Businesses, whether they like it or not, need copywriting. Copywriting is seen as some secretive, wizardly craft that is difficult to master. The learning curve turns busy small business owners off. Taking the time to study classic sales letters, absorb all of the principles and tactics, and learning how to construct hard-hitting sales copy can be an unattractive prospect when you’re running a company. If you look at most small business websites in your local market, you’ll see copy that is underdeveloped or poorly written; this is not because business owners are incapable of writing good copy, but because they just don’t have the time. You could simply hire a copywriter.
You have two options: Do it yourself, or find someone competent and pay that person to do it. We’ve written some posts in the past that deal with the DIY option, and it honestly isn’t a bad course to take if you want to be more hands-on with the marketing of your business; and though it may take time to learn the tactics, copywriting is far from an impossible task. But in this blog post, we’re going to discuss the second option– finding out how to hire a copywriter that knows what they’re doing, so that you don’t waste any time or money.
Finding a copywriter is an easy task. Finding a good one is another story. Let’s look at some questions you should ask before you hire a copywriter.
What industry do they specialize in?
Some copywriters can write for any industry. They won’t be an expert, but they can do the research and go from there. Some copywriters, on the other hand, will only write in a certain market. They will know that market inside-and-out and should be able to easily craft copy tailored to your business. Depending on your market, it may be a good choice to go for a specialist. On the other hand, finding a writer who is a generalist might be much easier. Also, depending on your market, you may not need a specialist. Either way, you should ask the copywriter what industries he has experience writing in, as that’s a good idea to get a handle on their relevant experience. Also, ask for samples in those industries.
What forms of copy can they write?
There are lots of possibilities with copywriting:
- Short-form or long-form sales letters
- Landing pages
- Product catalogs and descriptions
- Brochures and other marketing collateral
- Display Ads
- Pay-Per-Click Ads
- Video-form sales messages
And those are just to name a few. The more versatile your copywriter is, the better because you will be able to use them to craft sales copy in various mediums. A writer that is capable of writing for different mediums is a great asset to have and is something to look for when you hire a copywriter.
Can they capture emotion?
Pain, fear, and joy– these emotions are like gasoline fuel for the copy. Factual knowledge about the product is necessary, of course, but if you want to connect with your readership, you need to capture and channel the emotion that drives human nature. People are more likely to buy based off of emotion; facts or details about a product or service act as a support system for an emotionally based decision. If you read a sample from a copywriter, and you feel nothing, or notice weak attempts at eliciting emotion, then you should look to hire a copywriter. Emotion is the backbone of great copy.
Is their writing process comprehensive?
The research needs to be impeccable, the craftsmanship of the copy needs to be detailed, and the end result needs to be polished and spotless. There’s nothing worse than receiving a piece of “finished” copy that is littered with grammatical errors, poor formatting, and weak composition. Ask about the writer’s process; ask about the steps that they take in crafting copy. Do they research? Do they edit? How long does it take for them to usually write a piece of copy? The details of the process will tell you volumes about the quality of the writer.
Copywriting is far from the easiest skill to learn, and not many writers can do it well. That’s why it’s important that you do your due diligence before you hire a writer to create your copy. Use the questions listed in this blog post as a checklist before you bring on a copywriter.
Are you ready to discuss your next project with the leader in website design and marketing? If so, contact Zen Agency today! We are a group of experts!
Want more digital strategy advice and insights?
Sign up for our newsletter.
See more digital strategy posts