It’s time to hire a professional to write content for your website, newsletter, brochures, or white papers. Excellent! Now what? You’re a small business owner. You know a lot about hiring employees, local trade professionals, and the advertising folks at the local news outlets but what do you know about hiring a writer? Dealing with those strange reclusive types can be a bit of an adventure, right? Read on and I’ll teach you how to hire a copywriter without the hair pulling (before or after the content is delivered).
Finding Copywriters: Ask Google
Most copywriters—even local ones—don’t advertise in the newspaper or on TV. It’s simply not cost-effective for them. And the ones you will find are likely associated with marketing firms or the PR departments of local television stations –which may or may not provide the best service for your business or rates you’re comfortable paying. However, a local copywriter’s writing skills are the perfect tool for making their business easily visible on search engines. (After all, that’s what you’ll be paying them to do for your business, right?) So online is where you should look.
(blockquote) If the writer you’re considering doesn’t appear on your Google searches, perhaps you should reconsider hiring them.
Getting to Know Your Copywriter: Dig Deep
Don’t just read the cover page of a copywriter’s website. This is going to be the flashy part, the salesy part, the part that’s supposed to ignite a fire in you and make you click that “contact” button. Of course it’s going to look good! Instead, dig deeper:
- Look for:
- A client list
- A fee schedule
- Sample content (real stuff, not on-spec pieces)
- Read a few of their blog posts to see if they sound like they know what they’re talking about
- Find out a little about the writer’s background (degrees, training, accolades, etc.).
The more research you do now, the less you’re apt to regret your decision later.
(blockquotes)In addition to a client list, look for feedback as well. Testimonials let you know what previous clients have thought about the product a writer has delivered and the experience of working with them.
Vetting Potential Copywriters: Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This isn’t like hiring a plumber. Ask all the questions you want:
- “How long have you been in the business?”
- “Who have you worked for in the past?”
- “What type of writing do you specialize in?
- “How much do you charge?”
- “What type of turnaround times do you expect?”
Anything you can think of—fire away!
Understanding What Copywriters Do: Don’t Ask the Wrong Questions
Many business owners ask the wrong questions in interviews simply because they don’t know how to hire a copywriter. Writers write. It’s as simple as that.
- Yes, they know a little bit about SEO (but they’re not SEO analysts.)
- Yes, they know a little bit about back-end website mechanics (but they’re not web designers.)
- Yes, they know quite a bit about marketing (but they’re not a marketing agency.)
Don’t ask about conversion rates–split testing and metrics aren’t their fields of expertise. Don’t ask about guaranteed search results page rankings–there’s no such thing. Don’t ask about back-end meta tag optimization for your website–writers write, they don’t code.
(Blockquote) If a writers (or marketing agency) guarantees you top placement in Google’s search results, don’t believe them. Google controls the rankings. The best an outside entity can do is play by the rules and write the type of content that Google loves.
Watch for the Upsell
You’ve heard the axiom “go big or go home.” That doesn’t apply to hiring a service professional. You should be hiring a copywriter that will do exactly what you need (and only what you need). You don’t want someone who is going to offer (and charge for) all kinds of services that aren’t essential to your specific project or plan.
(Blockquote) Buying content should always be à la carte. Package deals benefit the seller more often than not.
Test Their Skills
If you’ve never worked with a particular writer before I always highly recommend setting up a small test project–a week’s worth of blog content, for instance–just so you know what you’re getting for your money. Small test projects will allow you to cut your losses (If necessary) and every writer should be amenable to them.
Learning How to a Hire a Copywriter Makes You Money
The end goal of hiring any content writer is to make money off that content–either directly or indirectly. Hiring the right copywriter the first time will not only save you money in the long run, but will also make you more as well. It’s worth your time and effort to find a professional writing service that offers the most bang for your buck. Learning how to hire a copywriter is the first step in that profit chain.
For more advice, tips, and tactics for creating a great blog and climbing Google’s search engine results, subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed. To request a quote or schedule a test project, contact me today.