How to choose a copywriter

You’ve mulled it over and you now know that you need to work with a copywriter for your next project. Great! Except, with so many options out there, how do you choose a copywriter?

It can be pretty confusing trying to figure out just who you should work with when there are so many writers to choose from. From copywriting agencies to freelancers, local hires to wonderful talents abroad – how do you narrow down your options and pick a copywriter?

While there are no hard and fast rules on how to choose a copywriter, you may want to consider these 5 practical points when making your decision.

Considerations when selecting a copywriter

1. Think About Your Project’s Needs

A copywriter is a copywriter. Well, that’s not always the case. That’s because just like every other profession, copywriters have different backgrounds and work experiences that contribute—if not shape—their specialties. And that’s one of the factors you need to think about when deciding how to choose a copywriter.

What this means is that there will be times where you’ll want a copywriter with a communications background. Like if you need help crafting your social media messages.

Woman writing my plan in notebook

Then there are times where you’ll want a copywriter who has a business or marketing background. Like if you’re looking to bring your unique brand story to life in a way that increases conversions.

Before looking for a copywriter, you should define your project’s needs first. With that foundation, you’ll have a better idea as to who is best equipped to help you achieve your desired goals.

2. Know Your Goals

Speaking of goals, this is very important: before you shortlist copywriters, you’ll want to be clear on your goals. Then align those goals with what your copywriter can do for you.

Do you need to lower the cost of acquiring new leads? You’ll want to work with a copywriter who can ensure ad and message consistency and who is experienced in writing landing page copy that converts.

If you’re looking to spice up your menu with mouth-watering descriptions that’ll have your diners saying “must have now”—and maybe add an item or two to their order, because how can they possibly resist?!—you might want to look for copywriters that have experience in menu or restaurant copywriting.

3. Consider Your Budget

Your budget will play an important role in deciding who you choose to work with. While it’s true that a bigger budget doesn’t always mean better marketing, you’ll also have to keep in mind that writing and communicating effectively isn’t easy – so quality copy will always be priced at a premium.

This doesn’t mean that if you’re on a smaller budget (we all want to stretch our hard-earned dollar), there are no options for you. It just means you’ll have to look at the bigger picture to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises.

For example: During your search, you’ll come across copywriters that charge by the word, by the hour, or by the project. Choose wisely – the most affordable option at first sight may cost you more in the end. While price shouldn’t be your only factor, you’ll want to make sure you get a cost estimate / quote and ask about rewrite limitations before you make your pick.

man with laptop doing research and making notes

4. Do Your Research

I’ll keep this point short since it is pretty self-explanatory and ties in with points #1 and #2.

In order to determine if the copywriter you’re dealing with (and eventually will hire) is the best person to help you achieve your goals, you’ll need to do your research. That means take a look at the copywriter’s website and, if they have one, their blog. What kind of services or specialties does the copywriter offer? What guarantees do they make?

Don’t be too quick to discount them if you don’t see testimonials. It could simply be that the copywriter has chosen not to disclose who their clients are (confidentiality) or has just recently started working independently. It doesn’t mean they aren’t any good.

That’s why you’ll also want to…

5. … Consult With The Copywriter

You’ve perused the various copywriters’ websites but in reality, that’s just an overview. You can’t get a full picture without actually talking to the copywriter. Therefore, part of your decision making process for how to choose a copywriter should include setting aside some time for a consultation. Most copywriters offer this for free and without any obligations, so you have nothing to lose.

Talk about your project. Ask the copywriter about how they work. It’s only through chatting with them that you’ll be able to get a feeling if you actually like the person you’re dealing with and, more importantly, if this is someone you feel you can trust with your copywriting project.

Are they professional? Are they quick to respond? Are they genuinely interested in what you do? Are they confident they can achieve your goals? Can you see yourself working with them for the duration of your project?

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It’s important to note that experience isn’t necessarily the most important aspect to consider, although certainly highly desired. Flexibility, understanding, and the drive to achieve your goals (not just their own) are incredibly important for copywriting success.

So approach your search with an open mind and you’ll certainly find the right person to help you develop winning copy.

What to look for in a copywriter

The next step is to think about the qualities you want in your copywriter. Certain characteristics – like the ones mentioned below – would make life easier.

Capable of matching your style

The freelance copywriter should ideally be able to quickly adopt your brand’s unique voice and style. Consistency is crucial, so there’s no use in hiring a copywriter with impressive specs only to find out that he can’t emulate your brand’s persona.

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Versatile writing skills

If you’re going to be working together long term, you might want a copywriter that isn’t just skilled in writing one specific type of copy, e.g. sales letters. You want one that’s adaptable and able to develop text for different types of materials – whether it’s an old-school brochure or effective product descriptions.

A good listener

It’s not enough to have a talented writer working on your project. You want a copywriter that listens to you and takes the time to ask (a lot of) questions. Be wary of copywriters that don’t bother to get to know your business or your needs.

Reliable and dependable

You want to choose a copywriter that delivers on time and on brand. That means he should be flexible enough to adapt to your scheduling needs—or let you know outright / as soon as possible if that won’t be possible—and willing to make reasonable adjustments to the copy.

You and your copywriter will normally discuss and agree on the project time frame before getting started.

Having said that, we all have to be flexible and understanding at times because, obviously, “life happens”—we fall ill, have occasionally crappy or intermittent internet service, or simply encounter unexpected scenarios (like a global pandemic or other ‘acts of God’ ) that get in the way of what was agreed upon or scheduled. But that should be the exception to the rule, not the norm.

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Last update: July 9, 2020