It’s also easily done.
Especially when you’ve no clue whether the copywriter you hire will get the job done.
Whatever job you give them.
If you’re part of online groups for copywriters, you’ll know that some copywriters have as much self-confidence as Don Draper using pictures from his own life to sell The Carousel to Kodak – in other words: quite a bit.
They’ll rave about how much money a certain campaign made for their client, the $0.01 per click Facebook ad they wrote, or how a recent email series is raking in the cash on autopilot.
And imply that their copy did all the heavy lifting. The copy alone got the results. That they’re the Holy Grail and the rest of you better hop on the profit train by hiring them.
That’s all well and good, but how do you know if they can be trusted?
Are their results for real?
How can you guarantee they’ll get similar results for you?
First up: You can’t.
Sure, they may have written email copy that earned a client over $10k in sales in a week, but you don’t know the history of said client or any of their marketing metrics that lead to a result like this.
So if you don’t know whether their claims are for real, how can you begin the journey of hiring the copywriter that’s right for you?
Let’s dig in:
The Chosen One
As with most business relationships, your network will bring in more quality referrals than a Google search ever will.
Ask your contacts if there’s a copywriter they’d recommend and why.
If your network doesn’t work, ask in online forums (Facebook or LinkedIn groups) you’re part of.
Specify what copy you want to have written (website pages, sales page, emails, ads) and the style of writing you want.
Most copywriters can wrap their heads around each of these, but few are experts at all of them. Look for a copywriter that specialises in the type of writing you’re looking for.
And if you’re on the look out for a Facebook group that’s full of copywriters for hire, head on over to The Copywriter Café and post your request – check with the group owner first.
It’s not the only group out there, but it’s the only one I recommend … because: I can.
Once you’ve found a few that tickle your fancy, remember:
All copywriters aren’t created equal
Some will be very new to the field. Others will gel with you. Some will fill you with confidence and others will just make you want to lose the will to live.
Your responsibility’s to figure out which one’s in front of you.
There are 3 steps to this part:
:: Step 1: Talk
Get on the phone with them and have a conversation. Get a feel for what they’re like to communicate with.
Their writing may be stellar, but do you even get on? Find out by using your voice with their voice and exchanging words.
If you’re stuck on what to talk about, here’s what to tell them about you:
- The nature of your business and the product/service you sell
- The project you want a copywriter to work on
- Your brand message
And here’s what to find out about them:
- How many clients in the same industry as you they’ve worked with
- What research they do before they write
- What types of copy they’ve written
- What they enjoy writing the most and why
Also listen out for how many questions they ask you … more on that in a second …
:: Step 2: Investigate
Ask about the previous projects they’ve worked on and who their clients were.
If they’re not willing to name names, ask them where you can find copy they’ve written online (if it’s websites or sales pages).
Sure, website copy changes constantly, but if they don’t have any clients they can share public copy for, yell red flag and bolt.
They should give you the names (and testimonials from) happy clients. These are a must if you want to know what it’s really like to work with them.
:: Step 3: Communicate
Ask for permission to contact their clients.
Then, either get on a call or send an email to these clients and ask them what their experience was like.
Here, you want to get a feel for how the copywriter interacted with them, whether they kept them up to date on progress with the copy, and how receptive the copywriter was to edits.
Now that you’ve found one that tickles that fancy of yours, what can you expect from them?
First thing to expect: Questions, and lots of ‘em.
If you’ve been hanging ‘round these parts for a while, you’ll know that I repeat this phrase a lot:
80% of the work’s done before you sit down to write
The same goes for your copywriter.
Prepare for them to ask a lot of questions about:
- Your brand voice
- Who your target audience is
- The hopes, fears and dreams of your target audience
- The product or service they’ll sell through the copy
- The design of the page/ad
The key words and phrases in all copy stems from research like this.
So come to the calls with your copywriter armed with this info.
And if you don’t already have it, prepare to find it. If your copywriter’s any good, they’ll help you with this. A lot.
Second thing to expect: A plan
Even if they’re ready to work on your project pronto, expect them to give you a delivery plan:
- When you’ll have calls together
- When the first draft will be delivered
- When you’ll review
- When the final copy will be complete
Agree these items and dates up front so you both know where you stand.
Third thing to expect: Communication
Life happens. Projects are delayed. On both sides.
This isn’t just limited to copywriters but professionals in general: They must keep you updated of any delays to the project, when they’re taking time off, and when they’re available for calls.
It’s professional, it’s courteous, and it develops trust.
Since all copywriters aren’t created equal, there are some that will surely make a fool of you.
Here’s how to tell:
THEY YELL ABOUT THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. A lot. They brag about all the money they’re making clients through their copy.
If you want to know what really goes into copy that sells, read this. It explains why it isn’t just about copy, but all the elements that go into making traffic and conversion happen.
If a copywriter claims it’s their copy that got the sales, do yourself a favour and run in the opposite direction.
They make promises. They guarantee results. They tell you traffic to your page will increase by X% or conversions are guaranteed to go up on a sales page.
No no no no no no no !
Just like writing cannot solely be blamed for sales messages not working, a copywriter cannot guarantee results.
Just like I wrote in this article, a lot goes into making a piece of copy or content convert into sales or opt-ins.
Any copywriter promising you results indicates one thing: Dash for the hills.
And finally – they don’t ask questions.
Remember what I wrote above about expecting the copywriter to ask a lot of questions?
Be very aware if a copywriter that doesn’t ask you anything.
Even if they’ve worked with clients that have an audience just like yours. Even if they’ve worked with you before. And even if they’ve written the copy and are now making edits.
Questions are a way for your copywriter to get to know your brand voice and audience in as much detail as you do.
Questions help the copywriter think like your audience thinks.
They’re the key to writing copy, supported by branding and traffic, that converts well.
If your copywriter understands the project and gets to work without asking any detailed questions (or doing any research), move on to one that will.
Don’t be made a fool of, folks. This article has given you everything you need to avoid the f-word feeling for good.
And if you’re wondering what you should brief your copywriter with for a new project, look out for my next article on precisely this topic.
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