Things To Know Before Hiring a Copywriter
So, you’ve finally decided that content marketing is taking way too much of your time?
Before you do hire a copywriter though, it’s good to have a few things at hand which will speed up the whole process and reduce endless back-and-forth communication.
Let’s have a look at few questions a copywriter may ask you. You might want to have an answer to these before you contact one.
#1 WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
Don’t waste your time contacting a copywriter without knowing the answer to this one. Most business owners and executives are very well aware of who their target audience is, however, so it shouldn’t be a huge issue. But there are many more things you can mention, not just age range and gender.
Are you a smaller business that never worked with copywriters before? I suggest sitting down and creating a whole imaginary persona. Before you hire me, I’d like to know:
- Do they have children?
- Where and how do they socialise?
- Where do they shop?
- What do they read? Books? Magazines? Which ones? Where do they get information form?
- What do they want from your business?
- How can you help them?
- What are their problems?
The deeper you go in this exercise the better! At the end, I want you to have a real person in your mind and I need you to feel like you know them.
What’s also good to include in this section is whether your audience is purely English-speaking or foreign. If your customers are mainly foreigners in the UK (US), I may have to adjust the English level accordingly.
I know this persona exercise may look silly, but it’s crucial for copywriters to know who are they writing for. Without that, the copy will just be targeted at everyone and, therefore, mediocre.
#2 WHAT DO YOU DO?
What’s your business? Do you sell beauty products or cyber security software? I need to know.
I also need to know how do you help your customers and which problems do you solve for them. Why should they buy your product or a service? What’s so unique about you? I’m not trying to be mean – I need to know this to lift up the perks and benefits your company offers.
I’ve had many clients reaching out asking for an 1 000-words-long article without even introducing themselves.
I don’t know every single company out there and it doesn’t matter how big you think you are.
Imagine you are explaining what you do to a 10-year-old. This will most likely be the way I see you if I’ve never heard of you. I will probably not understand if you tell me that you “deal with high-quality environmental commuting devices”. Just tell me you sell expensive electric bikes.
Also, some copywriters prefer to work in a specific field and don’t have a deep knowledge of, for example, cyber security.
Even though it’s not necessary to find a copywriter in your niche, it’s important for them to know what sort of content will they be dealing with.
I, for example, prefer to write about topics I can relate to – Eco, environment, fitness, health, wellness, beauty. And, strangely enough, casinos. I’ve spent over a decade working in a casino industry.
So, a topic like cyber security is probably not a good fit for me.
#3 WHAT KIND OF COPY DO YOU NEED?
In order to write a good copy, we need to know what on earth are we supposed to be writing.
Do you need:
- Landing page?
- Blog post?
- Social media post?
- About Us page?
- Product description?
Tell us clearly what do you need and how long do you want it to be. Don’t just tell us: “I need someone to write me 20 pages.”
Web pages? Book pages? White papers?
Be as specific as you possibly can and don’t worry about sounding demanding. I’d much rather receive an email that says: “Hi, I need 3 SEO-focused blog posts, each 1 000 words long, using these keywords … “, rather than: “Hi, I need some pages focused on SEO using our keywords.”
I don’t know who you are and I don’t know what keywords you use.
Don’t take this the wrong way, it’s not your fault. Especially if you haven’t contacted a copywriter before – how could you know all this?
#4 DO YOU HAVE CERTAIN KEYWORDS IN MIND?
I’m quite happy to help you out and do some research for you if you’re unsure, but if you do have your keywords, tell me. Tell me how many times do you want me to use it in the article and which keyword should I include in the heading and subheading.
The thing is, you probably have an idea about how the article should look like. The only thing holding you back is putting the words together.
The more information I know, the better is the chance that the copy won’t need a re-write.
It’s like having a picture painted. You’ll probably tell the painter to use certain colours, so that the piece fits with your décor. You’ll also tell them the size and what’s supposed to be on it.
If you didn’t, you’d end up with a picture full of colours the painter found appealing at that moment on a canvas the artist found lying around in the studio.
Tell me everything you have. And some more!
#5 WHAT’S YOUR CONTENT SUPPOSED TO DO?
You need to tell me exactly what you want me to cover and what’s the purpose of the content. Is it supposed to just educate, or will the purpose be more subtle, leading to a clever tip resulting in a recommendation of a certain product? Do you want to to be a How to guide?
I need to know what emotion is the content supposed to evoke. Is it supposed to make someone buy your product? Sign up for more information? Book an appointment?
I’d be more than happy to include a call to action chosen by you to make sure the content delivers exactly what you intended.
Call to action is a very important part of the copy and I’d prefer if you had it/them ready – this way, we can make sure the customer will do exactly what you want.
#6 WHEN DO YOU NEED IT DONE?
Copywriters, especially the freelance ones, have other projects they’re working on and they need to immediately know whether they can fit you in.
It will all depend on how much content you require. It’s important to set realistic goals.
As much as you may think that a professional writer should be able to write you a blog post in a day, you also have to consider the fact that you are probably not their only client.
#7 WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?
It would be a waste of time to go through a long brief only to find out that the copywriter you’ve chosen cannot do it for your budget.
In this case, it may be a good idea to explore why is your budget insufficient. Copywriters have to do a lot of research and you, frankly, end up paying for that time. It’s no secret that writing the copy itself takes the least amount of time. Most of your budget will most likely be swallowed by research.
It’s good to approach a copywriter who specialises in your topic to reduce costs.
If a client really liked my writing style and insisted that I write him a blog post on cyber security, he will pay extra for the time I have to spend doing extensive research.
This is good to know and take into account before approaching a professional writer.
These are 7 questions any copywriter you approach may ask and I hope you found what you were looking for.
Just to sum my quick tips up:
- Know your audience.
- Describe your business.
- Know what type of copy do you need.
- Have keywords and calls to action.
- What’s your budget and deadline?
A good copywriter will always ask you more questions during the brief call, but having the answer to these is a solid start to a fruitful collaboration.