Thinking about letting someone into your business is a big step. You have to not only want to work with this person, but they have to give you exactly what you want – and sometimes things you didn’t know you needed.
Working with a copywriter can almost feel like a, “Do I really need to?” type of deal. And yes, yes you need to. I’m not biased, I truly believe that.
Sometimes, we’re so close to the product (ahem, our businesses) that we can’t talk about it objectively. When that happens, hiring a copywriter is crucial. They understand your business and also are able to write about it locally, clearly, and strategically.
How many times have you tried to write your about page and thought, “I want to tell people all of the things! It’s all important!” (Along with being a kickass storyteller, I’m also a mind reader. Kidding. I say that because even I have thought that, too.) A copywriter will help you sift through and select the best story to tell based on your goals.
When you begin working with someone in your business, especially with a copywriter, here are a few things to consider. Hopefully, it’ll help to have answers to questions you didn’t even know you had. Then, you can jump into interviews and chats with copywriters and have an idea of the work they’re capable of doing for you.
First, what is a copywriter and how can a copywriter help you?
Unlike copyright lawyers, we can have fun with words! (I’m totally talking out of my ass. It’s very possible that lawyers enjoy writing in legal circles as they do.)
Okay, seriously. A copywriter will craft your copy, typically for your marketing and advertising. Depending on their skill sets, they may be better suited to product and sales pages or copy that nurtures your audience.
Either way, the main goal is to draw people to you and have them convert on an action, whether it’s buying something from you, following you, signing up for your email list, and so on.
A copywriter is your business’s best friend.
A copywriter, especially one focused on nurturing and heart-centered words, is invested in your business and success without feeling the everyday pressure of being in your business.
Whereas you may feel the pressure to get the sales and do the things, so you want to tell everyone all the stuff, a copywriter knows how to sift through that. We can strategically help you craft a story that sets up the action, delivers conflict to your audience, and shows how you’re the person to resolve it with them.
Consistency is king, strategy is queen.
My colleague Tori Mistick says that of Instagram and it applies to copy as well. Strategy must be part of your copy. It’s the only way to ensure your words will have the effect you intended. So instead of writing something and hoping it’ll strike a chord with your audience and make them to the thing you hope they’ll do, you know they’ll be empowered to take the next steps you set forth from the beginning.
It’s like how lawyers only ask questions they know the answers to and are almost playing a game of chess in the courtroom. With writing, you can map out where you want your reader to go before you even start typing out a sentence. That way, you know that everything you write will support that end goal.
If you struggle with that, hire a copywriter. That’s why we are here.
Strategy. Consistency. We’ve done this before and are zoomed out enough from your business that we can get a more holistic picture of your desires and goals and how to get your readers there, too.
What you need to know about working with a copywriter.
It isn’t scary or a hard process. These tips will help you find a copywriter and go into the conversation with questions that you may not have thought of to ask. The more specific you can be when looking for a copywriter, the better your chances are that you’ll find the right person to write for you.
Not all copywriters are the same.
Yes, we all write. That’s about where the similarities end. We all have our own flavors, though a good writer can (and should) use your tone and phrasing. We’re writing for your business after all, not ours!
There are also different types of copywriters. There are conversion copywriters (though as Margo Aaron and I think, all writers should be writing for conversions, AKA a goal, so conversion copywriting is redundant.)
There are storytellers, like me, who love digging into blogs and content that nurtures your audience. There are folks who are great at writing sales pages, like Christine Blubaugh. There are others who specialize in social media content. Some copywriters only work on website pages. Others only ghost write blogs (but Kayla Hollatz is a great example of a gal who does both).
When you’re considering working with a copywriter, ask what their speciality is and what kind of writing they really dig. If you’re looking for someone to write a sales page for you, find a copywriter who specializes in that.
It’s an investment, so hire someone who’s going to give you copy that lasts longer than your next bag of Oreos.
Be prepared to be (a little) mean.
If you feel uncomfortable giving your copywriter directions, you’ll find yourself with copy you aren’t pleased with.
You’ve gotta be able to note when and where you want something punched up or changed. There’s nothing worse than accepting a job you aren’t happy with when you easily could have done something to receive the words you wanted in the first place!
Okay, so don’t rip your copywriter apart (we’re sensitive artists and those words are our babies!) but be prepared to give constructive, direct feedback on the drafts you’re given.
You’re going to have a lot of opinions and preferences, especially if you’re hiring a copywriter to help you with your daily copy, as in storytelling for blogs, emails, and social media. Will they write the exact words you’d use? Probably not. But they’ll be close.
The job here is to find the balance between your ideas and words that sell. It’s important that you realize that your feedback drives the soul of the engine, so you have to be direct, open, and honest as soon as possible so we can edit before we go too far down the river.
Otherwise, you’ll probably have to pay for extra revisions since the copywriter will have to start over if you don’t tell us in time what changes you’d like.
How personal can you go?
I don’t mean you only have to hire folks who are your friends. (That can be a downright horrible choice on the level of gluing meat to a dress for a fancy awards show.) But you have to get on well with your copywriter.
Talk to this person. Find out if you even like them.
We (us copywriters) all have some version of this on our websites: “I write copy for [chosen audience] that connects, turns visitors into fans, and fans into customers.”
Awesome. We’re all in the business of making you money through writing. So how do you choose your copywriter?
Read through their content. See if their opinions, voice, personality, etc align with yours. Find copy they’ve written for others. Does it flow and fit them (in other words: can you tell it was written by someone else or does it seem genuinely theirs?) Then, schedule some calls with the folks on your shortlist.
Talk to them and see how well you get along with them. It doesn’t matter if they work for $10 an hour (cue Michael Scott yelling, “NO! GOD! NOOOOO!” because that’s horrible and a conversation for another day.) If you don’t get along with them, don’t hire them! The writing will feel awkward and stilted.
Hiring a copywriter is a big step. You’re placing your trust in someone else and it’s a significant amount of trust since these words will help sell your business. Do your research, find someone you like and who you think can represent your brand well, and dig in.
What questions do you have about working with a copywriter? Have you worked with a copywriter before? Do you have tips about the experience? Share in the comments below!
Original post published June 20, 2017, has been updated with: better copy (I wrote it so I can say that) and new graphics.