What To Look For In A Copywriter

You need to know what to look for in a copywriter before you hire one, so here’s my guide to help you find a copywriter that is the best fit for you.

What Type of Copywriter are You Looking For

Copywriting for a sales page is very different to writing, say, product copy or a blog post. So your first step is to know what type of copywriter you want. Do you need a generalist that can do a bit of everything, someone who is an expert at sales copy or more of a content writer to produce blog posts.

Also look for a copywriter that has experience in the medium you want to use e.g. writing brochures is very different to writing emails or website copy.

If you want to know where to find writers and how to work with them, you may find our How to Find a Freelance Writer & Work With Them article helpful.

Is it Just a Copywriter You Are Looking For

Do you just want copywriting or are you also looking for help with; editing, printing, images, SEO, Press Release, content strategy etc.

Whilst some of these additional services may be provided by a copywriter, it’s more likely you need an agency that can provide a range of skills or you’ll need to hire a number of different people, rather than an individual copywriter.

Look For a Copywriter that Knows Your Industry/Niche Well

Most of the time you want to find a copywriter that understands your industry/niche well. This is especially true if the topics they’ll be writing about are complex, loaded with industry terminology etc.

For example, a generalist copywriter writing product copy for a piece of specialist industrial machinery is most likely going to struggle as the people reading that content are going to want specific details and probably expect some pretty technical details.

Where I’d say this doesn’t hold true is if you are writing for a very uninformed audience who need things distilling into very simple explanations. In that case you may actually be better with a more generalist copywriter than a subject matter expert. There are also plenty of niches that almost anyone can understand with a little bit of research.

Do They Ask Lots of Questions

Asking questions is a good thing, it shows interest in you, your niche, your requirements, etc and helps the copywriter truly understand how to deliver the best work for you. If you send a new copywriter a brief and they just agree to run with it without asking you any questions then be on your guard.

Do They Readily Accept Feedback and Revisions

It’s worth clarifying upfront what the process is for providing feedback and making revisions. Most copywriters will have a limit on the number of revisions you can make before they’ll charge you more money, which is fair enough.

Some copywriters hate getting revisions and some just ignore the feedback you give them. Unfortunately, you’ll only usually find this out once you start working with them but if this is the case then you’ll quickly find yourself losing patience with them.

My general rule is to give them two chances at taking feedback on board and acting on it. After that, walk away.

Whilst we are on the subject of revisions, I would point out that you need to be reasonable. No copywriter wants to be stuck in an endless round of revisions. If you’re having to make lots of revisions to each piece then there is either something wrong with you or with the copywriter you’ve chosen.

When I say something may be wrong with you when it comes to revisions, then I’ve found two main causes of this:

  • Large organizations with multiple stakeholders – these can be immensely frustrating to deal with as a copywriter as you get feedback from 5 different people, some contradicting the feedback of others etc. If you are that large organization, then look at what you can do to make things smoother for the copywriter
  • Clients who are absolute experts in their field and get all tied up in the minutia – often the job of a copywriter is to take something complex and distill it down to simple, powerful copy that flows and engages. However, some clients can’t help themselves and want to make lots of revisions that ultimately make the copy unpenetrable to someone who isn’t an expert.

Do They Fit Your Budget

Copywriters vary immensely in cost, whether you’re employing them on a freelance or permanent basis.

  • Look for similar roles advertised in the marketplace to get a feel for market rates
  • Have the money conversation upfront and early as there is no point wasting each others time
  • When it comes to freelance copywriters, some advertise their rates some do not
  • If you’re advertising a role at a specific rate then you may need to adjust it to get the quality of copywriter that you want

Do They Have the Capacity To Do the Work

If you’ve found a good copywriter then they will be in demand, so check they have the capacity to do your work.

If you have regular work to give them then try and be flexible so they can fit it into their schedule.

Summarised Check List

So now you know what to look for in a copywriter, I’ve compiled a quick bullet point list that summarizes my thoughts for you to use as a checklist.

  • Style of copywriting
  • Medium
  • Industry/niche
  • Questions
  • Feedback
  • Skill/experience level
  • Budget fit
  • Capacity
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About Jon Wright

Jon has worked in Digital Marketing for over 20 years, mainly for large enterprises. He now runs an eCommerce Agency that helps merchants build and grow their stores. He writes about SEO, CRO amongst other things.

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