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HOME::Writing & Speaking

Top 7 Great Tips! - Hiring A Copywriter

By Phil McCumskey

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Okay, so you've been put in charge of arranging the company's annual report, or press release or the updating of the website. Who's going to write the words? Well, my advice is to hire a professional copywriter. You see, the words of your communication are more important than the fancy pictures and graphics.

I can hear you say that you know your own business best and can do the job yourself. Well, be careful. You can't always see things as clearly as someone from outside the company can and you’re certainly not trained to write about it! A good copywriter however, is able to view your business with a fresh perspective and write about it in a creative and engaging manner. After all, that’s what copywriters are paid to do.

The secret is to find the right copywriter and establish a good working relationship with them. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Seek and Ye Shall find
    Ask your work colleagues or some of your clients if they can recommend a professional copywriter they’ve used before. If they can’t help, then Google “Copywriter.” Check the results and the copywriters’ websites until you find one or two that strike a chord. Remember, you can work with a copywriter who’s in another part of the country as almost everything can done via e-mail. You may be drawn to the copywriter’s style, previous work or sense of humour. At this stage, look at a few samples of their work and obtain client references. Talk to or e-mail at least two of the references.

    Don’t worry if a copywriter hasn’t done work for your kind of company before, because all good copywriters conduct detailed research and end up knowing a great deal about your business.

  2. Your Brief
    It’s important that the copywriter is aware of exactly what you’re looking for, so compose a brief of what you require, who you are targeting and completion date. Include details on the required tone of the communication (together with previous examples) and list some of your company’s strong points. Now send this to your copywriter and, if he or she is worth his salt, you’ll receive their initial comments and a quote. Some copywriters will respond with a few ideas as well as their costs. This is the kind you should look out for… someone who is prepared to spend time, at their cost, on your brief.

  3. Appointing a Copywriter
    You’ve chosen your copywriter so now, in writing, confirm the job, the deadline and the cost and make a point of running through their Terms and Conditions – which you should find on their website. These normally deal with client confidentiality, copyright issues, reproduction rights, rejection fees and many other important aspects.

  4. Working Together
    Your written communication will probably involve others in your organization. Make sure that the copywriter doesn’t have to liaise with each of them as they will all have their own ideas and may ask for changes that will end up costing the job more. Delegate one person to communicate with the copywriter. He or she can gather information, comments and suggestions from other colleagues and pass these on to the copywriter. Also make sure that the final decision maker, your CEO, Managing Director or Marketing Director is kept well informed. In this way, you’ll avoid confusion and costly changes later on.

    Copywriters will normally let you know how many document drafts are in their quoted price. Try to keep within this number or further costs will be incurred.

  5. Be a Good Communicator
    Let your copywriter know what you like and what you don’t. Be specific. For example:

    “Yes, we approve of the wording you’ve used to describe the manufacturing process.”

    “Our Marketing Director doesn’t like the section on Sales Strategy. Please re-write it in a more relaxed manner.”

    Copywriters require feedback of this nature and the work will be better for it.

  6. Working Together
    Developing a good chemistry between you and your copywriter is crucial and by working well together you’ll end up with great work! Plus you’ll have a copywriter who now knows about your company and will be ready to help with your next project.

  7. Go for it!

Phil McCumskey is over 50, bow-legged and dribbles down his chin! His mum and dad are English but he was born in South Africa and like a swallow he flips back and forth. His background is sales and marketing but for the last fifteen years or so he's been a freelance copywriter. He's written copy for radio and print ads, newsletters, speeches, flyers, brochures and website content


Article Submitted On: July 17, 2007