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How to hire a great copywriter - 5 top tips

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The written word is a funny thing. It’s something `almost all of us have a basic understanding of and use every day to reply to emails, forward distracting memes to our co-workers and message our significant others about dinner. But how often do you really think about what you’re writing? 

A copywriter is always thinking about what they’re writing. They’re analysing every last syllable and putting together pieces of content like a complex puzzle until everything fits just so. It can mean deleting entire paragraphs of waffle or swapping out a few lines and phrases here and there but it is all meticulously crafted and considered and it’s always “for a reason.”

A copywriter’s curated content is something that businesses can live or die by and as such, finding the right copywriter for the job is rarely a straightforward task.

1. Check them out

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The marvellous thing about social media is that we’re always little more than a few clicks or taps away from a professional’s portfolio. What once would have required weeks of tedious back and forth can now be achieved in the same amount of time it takes to put the kettle on.

On Creativepool alone there are thousands of copywriters specialising in everything from digital and SEO to journalism and advertising, all with profiles engineered to show off their best work. Any copywriter worth their salt will have a vast portfolio of content online to share with you and you’ll very rarely even have to ask.

2. Know your budget

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There’s no shame in wanting quick and easy ‘cheeseburger and fries’ copy and there are hundreds of agencies out there happy to indulge in such keyword-stuffed wonders. But if you’re after something genuinely authoritative and engaging, you’re going to have to pay for it. 

By all means, shop around for quotes but, as a rule of thumb, do not expect to pay peanuts and get gold.

3. Perfect your brief

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If I had a pound every time a client sent me a brief that was either too vague or too specific I’d be a very rich man. There’s an art to writing the perfect brief and it cannot be mastered overnight. It takes a lot of trial and error and back and forth but once you’ve perfected it, that’s a skill which will save you dozens of hours in the future. 

Even the best copywriter is only as good as their brief they’re given but if you have the right brief and set out the parameters of your project clearly then you’re more likely to attract the cream of the crop.

4. Get a sample

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While it might be oddly insulting to ask a senior copywriter who’s been in the game for decades for a 500-word sample to essentially “prove they can write,” it’s certainly not unreasonable to ask them for a sample of their written work (if it’s not readily available online). 

Ask for something that is relevant to your business and if you think their style and expertise is a good fit, take it a step further and commission a paid test piece.

5. Ask the right questions 

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We’ve all become quietly accustomed to meeting people for the first time over Zoom so we should all be dab hands at it by now. So, once you’ve got through the test piece and you’re comfortable you want to move forward with the writer, set aside a good hour and really get to know them. 

Experience has taught me that you do better work for a client if you can put a face to the words you’re typing. Use this meeting as an opportunity to ask them about their experiences, their process and whether or not they are open to collaboration. The questions you ask will be unique to your business, of course, but an hour should give you enough time to judge whether or not this person makes sense as the carrier of your voice.

How do I keep my copywriter?

If you think you’ve stumbled across a copywriter that gets your TOV, your workflow and your brand personality, don’t you want to do everything in your power to hold onto that writer?

Sort payment first

Before a single word is typed, make sure you have sorted payment terms. Whether you’re working on a per-hour, per-word or a fixed fee basis, it has to be sorted beforehand, otherwise, you’re going to find yourself on the receiving end of an incredibly uncomfortable phone call

Trust their ideas

Be receptive to their input and open to their ideas. This is a professional who might have years of experience in areas you might have never even heard of so don’t look a gift horse in the mouth if they’re willing to impart some of that wisdom.

Pay your invoices

There’s nothing that puts me off repeat business for a client more than a delayed invoice payment. If you genuinely respect their work, pay them promptly and don’t expect them to chase you for it. There really is nothing worse. Trust me, pay your writers on time consistently and you’ll have a writer for life. Well, at least until they find someone willing to pay them more. We don’t do this for our health, after all.

To find the perfect copywriter for your project, you’ll find literally thousands of skilled writers on Creativepool ready to bring your briefs to life.

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