There are many freelance copywriters out in the world with a wide variety of skills and skill levels. Sometimes it can feel impossible to know which one to pick.
Here are seven things to look out for when trying to find a good, professional copywriter who’ll write excellent copy for your business.
Are They a Copywriter, an SEO Specialist or an All-Rounder?
Make sure that you actually find a copywriter, or even better, an SEO copywriter.
An SEO specialist can really help a business thrive, but their job is to analyse, review and implement changes to websites that improves their ranking on search engines. It isn’t necessarily to write great, original copy.
Better you find someone who’s trained both in SEO, and in the art of copywriting. An SEO copywriter has the skills to write any form of marketing material, from websites and blogs, to flyers and brochures. They also have the ability to weave important, searchable keywords into the copy on your website and blogs to help get you found by search engines.
These days, it isn’t all about keywords. It’s about relevant content. If you don’t have engaging, well-written content that gets people interested in your business, then what was the point of all those carefully crafted keywords?
Don’t spend a million dollars on the front cover if the inside of the book isn’t any good.
Hire a copywriter!
Don’t Trust a Copywriter Who Promises you the World
When hiring a freelance copywriter, don’t trust someone who promises to get you on page one of Google Search Results in one week. Those individuals are almost certainly using dodgy, black hat techniques such as keyword stuffing to get you there.
Yes, while their tactics may briefly get you on the front page of Google (long enough for them to get their money from you), you’ll likely wind up having your website penalised for using ‘spammy’ or dishonest methods. Penalties could see your website pushed to the bottom of search engine queries, or removed from Google altogether!
Honest SEO copywriters know that ranking on Google takes time. It’s not something that happens overnight, so avoid anyone who promises otherwise.
Do They Take a Good, Detailed Briefing?
If your copywriter doesn’t hold an extensive briefing meeting with you, they probably aren’t going to do a very good job.
Find a copywriter who knows the importance of understanding your business. They need to know your brand voice, your goals, what you want to say and how you want to say it. The more they know about you, the better their copy will be.
You don’t get this kind of information from a five minute chat.
Expect your briefing meeting to take as long as two hours.
During the briefing, your copywriter should be asking good questions, making meaningful suggestions, engaging with you and learning as much as they possibly can. You’re the expert in your business, after all, so they should be interested in what you have to say.
If they don’t know anything about your business, how are they ever going to know what to say?
A lack of a good briefing suggests a very generic copywriting style that could be slapped onto any business. No one wants cookie-cutter marketing. You want to stand out! To do that, you must find a copywriter who takes the time to understand your business.
Have They Done Their Research?
Before you hire a copywriter, you will usually be offered a free briefing session to discuss your project. You can learn all that you need to know about a freelancer in the first five minutes of this briefing.
By the time you reach a stage where you’re talking on the phone to your copywriter, or meeting them in person, you can expect them to have done some research. If they haven’t, the warning bells should be ringing in the back of your head.
If they haven’t taken the time and don’t know the first thing about you … it might be best to steer clear.
Obviously the bulk of the information will be uncovered in the briefing session, but if your copywriter hasn’t even taken a cursory glance at your website, you might want to consider alternatives.
Are They Interested in You?
The more passionate your copywriter is about your business, the more likely they are to write interesting, engaging copy for you.
Do they seem genuinely interested in what you have to say about your business? Do they listen to what you’re telling them during the briefing? Are they passionate about writing for you?
If the answer is yes, perfect! Stick with them. That passion will go a long way for your business.
If, on the other hand, you feel like you’re nothing more than a pay check to your copywriter, perhaps you should take your business elsewhere.
It’s your copywriter’s job to get other people interested in your business. If they can’t even get themselves excited about it, how on earth are they going to sell it to anyone else?
Are They Confident?
Apologising. It’s the burden of the chronically unsure.
If you find your copywriter endlessly apologising for no real reason, then perhaps you should reconsider hiring them.
Unfortunately, now isn’t the time to be nice, and it’s not your job to boost their confidence.
Your business is at stake!
You should never keep someone on just because they’re friendly or you feel bad for them. Your copywriter has a job to do, and if they aren’t confident in themselves, why should you be?
Marketing is a confidence game. If you can’t confidently tell your target market why they should be buying your product, they won’t buy it. The same rule applies to your copywriter.
If your Copywriter is chronically apologetic or lacks confidence, how are they ever going to inspire confidence in your customers?
Do They Keep Their Writing Simple?
You want your business to be as accessible as possible. Jargon and flowery language is a sure way to lose potential customers.
Marketing is all about explaining things in the simplest way possible. It’s okay to get a little creative every now and then, and you can have fun with your copy, but if your copywriter is more interested in constructing Shakespeare’s next masterpiece than selling your business … those red flags should be waving all over the place.
As writers, it can be hard to resist the urge to show off your vocabulary, but that’s really what sorts the newbies from the professionals.
If they can’t keep their copy simple and easy to read, then they have no business writing it for you.
Are They Reliable?
If you don’t feel that you can rely on your copywriter, take your business elsewhere!
Find someone who
– Calls when they say they will.
– Answers messages.
– Responds to emails.
– Arrives at meetings on time.
– Does what they promised they’d do when they promised to do it.
– Gets the work done!
It’s not your job to be chasing after your copywriter for work.
Save yourself the headache. Find someone reliable.