First time working with a copywriter for hire? Here’s what to expect when you hire a freelance copywriter.
The first-timer’s guide to outsourcing business copywriting
If you’ve never worked with a freelance copywriter before, chances are you have a lot of questions.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at frequently asked questions regarding copywriters for hire—so you can make the right hiring decisions.
What to expect if you hire a freelance copywriter
Copywriting rates: how much do copywriters charge in 2021?
Let’s start with money matters, because “what does copywriting cost” and “how much should I pay a copywriter“ are two of the most searched for questions in the industry.
The simple answer is that it depends.
- What kind of project are you commissioning?
- Is it highly technical in nature?
- How many words or pages do you have in mind?
- Do you need it ASAP?
In other words, it comes down to what you need; your desired turnaround time; the length and topic; and on how much research and background work the copywriter will need to do.
As for rates: freelance writers’ rates depend on a multitude of factors including the copywriter’s experience, expertise, client base and more.
So while you can certainly find (mostly beginner) copywriters willing to work for as low as $5 per project, some projects can cost you upwards of $20,000 per page.
(Superstar—”celebrity”—copywriters and large marketing agencies may cost you even more.)
That is to say, how much a freelance writer makes depends on their chosen pricing model. Copywriting rates can be by the hour, per word, by the project or based on retainer fees. There may also be a surcharge for work that needs a quick turnaround, i.e. urgent projects.
Advance payments: do all copywriters ask for a deposit?
There are, of course, different scenarios but below are the ones you’re likely to encounter when hiring a freelance copywriter.
If you’re outsourcing to someone from a freelancing platform, there may be an “escrow” system in place to protect both you and the writer—and also so the platform can take their cut.
On the other end of the spectrum, a content / copywriter may not ask for advance payment at all. Instead, your project is held “hostage“ until payment is made in full—you don’t get to see the final version until it’s fully paid for.
More common is an advance payment of some sort. Since a copywriter’s work tends to be done remotely—without ever having met each other in person—you should mostly expect to make a (non-refundable) deposit before any work gets started. This is a standard practice and should not scare you.
The idea behind the deposit is to ensure that the copywriter’s hard work, time, and efforts are at least partially compensated. This is because there are, unfortunately, always a few bad apples out there shameless enough to take advantage of freelancers.
Back to the advance payment: don’t worry – this amount is deducted from the total charge. So you’ll only have to pay the remaining balance according to your copywriter’s payment schedule.
Other payment scenarios include fixed payment intervals, e.g. according to the percentage of work done. And in other cases, your freelance copywriter may ask you to pay a retainer fee to keep them on board for long-term or recurring projects.
Creative brief: what information should you include?
The creative brief, also called copywriting brief or copywriting questionnaire, is an incredibly important document—it’s what your copywriter will refer to for your project. In essence, it’s a guide for both you and the copywriter for hire.
The quality of copy your writer produces is affected by the quality of information you provide. In other words, the more detailed you are, the better.
So who prepares the copywriting brief?
Some copywriters will provide you with a form to complete and return, others will send you a list of questions to answer. You can also write up your own copywriting brief and send that to your freelancer. If it’s not clear enough or lacks important information, the copywriter will let you know.
What should the copy brief include?
A great brief outlines what kind of work you need; what your business / brand is all about; introduces your products and services; explains your vision regarding tone and voice; and talks about specific project goals. These are just some of the basics of what your copywriter needs to write effective copy.
Copywriting questions: why are there so many?
Completing a detailed brief doesn’t mean you’re never going to be asked another question again.
A good copywriter wants to get to know your business—and she will always keep an open line of communication.
There will definitely be more questions and you should be prepared to answer them. Be wary if you don’t get follow up questions at all.
We aren’t trying to inconvenience you in any way. On the contrary! We need the big picture to be able to write high-quality copy that actually gets the job done.
Copywriter consultation: what’s the best way to get in touch?
Some copywriters prefer hopping on calls, others prefer chat or good old-fashioned email. Their website will indicate what they are currently offering: phone, email or even in-person consultations.
Copywriting edits: how many rewrites do you get?
A product might undergo last-minute changes to its specs.
Maybe you forgot to mention That Super Important Point in the creative brief.
Or perhaps you just didn’t have all the information you needed when you first commissioned the project.
Whatever the case, and no matter how talented the writer, fact is things can and do change.
That’s why edits and adjustments – revisions – are part and parcel of the copywriting process—and why I say you shouldn’t expect the first version of copy to be perfect. That’s especially the case when you and your writer are just getting to know each other.
(If a copywriter promises you otherwise, there’s a good chance they’re lying. After all, they want to land you as a client.)
Now I’m not saying a perfect 1st version never happens. It does—but it’s honestly quite rare. Everyone wants to make some adjustments (even minor ones) until things are just right. I’ll go out on a limb and say you probably will too!
So how many rewrites do copywriters offer? First, there is no such thing as unlimited rewrites. You’re not going to find that anywhere. (Realistically, it’s simply not feasible – at least not without cloning or time warps!) But what you can expect is between 2-3 rewrites or revisions.
Are there any other questions you wish this post would cover? Let me know! I’d love for this page to be a valuable resource for all those about to hire their first freelance copywriter.