This is where I want to put on a cheesy American accent and say: “Congratulations for deciding your business needs a freelance copywriter.” I won’t though, instead I’ll try and be a bit more sensible and explain what to keep in mind when choosing a freelancer to work with.
It’s hardly a surprise that I’m going to recommend that you use a freelance copywriter whenever you need content and don’t have the time/capacity to get it done. Knowing you need a freelancer on your side is one thing, it’s another to find one who suits your business. I’d never suggest there are copywriters out there who aren’t doing a great job, I know quite a few and they’re all pretty awesome. However, I would suggest that some people are a better fit with some clients than others.
There are particular niche sectors (those requiring medical writers spring to mind) where there is a more specific process involved in selecting a freelancer copywriter. However, for general web copy, blog posts, articles, newsletters, offline copy and even thewhat do you require from me at this stage production of white papers, you can pick from the wealth of freelance copywriters out there. How do you choose the right copywriter for your business? I’d suggest asking yourself the following questions:
Do I need a local writer?
Does it matter to you how local to your business your freelancer is? Do you need someone who can pop into the office or see products in person? It could be that you just like to boost the local economy and prefer to work with people nearby. Your reasoning doesn’t matter, if local matters to you than add it to the non-negotiables list before you begin your search. It also means you can narrow your searches to ‘freelance copywriters in Liverpool’ (like me) or ‘Birmingham copywriters’ (not like me) when the time comes to look for your perfect match.
I work with a few clients in the local area, more North West than Liverpool specifically and it can be nice to work with people you actually get to see once in awhile. This might be the case for you too if you run a small business and don’t have too many people to bounce business ideas off.
Do I need someone available 9-5?
One of the beauties of working with freelancers is the flexibility they offer. 9 times out of 10 you’ll get a lot more from a freelancer than a 9-5er. However, if you want to work with someone who is guaranteed to be available during these hours then make sure you ask. There is bound to be more than one freelance copywriter who works regular office hours. However, many more take work home or work odd hours to suit their lifestyle. I’ve talked before about how I rarely work an hour in full in one go but rack up plenty throughout the day (and night) and deadlines are always met. I don’t think I have ever worked a 9-5 day but I have always been available at some point during these hours for calls/emails etc.
Do I need a writer with experience in my sector?
The answer to this is probably yes, or you’d think so in the first instance. I’d urge anyone looking for a copywriter to consider the overall experience of the people they approach. There are many many industries I have written about and many I haven’t. They range massively from wealth management to tarmac laying and cryptocurrencies to Romanian wine. I’d like to think I can tackle almost any subject area. You may be adamant that relevant experience is necessary, and this can be the case in some technical areas. However, if you approach a number of copywriters ask for samples or their work and experience. You may a good copywriter will be able to share their relevant experience, even if it isn’t on their website.
Do I know how to brief a copywriter?
If you aren’t sure of what you need then it’s probably worth assessing this first. Bringing in a copywriter when you’ve already other outsourced professionals involved (such as SEOs and marketing agencies) can complicate things further. You need to know how to provide your chosen freelancer with a brief they can work with. I don’t mind helping out in this respect, I often get emails which include the words ‘what do you need from me?’ in some guise or another. I’m happy with this but it’s always nice when there’s a bit of a fuller brief there and you have an idea of what you’re looking for from your copy. There’s nothing worse than giving a copywriter free reign, receiving your content and it being nothing like you had imagined.
Consider Deadlines and Budgets
Many people do not realise the skill involved in creating copy until they sit down in front of a blank screen and try to sum up their business. There is a knack to it and there is no shame in admitting you haven’t got that knack. With this in mind it is important to consider the time, energy and skill which goes into each piece of content created by a professional freelance copywriter.
Expecting large volumes for little return is often an issue I face and I’m sure many other writers face. It can be hard to explain to someone who doesn’t realise that the process involves more than ‘just writing.’ In these instances I recommend thinking back to that moment sat in front of that blank screen. Instead of worrying and fretting over content you don’t know where to start with, you can bring in a professional. The job of your chosen freelance partner is to remove this dread and full the blank page with fantastic, compelling copy written to your brief and fully expressing exactly what you want to say. It comes at a cost and it takes time, so please consider both when getting in touch with potential freelancers.
A point that is often forgotten is how important the relationship between you and your chosen freelancer is. If you don’t get on or simply don’t ‘get’ each other then there will be issues. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them (or you) it could just be you don’t fit well together and this might be something you discover early on. Whilst I’m not going to suggest you give up on someone you have just started to work with, it is worth keeping your options open. First impressions aren’t everything but you can bet if you’re finding the relationship difficult or awkward, the copywriter is too.
I have never had to choose a freelancer to work with so I could be way off the mark here. However from my perspective as someone who is sometimes chosen from the thousands out there, this is what I’d like to think clients thought of before getting in touch. I’m always happy to work with people from anywhere who need anything copy-wise but it’s always extra nice when it goes smoothly and we’re a good fit!