Some tips to help you get the most out of the experience
Whether you’re outsourcing a blog post or having your entire website rewritten, you probably have a few questions about using a copywriter.
If you haven’t worked with a copywriter in the past, it’s a good idea to ask lots of questions so you can understand the process, timelines and costs involved.
I’ve been lucky to work with amazing clients and the only times that projects have threatened to go off the rails, is when I haven’t explained things (or haven’t asked the right questions).
In this blog, I’m sharing some tips, and hopefully clearing up some expectations so you know what to expect when you work with a copywriter.Do your expectations of working with a copywriter meet the reality? #hashtag #UsingACopywriter Click To Tweet
1. What does a copywriter actually do?
So, you’ve started a new business, paid to have your website built and someone has told you to hire a copywriter. If you’re wondering why, take a minute and check out my last blog about why having professional copy for your website is so important.
As for what we do, well, that depends on the individual copywriter. Some may only write website copy, some focus on blogs, while others might specialise in email marketing or newsletters. Different copywriters focus on specific industries, businesses of a certain size or at businesses at different stages of their journey.
But since you’re reading my blog, I’ll tell you what I do.
I work mainly with founders, fun-sized and family-owned businesses in a range of industries.
- website content (including blogs)
- copy for digital and print marketing (emails, newsletters, brochures and reports)
- grant and award applications
2. How do I know if a copywriter is any good?
Copywriters have different backgrounds, experience and training. There’s no one qualification or certification, so the best way to decide if a copywriter is the right copywriter for you is to read their work on their website.
Look at what other clients have said about them and what they have written for them.
Follow them on social media and get to know them. Good copywriting is as much about having a good rapport and building a relationship between you and copywriter, as it is about the writing.
3. Why do I have to fill in the brief?
You’ve found a copywriter and perhaps you’ve had an initial chat. Now they’re asking you to fill in a brief.
It can seem overwhelming, but while most copywriters are pretty clever, I haven’t met one that is a mind reader. If you want copy that sounds like you and talks about your business in the same way you talk about your business, you’ll need to give me some information.
Copywriters have different ways of collecting the information. And sometimes, it depends on the project and the type of product or service you offer.
For some projects, I’ll take a basic brief first up so I can work out what you need. Is it just a blog post or website copy? Do you need a tone of voice document or some keyword research? By getting this information from you early in the process, I can prepare a detailed and accurate quote and proposal.
If it seems overwhelming, ask your copywriter if you can talk through the brief. You can answer the questions and chat about your business as you would with a friend. The copywriter can record it and use the transcript to help craft winning content that truly reflects you and your business.
4. Do copywriters also build websites?
Some do. I don’t. While I built my website and I’m happy to share tips, I don’t build websites for clients. I’m happy to talk about best options and point you in the right direction of training and web developers.
And while I don’t build websites, I will make suggestions about the best site layout and architecture (including things like menus) to ensure your website copy shines.
5. Can you edit my words?
While some copywriters specialise in editing, it’s often harder than it looks and takes longer than you’d expect. It’s not simply about checking for typos and grammar. Sometimes the structure is all wrong, which means it’s not a quick or cheap job.
If you’re planning to write content for your business, it might be worthwhile checking with a copywriter first. It could be more cost effective for them to write the content for you and you can get on with running your business. If you want to do some writing for yourself, buy a good template. I highly recommend the templates from the Clever Copywriting school shop.
6. Why are you more expensive than Fiverr?
When you work with an experienced copywriter, you’re paying for their skills, experience, and continual training and learning.
So, without wanting to be blunt, you get what you pay for.
But here’s the thing. There are copywriters at all stages of their journeys and who charge different rates. If you want to get an idea what copywriters in Australia charge for different types of projects, you can check out this annual survey.
7. Can you manage my social media?
No. Day to day social media management is not something I offer, although some copywriters might.
That said, if I’m writing a series of blog posts for a client, I usually include some suggested social posts.
Of course, I’m always happy to chat about what I do and what works, or refer people to the social media managers in my network.
8. Can you do this for me today?
Good copy takes time and as I mentioned above, briefing and research. So unless you’ve worked with the copywriter before, chances are they won’t be able to turn copy around that quickly. Of course, there are exceptions. Maybe it’s a simple piece or the type of copy they write a lot. But you need to be prepared that rush copy will usually come with a rush fee.
Good copywriting takes planning, so if you’re launching a new product, website or business, it’s worth getting in touch with a copywriter early.
9. What if I don’t like what you’ve written?
This is tricky. Can you be specific about what you don’t like? What stage of the copywriting process are you at? Have you looked at the copywriter from your customer’s perspective??
Taking a detailed brief and asking lots of questions is one way I try to avoid this problem. I also provide two rounds of changes at no cost.
If it’s a complex project like a website, I start by providing a skeleton or outline draft. You can check everything is there. I also include a sample paragraph to make sure I’ve got the tone right.
The first full draft is usually 70-80 per cent done, but there will be typos. This is your chance to identify the things you don’t like or add in any missing information. I’ll go away and make those changes before you review the copy again, but after that, it’s off to the proofreader.
You shouldn’t feel bad telling a copywriter if you don’t like what the copywriter has written. You’re paying the copywriter and as copywriters, we want you to be happy. If there is something you don’t like, talk to the copywriter about what you like or don’t like early in the process.
Using a copywriter for your next website, award application or newsletter is a big but worthwhile investment in your business. You can make sure you get sparkling copy and enjoy the process if you have the right information, know the questions to ask and understand the process right from the start.Questions about using a copywriter for your next website or marketing project? #ExpectationsVersusReality #UsingACopywriter Click To Tweet
Over to you
What do you think? Do you have any other questions about using a copywriter? If you liked this article and think it would be useful for others, I’d love it if you could share it.