– the mercenaries of today’s business world of words
Once upon a time a lord in his castle needed some war to be won… he needed a free knight with his handy lance… a free-lance.
Fast forward a few hundred years to the modern-day era of fighting wars with words, substitute lances with pens and we have our modern-day freelance(er).
You are the lord (business owner) and your castle (company) needs a campaign to be won!
Maybe your fledgling business is drafting its marketing material: brochures, taglines, mission statement, website pages… all that good stuff. Or you’re starting a new campaign for your successful family-owned business and want to write a sales letter to introduce your new service to the community.
Whatever your situation: you’re busy, stressed and maybe a little in over your head.
You’re sitting there looking out the window while racking your brain for a solution to the pile of tasks that lie before you… You know what you need, but you don’t know exactly what it is or how to find it quickly and within budget.
You need a writer! But not just any writer, you need a writer who can sell.
That’s what we call a copywriter.
Copywriters are trained in the art and science of selling with words.
A good copywriter can surprisingly make you richer than you think. You don’t need a full-time writer; you just need someone right now to win this campaign…
You need a freelance copywriter.
Your business’s needs come first – don’t they?
Before you start looking for a copywriter you should first look at your business’s needs.
Q: Is your company big, small, tiny or huge?
A: If your company is relatively large maybe there’s someone within your business that could do the writing for you – a marketing assistant, branding expert or one of your sales reps. If you’re a smaller company, then you probably want to bring in some expert help from the outside.
Q: Are you looking for someone who can write for you on a part-time or per-project basis?
A: If the answer is yes, then you should be on the lookout for freelance copywriters. A good freelancer will be able to accommodate your schedule and offer you a free consultation.
Q: How big is your budget?
A: The amount of money you’re willing to spend will determine what kind of writer you can hire. Copywriters from agencies can cost $75 per hour or more, whereas independent copywriters generally range from $40 to $150 per hour depending on the level of experience and expertise.
Q: Do you need a writer with good technical knowledge?
A: If your business is an engineering firm, medical services company or a manufacturer then you may require the services of a technical writer. However, some copywriters may also be suitable if they have relevant background knowledge in your company’s technical niche.
What breed of copywriter will suit your needs?
Just like with other professionals, there are different breeds of copywriter available for hire.
You have writers who specialize in direct response advertising.
And then you have writers who are experts in general advertising.
Three are also copywriters who are capable of doing both.
You should focus on hiring a direct response copywriter if:
- You plan to create sales letters or direct mail campaigns
- You want ads for radio or TV
- You plan on using any kind of print media to advertise
Use a general advertising copywriter for:
- Crafting mission statements and brand vision statements
- Creative short copy for social media or websites
- Brand focused advertising for building brand equity
I would personally recommend that you find yourself a copywriter who is capable of writing both direct response copy and general advertising copy.
Freelance copywriters come in all shapes and sizes (figuratively and literally speaking)
Some freelancers only have freelance experience while others may have agency or in-house experience.
This is important to remember.
When you are interviewing a freelance copywriter make sure to say that you want to see their portfolio. A portfolio will contain their best or most recent work. Most copywriters these days will have their portfolios online – so just ask for their website URL.
You want to look to see if they have the right experience or knowledge that will be relevant for your project.
If a copywriter says they don’t have a portfolio this means one of two things:
The copywriter is just starting their career and hasn’t put together a portfolio yet.
The copywriter is not a professional writer – every professional writer will have a portfolio.
Every copywriter has their own flavour and style…
just like lollipops
Every copywriter has a unique style of writing.
It’s important to see if their style matches your company’s voice. Your company’s voice is the language and tone you use when communicating with your customers.
If you’re a high-end gastropub then you’ll want someone who can convey a smart but casual tone. But if you’re a funeral parlour then your copywriter will have to be able to communicate in a caring, formal and sensitive way.
Good copywriters can adapt their style of writing for almost any project regardless of the subject matter.
You can check this by viewing their past work.
If their copy’s tone is exactly the same for different businesses and industries then this means they are not adept at adjusting their style of writing.
Hire a copywriter who can write international ads
without breaking a sweat
Are you thinking of hiring a freelance copywriter who’s not originally from your country, or maybe the copywriter is writing for your customers in another country?
It’s always wise to check if your copywriter can write perfect copy in the language being used. They should understand the local way of speaking, correct spelling and cultural idioms.
For example, English is a strange language. There are many different English standards used globally: American, British, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, etc.
Cultural intelligence can also play a big role in writing projects for high-context cultures in Asia and the Middle East such as Japan, China, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
Hiring an international copywriter who has experience abroad can come in handy when you need copy written for online advertisements targeting customers in other countries.
Checking for authenticity is a must
– you don’t want to get sued do you?
It never hurts to do a quick background check on a writer’s copy.
You want to avoid hiring copywriters who plagiarize and steal other writers’ work.
Not only does it look bad, but you could be potentially sued if you use stolen copy.
Where can I find a freelance copywriter?
Now that you’re ready to hire a freelance copywriter for your project, you’re probably telling yourself “I have no idea where to find a copywriter”.
No worries, they’re actually quite easy to find… but remember, once you find a good copywriter don’t let go of him or her…
Because GOOD copywriters can be hard to find!
Writing detailed job descriptions and providing good briefs will attract high-quality freelancers.
An alternative but quick way of finding freelancers is via LinkedIn.
Scouting on LinkedIn may take a little longer, but it gives you access to millions of talented freelancers all over the world.
If you’re not a LinkedIn Premium member (which means you won’t be able to contact freelancers directly), then try contacting freelancers you find on LinkedIn through their personal websites or social media accounts such as Twitter.
Do you have horror stories or happy endings?
The good, the bad and the ugly… I want to hear ALL your stories. Tell me about your experiences hiring freelance copywriters.