5 Ways to Make Sure Your Copywriter Gives You What You Want

By Madeline Jacobson

on target

These tips will help keep your copywriter on target.

You may have caught my previous posts about choosing between taking a DIY approach to your business’s copy or hiring a copywriting pro to produce your written content. If you’ve opted to have a copywriter come on board to help develop your copy, here are a few tips to help you get the results you want.

1. Show them what it is you want for your business’s copy. You can give your copywriter an idea of where to start by providing a few samples of copy you like, whether it’s your own work or just an example from a magazine ad. Demonstrating how you want your copy through these example pieces is much easier than trying to explain it all yourself. And having a sample—a sort of copywriting blueprint to use when writing—will make your copywriter’s job much easier, too.

2. On large projects, ask for an outline. Have your copywriter come up with a basic outline of the assignment(s) you’ve given.That way you’ll know what sort of thought is going into the webpage, ad campaign, or online marketing copy that your copywriter is tackling for you. More importantly, if you find that you’d like to make a few adjustments, you’ll be able to do so before the real work on your copy begins, sparing you from frustrating re-writes later on.

3. Ask for a sample of one part of a larger project. To make sure your bigger projects start on the right track, you can ask your copywriter to come up with a test version of a copy assignment, to provide you with a model of how he or she would approach the piece. Getting a preview like this can be more revealing than a verbal description or outline the copywriter may give you about his or her ideas for the larger project the assignment is part of.

However, expect to pay for this test sample. Good writing takes time, and the initial assignment often takes the most time, since the copywriter is still learning about your company and your needs. Most skilled professionals won’t give away their work for free, so by only accepting candidates who are willing to do a free test, you may be limiting yourself to less experienced writers.

4. Be constructively critical. If the copywriter delivers something that doesn’t meet your needs, it’s important to communicate the problem. Be as specific as possible about what the problem is. If your copywriter has made a style or word-choice decision that doesn’t sit right with you, speak with them about exactly why it doesn’t, and brainstorm together as to how to better address the goals of the assignment. It’s also helpful to write up a few notes to give your copywriter as another takeaway for the planned revisions.

5. Hire a real pro. Last but far from least, it’s crucial that the first decision you make involving a copywriter is the right one, so be sure that you screen possible hires thoroughly. It’s standard practice for companies to ask for a portfolio of previous work from copywriting prospects, and this helps the employers decide whether the candidate is a good fit for the sort of copy their company needs.

Having a skilled professional behind your business’s copy can do a lot for customers’ perception of your brand, as well as the effectiveness of your advertising and marketing campaigns, and keeping an open line of communication with your copywriter will ensure that the content produced remains in line with the message you want your copy to convey.

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