When it comes to the internet, everything boils down to copy and content. Without it, there would be an endless stream of empty websites, blank pages and nothing for Google to search for.
Think about it. When you want to find something out about a product, business or brand, what do you do first? If you’re like 99.9% of the population, you head online to check out their website, Facebook page and blog.
It’s here that you either find incredible content, loaded with helpful info and delivering answers to the questions you’re yet to ask – or it has you hitting that back button faster than a 1940’s housewife hitting a mouse with a wooden broom. Web copy is EVERYTHING.
Great writers are ten a penny, but an amazing copywriter is a rare find indeed! So if you’re thinking about hiring a freelance copywriter, here are a few pointers to consider from someone who knows best – our very own copywriter.
Know Where to Look and where to Avoid
The internet is a fantastic place for sourcing incredible writers, and there are many platforms out there for this very purpose. However, not all platforms are made equal – with many taking advantage of those seeking work on them. Freelancer and UpWork both take a hefty chunk of the worker’s earnings, along with plenty of other fees that deplete their earnings.
These platforms are also heavily saturated and qualifications and credentials are not verified, often leading to wasted time and money for content you could never use in reality. Instead of using platforms like these, you’ll have more success on LinkedIn, Facebook and by advertising directly on your website or blog and help minimise the promotion of underpaid work that only makes the freelance platforms richer.
Understand Their Value
Before hiring a copywriter, you should first know their value. Everything that goes online from your website copy to your blogs and your social media captions to your contact forms will be created by your copywriter. There’s so much more involved than simply writing.
- Do they have experience with SEO?
- Are they up to date with the latest styles and trends?
- Can they switch their tone of voice at the drop of a hat?
- Can they engage your audience?
- Do they have in-depth research skills?
With each yes you give here, their value to you goes up – but so will their rate of pay. In Australia, the average hourly rate for an experienced copywriter is $78.50 per hour. This averages out to approximately $153,075 for one full-time writer.
In the UK, a senior copywriter can command as much as $3,500 a day, while in the USA, an entry-level copywriter earns an average of $96,500 – making it one of the most lucrative careers out there. Of course, outsourcing can save you money when hiring from overseas. The aim is to find someone who fits your budget, who is reliable and trustworthy and delivers when you need it most.
Know What Skills Matter the Most
An experienced copywriter will have a full armour of skills ready to deploy. Of course, not all skills will be beneficial to you and your business.
Writing skills: This is the most important skill that any writer should have. While grammar and spelling are important, the main job of a copywriter is to create value-loaded content that stops the search. The tone of voice, structure and readability should all take priority over typos (this is what proofreaders are for). But that’s not to say you should overlook the importance of a well-structured piece free from errors. If you find a writer who can switch tone of voice, write for the reader AND deliver your brand message – you’re on to a real winner.
Research skills: 99% of copy needs some form of detailed research. Hiring a copywriter who is able to dig deeper, find those all-important stats and then build an article or webpage around it are hard to find. The last thing you want is plagiarism being thrown at you. Being able to procure all of the information you need and then using it to formulate a well-written piece that is unique and loaded with value is an art form. If you have a niche product or need technical content, a writer who can research will pay dividends when it comes to sales and conversions.
SEO skills: In the past, copywriters wrote and SEO specialists optimised afterwards. Today, the best copywriters are able to not only perform detailed pre-copy SEO but to create content with it without coming across as ‘spammy’. From eye-catching (and SERP catching) metadata to understanding keyword placement, hyperlinks and citations, they should have the basics down at the very least.
Look For Experience First
While it can be cheaper to bring in an entry-level copywriter in the beginning, this could end up costing more in the long term. A senior copywriter will need very little training and will be able to dive in at the deep end without being nannied. The more experience they have, the better their skills will be. An experienced writer is also less likely to leave after a couple of weeks because they can’t hack the stress of the position.
Of course, not every business can afford the skills of a senior copywriter and an entry-level one is the only option. Fear not. One of the main benefits of hiring fresh writers is the ability to mould them to your standards and expectations.
Be Prepared To Step Back
In the world of copywriting, there’s an old saying that goes ‘You can’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs.’ Basically, you shouldn’t be telling someone how to do something they’re already familiar with – especially when that person is likely more familiar with what they’re doing than you are.
Stifling creativity is one of the worst things you can do to a copywriter. As a business owner, you see your business from a very different light than everyone else does – and this isn’t always a good thing. You should be able to give them the basics and then let them work their magic, guiding them as they go without interfering. Let them bring your message to life without coming across as biased. It might just surprise you when you read it.
Obviously, an entry-level copywriter will likely need more guidance than a senior one. But regardless of their experience levels, avoid being overbearing and overly critical without first discussing any issues (unless you enjoy having a higher rate of staff turnover than McDonald’s). We’re creative beings here to add shine and sparkle to the masses. Let us shine.
Finding a proficient and reliable copywriter is like pulling that one green jelly bean from a jar of red ones – with your eyes closed. But when you do find that perfect match, you’ll know.
Likewise, we copywriters understand the value of an amazing employer and client relationship too, creating a symbiotic relationship that helps everyone involved grow toward an ever-evolving end goal.
We’re critical thinkers, intensely focused and see the beauty in words. But more than that, we paint pictures with what we say, turning nothing into something.