles, a good rapport is essential. Developing copy can take many weeks so the whole process will be much more enjoyable if you actually like talking to your copywriter!

  • Many good pointers there, Denise. When looking for referrals/recommendations, a good place to start is Facebook. There are a lot of niche-specific groups out there, so you should be able to find one relevant to your business. You can then ask those members for recommendations. This is a great way to find a copywriter with experience in your specific area of business.

  • Thanks everyone. You’re absolutely right about finding a writer you can get along with. It’s so important to have a relationship based on trust as well as a good rapport.

    And thanks for the Facebook tip Nick, good idea!

  • Nice article, Denise. But I disagree (in part) with point 5. I’ve had soooooo many alleged prospects call and all they want is free advice. I agree everyone has to be on the same page, but if you want marketing advice, you have to pay for it, I’m afraid. That expertise is all part of the package we offer. We shouldn’t be giving it away for free. Asking for free advice on HOW to approach the copy (and any broader marketing) as a way of choosing a copywriter is like asking for a free page of copy written as a sample.