At first, choosing a copywriter might seem like it just comes down to cost. Well, you can’t just pay any old hoot $5,000 for a sales letter.
I’ve seen “Copywriters” in social media groups that have no clue what they’re doing. So if you’re wondering where to start, and how not to get ripped off continue reading.
Here are some of my tips on choosing a copywriter for your next project.
1.) Talk to them.
While the rest of my tips are in no particular order, this had to be number one. Choosing a copywriter can be as easy as a phone call. If you’ve found a writer that makes you feel excited to work with them, chances are they feel the same about you.
A quick 15 minute call can clear up a lot of questions and anxiety for you and the copywriter.
Here are a few common questions to ask:
- What experience do you have in my industry?
- Do you understand the vision for my project?
- Can you send me a relevant sample?
The conversation of price will be burning in the back of your mind and you may feel inclined to ask it right away. Great copywriters will want to know the full scope of the project before naming a price.
As obvious as this tip may seem, the human element of business is often overlooked. I’ve been turned off by clients who ask “Send me some samples and what are your rates?” in my LinkedIn DMs.
2.) See their website. (Not vital when choosing a copywriter)
A copywriter’s website is almost like a digital business card. When looking at the website of a freelance copywriter it can be easy to judge the writer based on his/her website. Keep in mind that you’re looking for a showcase of their writing.
The writing samples could be on one of several pages: homepage, blog, portfolio, samples, or writing samples. The entire site should be engaging and persuasive. If the website’s copy can’t convince you to contact the copywriter, then maybe they aren’t very good.
A few things to pay attention to when choosing a copywriter by their website:
- Does the copy make me feel something when I read it?
- Does the copy compel me to contact the copywriter?
- Is the voice consistent?
Whether through text or on the phone good copywriters should always be persuading. If their copy doesn’t work on you, then it may not work on your customers.
3.) Niche, expertise, and experience.
So now you’ve talked shop with the copywriter you have in mind. You’ve been trolling her website and you’ve been convinced to take the conversation further. Took a peek at her social media to be sure she is a good fit to represent your brand – since you’re giving her a byline.
And now during the second conversation, you’ll want to ask her more in-depth questions about her experience in your industry.
A copywriter’s expertise in a field is nearly as important as their copy passion.
A copywriter with sales experience is probably good at creating phrases that sell. Making them an effective choice for emails, where the clicks turn into cash. That being said, even a substandard copywriter knows how to write for any industry.
You’ll want to hire a specialist. Whether that’s an industry specialist or a copywriting category specialist.
For example, I am a Direct Response Email Specialist with 5 years of sales experience. I write emails that trigger immediate action from your target audience.
4.) Portfolio, and clients testimonials.
These are tricky because of course a portfolio is a copywriter’s ‘best foot forward’. But looking at a portfolio when choosing a copywriter is crucial because of all the information it contains. Writing samples, testimonials from their real world clients, and social proof.
Here’s what you should look for in a portfolio:
- Do they have a sample of what your project requires?
- What can the testimonials tell you about the writer?
- What results did the clients get from working with the copywriter?
Kudos to the copywriters who have a decked out portfolio before getting their first client.
5.) Are they looking to help grow your business with you?
Like any employee, the ones who are driven to grow your business as if it is there own will always give their best. You’ll want to sense the feeling that the freelancer wants your business to soar as high as you do.
Does the writer come to life over the phone when you speak about your mission? How do you feel about the writer’s feedback? Are you joyous that he or she understands you and what you’re trying to accomplish?
Excitement should be a two-way street and the project/s should feel like a collaborative effort. After all… we all want to make money, so we are all on the same team.
6.) Keep a great copywriter busy and/or refer them.
You may not need a copywriter all the time, in fact most small businesses don’t. But if you have met a copywriter that you like, keep them busy with referrals. Being a freelance copywriter can be rough, a real feast or famine business.
If you keep the copywriter working they will be more than happy to help you when you call. This way the copywriter feels valued, gets more experience, and probably won’t turn down any work you give them.
Copywriters can be hard to find, and amazing copywriters even more so. If you keep a freelancer busy with work, you’ll keep them in the pocket.
Plus… the better the copywriter becomes, the better they become for your business.
7.) When choosing a copywriter, how much do I pay them?
Copywriting services are usually priced per word, per hour, or per project.
Charging per word
The problem with paying per word is now your relationship with the copywriter becomes competitive. Naturally, your writer will want to use more words, and you’ll want them to be more efficient.
Charging per hour
The obvious downside of the per hour method is the lack of incentive for the copywriter to be time-efficient. Once again, naturally forcing your relationship with the writer to become competitive.
Charging per project
Paying per project gives the copywriter an incentive to work fast – which is good for deadlines. The downside is the writer may overlook smaller issues (politely ask them to look it over).
It’s my recommended pricing method because it keeps you and your copywriter on the same team. Most great copywriters will require 50% upfront, keep that in mind.
8.) How to avoid getting ripped off.
Here’s what to look out for:
- A bad or inexperienced copywriter quote a price before they have any details about the project or scope. Because they only care about your money, not your business. A great copywriter listens and addresses your wants and needs, then quotes accordingly.
- Their copy sounds like a sleazy salesman. That my friend is the sound of Low-quality copy.
- Copywriters who guarantee amazing results or give you a dollar amount. This is ridiculous and impossible. Even the top 5 % of copywriters can’t make those kinds of guarantees.
- If the “experienced” copywriter doesn’t have a portfolio and can’t show you any previous work. Hmm… because it doesn’t exist.
When you’re choosing a copywriter carefully do your research. Pay close attention if you detect dishonesty or flat out catch them lying. If you follow my tips you’ll find a great copywriter and avoid the aforementioned pitfalls.