Copywriters are detail-oriented, results-driven, highly persuasive writers who produce everything from social media posts to ads. If you’re building a nonprofit or small business, chances are you’ll need a copywriter. It’s a valuable investment that ultimately saves you time and helps you entice your customers or clients.
However, not all copywriters are created equal, and most are specialists, not generalists. It’s important to find one who serves your niche and specializes in the type of copy you need: landing pages, social posts, etc. Never assume that a copywriter is a jack-of-all-trades. That mistake can lead to frustration for both you and the copywriter!
Here are some tips for hiring a copywriter who best suits your needs.
Look at their style.
The best copywriters can produce content that matches your brand’s tone and voice, but you should still look at their portfolio to see if they’ve done the type of work you need. Most copywriters tend to use a specific style that they adapt to each client’s needs. To predict the type of results you’d get, take a look at their past work.
Do they tend to use a more formal tone or take a casual approach? Do they write long, complex sentences or short, choppy ones? What reading level do they write for? There’s no right or wrong answer, but different tendencies may better suit your brand’s needs.
Assess their skills.
Writing a compelling landing page requires different skills than creating an engaging social post. Different writers specialize in different formats. When looking for a copywriter, you can ask for both services, but don’t assume that one skill set translates into the other. You wouldn’t ask a novelist to write your resumé, so don’t ask a social media copywriter to draft your marketing emails. (That also constitutes scope creep.)
You should also look at the copywriter’s past work to see if they demonstrate strong persuasive writing. This is a key skill for any copywriter. Then, see how they put those skills into action. Are they able to write social posts that inspire engagement? Will their ads drive clicks? Are their landing pages easy and compelling to read?
Check their proficiency.
Copywriting has developed a reputation as a way to make a quick buck, and the field is now inundated with freelancers who are trying to do so. Unfortunately, that means many less-qualified writers are trying to enter the market, even with low English proficiency.
Copywriting takes more than persuasive skills. Writers must also have a firm grasp on grammar, diction, spelling, and mechanics. You don’t want a landing page with egregious grammar or obvious spelling mistakes — no matter how convincing the copy is. If you’re not an expert writer and aren’t sure what to look for, enlist a trusted colleague to evaluate a copywriter’s portfolio.
Communicate your requirements.
Once you’ve found a qualified writer, you must fully express your business’s needs to them. Many people assemble a creative brief that lists any relevant parameters for the project. Your brief should include:
- The target word count
- Your house style (e.g. particular spellings, Oxford comma, etc.)
- Any desired keywords (for SEO content)
- Tone words
- Brand voice guidelines
- Your target audience
- Anything else that the writer would find useful.
The number-one cause of dissatisfaction between clients and copywriters is a disconnect in expectations or guidelines. While most copywriters are more than happy to revise their work if necessary, it’s much easier for everyone if you communicate your requirements from the beginning.
Following these tips not only helps you obtain the results you want, but also can lead to a lasting, loyal relationship with a copywriter. Once they get to know your brand and business goals, they can be someone you lean on for future copywriting. To reach this point, take the time to research and communicate with a candidate before embarking on your copywriting project. Remember, a client–copywriter relationship is a two-way street! The more you invest, the more you get out of it.