Working with a copywriter

If you’ve never worked with a copywriter before, getting started can be quite daunting. After all, you don’t know what to expect. And you’ve got so many questions! 

Today, we’ll take a look at the 5 things you need to know before you outsource your business copywriting and hire a copywriter.

What to expect when working with a freelance copywriter

Copywriting Rates

So this is your first time working with a copywriter. Then let’s start with money matters, because “how much does copywriting cost” is a frequently asked question in this industry.

And the simplest answer is that it depends.

It depends on what your needs are; on your desired turnaround time; and on how much research and background work the copywriter will need to do.

What kind of project are you commissioning? Is it highly technical in nature? How many pages do you have in mind? Do you need it within 72 hours?

If this is the first time you’ll be working with a copywriter, you should know that copywriters’ fees can range from charging by the word to by the hour or project.

Your copywriter will also apply a surcharge for work that needs a quick turnaround or that is more complex.

A Deposit To Get Started

Since a copywriter’s work tends to be done remotely—in most cases without ever having met the client in person—expect to make a (non-refundable) deposit before any work gets started.

This is a standard practice. The idea behind the deposit is to ensure that the copywriter’s hard work, time, and efforts are at least partially compensated.

Don’t worry – the deposit is deducted from the total charge. So you’ll only have to pay the remaining balance according to your copywriter’s payment schedule.

Your copywriter may have fixed payment intervals (according to the percentage of work done) or bill the remaining amount on completion.

Note that some copywriters might even hold the final version until they have received your payment in full.

In other cases, the copywriter may also need you to pay a retainer fee to keep them on board for recurring projects.

Copywriting Brief

The copywriting brief is an incredibly important document for both you and your copywriter—and it’s one that you will normally need to supply your copywriter with.

The brief will include such things as the details of what you need done and background information about you / your business. This is information your copywriter needs to write effective copy.

The great news is that your copywriter will either supply you with a briefing form that you can use or guide you with a long list of questions to answer if you don’t know what kind of information you need to include.

Questions – Lots of Them!

A good copywriter will want to get to know your business and keep an open line of communication. So don’t think that just because you’ve completed a detailed brief, that’s the end of it. There will definitely be more questions!

Working with a copywriter means lots of questions, like: What, Who, Where, When, How, Why?

We aren’t trying to scare you away or inconvenience you with questions. But we do need to understand what you do, who your customers are, and what your competitors are like. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

This is so that we can create convincing copy that makes you stand out. This is part of the copywriter’s research.

When working with a copywriter, anticipate a lot of questions. Make sure you set aside enough time to go over important details together. It’s absolutely necessary for the copywriting process.

Limited Rewrites

Don’t expect to love the first version of copy you receive.

I’m not saying it doesn’t happen (because there are times when clients will be thrilled with the first version) but you should know that it is rare that everything will be perfect on the first round – and that is totally normal.

That’s why edits and adjustments–rewrites–are part and parcel of the copywriting process.

Your copywriter wants you to be happy and fully satisfied. That’s why he will be prepared to make necessary changes. But keep in mind that there is no such thing as unlimited rewrites. Realistically, it’s simply not feasible. (At least not without cloning himself or time warps!)

Instead, you’ll be informed how many rewrites are included (provided the creative brief doesn’t change) in the price quoted to you before you even get started.

Keep in mind that copywriters all have their own processes and approaches to their work. If you have specific questions or special requests, then be sure to ask before you settle on a copywriter.

Now you know when you might be better off hiring a copywriter, how to choose a copywriter, and what to expect working with a copywriter. Next time, we’ll take a look at how to give your copywriter good feedback.

Last update: July 10, 2020