There are a lot of words to be written when you own a business. And it can take a lot of time out of the week to craft words for your audience or clients (never mind those internal emails and communication to your team).
From ongoing content (blogs, podcast show notes, social media captions, video descriptions, weekly nurture emails, etc.) to sales funnel copy (landing pages, opt-in forms, sales pages, sales emails, website copy, etc.) writing can take up a good chunk of time each week.
It’s not surprising that this is often one of the first things a business owner outsources when they’ve hit their max. And, there’s no regulatory body that oversees copywriting, and those calling themselves a “copywriter” which means there's a low barrier to entry, and the standards and quality of work are all over the place.
So how do you know if you’re setting yourself up for disappointment or if you’ve found a really good copywriter?
The first thing is to know if you’re ready for a copywriter because there is some preparation involved. But if you’re ready, then here are 7 steps to get started.
Get clear on what type of copy you need
What is it you want written for you? Is it content writing or copywriting? Not sure what the difference is, read this blog.
But if you know it’s for sure whether it falls in the bucket of content writing or copywriting, then you need to find someone who writes that type of copy and hire someone with experience in the type of copy you want written. For example, just because someone is a content writer and excels at long-form content like blogs, doesn’t mean that they write YouTube or Pinterest descriptions or write the content for your next lead magnet.
Similarly, not all copywriters will write copy for the entire funnel. While I write landing pages, sales pages, and emails, I do not write webinar scripts or Facebook ad copy.
Don’t hire a jack or jill of all trades. Copywriters have specialties and it’s best to find someone who specializes in the type of copy you need.
Determine the skill level you need
Depending on the project, your budget, and where you’re at in your business growth, you might decide to hire someone who is just getting started in writing for a particular project.
For example, you may decide that you’re ok with having lower skill level for content writing vs wanting to have someone with a higher skill level (also typically higher priced to reflect this) for sales copy.
There is no right or wrong answer here, but you will need to decide what skill level you need for your project before determining who to hire (so you don’t waste your time on calls with someone who isn’t the right fit for the project).
Hire someone with experience in your industry
Yes, copywriters will tell you they can write for any niche … but someone who specializes in a particular industry will be better versed in the jargon and tone associated with your business. If the writer can’t completely wrap their head around the product or the outcome/transformation it’s going to be difficult for them to clearly articulate the value in the copy (which is why I don’t write copy for anything related to quantum physics - that shit goes right over my head no matter how many books I read on the topic).
Someone who knows tech or SaaS will write very differently than someone who works in the female empowerment coaching industry. The audiences are different, their expectations around copy are different, the tone and cadence of the copy will be different. When you combine all these things together you can see how finding someone with experience in your industry will lead to stronger copy being delivered to you (without needing several rounds of revisions).
Ask to see their work
Most copywriters will have a portfolio with a few examples that you can look at. This way you can see if their style resonates with you. Testimonials are a great way to get social proof that their clients have been happy with the final product. But it’s also a great idea to ask to see examples of their work to make sure that their style fits with you and your brand.
Note: it’s important to remember when looking at their portfolio that the copy was written in the voice and brand of that client and is not a reflection of whether they can nail your voice or brand. When looking at portfolios look for the overall feel of the copy - does it pull you in (if you were that target audience) and does it fit with the way you want to speak to your clients. It also gives you an idea of somethings you might want to talk about on your call with them.
Ask about their process
Each copywriter has their own process for taking a project from idea to completion. Their process will tell you several things about their work (their organization, their skill level, their familiarity with the industry, and requests from people in that industry). Someone with a process will always be able to deliver better copy (and on time) than someone who just wings it or writes when creativity strikes.
Start with a small project
Though many of my clients are out of time when they’re looking for a copywriter, if you have time, you may start with a smaller project to test the waters. For example, hiring them to write a registration page before you hire them for a full sales page. Or writing an abandon cart sequence before the sales sequence, etc. Though if you’ve been referred by someone you trust this step isn’t really necessary (referrals are the best way to find a copywriter).
Get on a call with them
Make sure to get on a call with a potential copywriter before you hire them. I know your time is precious, but even a 15 min call will tell you if your personalities are a good fit for working together. This is also a great time to ask them about their process and experience in your industry. It also goes a long way to helping you feel confident that they are the right person for your business. There’s someone out there for everyone … much like the dating world you just have to find the right person for you and your brand.
Want to know what questions to ask them on the first call? Register for my free training How to Find and Hire the Perfect Copywriter for Your Business
Finding a good copywriter for your brand, business and personality is gold because there’s no shortage of copy to be written when you’re running an online business. Once you find your person you can create an ongoing relationship and not have to worry about that ongoing search on freelancing platforms that lead to disappointment (or disaster!)
Ready to outsource your copy, but have no idea how to find the right copywriter for what you need? Let’s find you a copywriter that matches your business needs without spending hours on freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. Learn how in my free training: How to Find and Hire the Perfect Copywriter for Your Business.