What should you look for in a copywriter?
Updated: Jan 16
So, you’ve decided to go about hiring a copywriter but aren’t quite sure where to start? Whilst some marketing firms have in house copywriters, it is more often than not that copywriters are hired by the business itself, or hired as a freelance contractor via a marketing agency. In today’s marketplace copywriters are a dime a dozen, so it can be overwhelming choosing the one right for the job if you aren’t too familiar with how to hire a copywriter. To make the search a bit easier, here a few must haves to look for in a copywriter.
Hire a copywriter who is an excellent writer
First and most importantly a copywriter must have excellent writing skills. This seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised how elementary sounding some writer’s copies are. Many today rush through a blog post or written web copy just to get done and get the next job, as it is a very competitive marketplace for freelancers these days. Also, some copywriters can produce decent copy but their writing style leaves much to be desired. Finding someone with an actual talent for wording, flow and excellent grammar usage is key. Ask for recent, as in within the past 30-60 days, work samples or links to published work. This will help insure who you are hiring is not only indeed a working and successful copywriter, but has the talent and know how you need.
Make sure they are available
Again, this may seem like an obvious thing to look for in a copywriter. However, as many copywriters today work as freelancers, some can become overwhelmed with the amount of work if they take on too much or get too many contracts. Always communicate with a prospective candidate about what hours they will be working on your project, what hours they are available if you need to discuss anything further and how long they typically spend on a project your size. Making sure the copywriter you decide to hire is reliable and has the time to spend creating the best possible work they can is essential. Hiring a copywriter who brags about multiple clients they have may be a red flag. While you want experience in a copywriter, you also want them to give the appropriate amount of attention to what you are hiring them for.
Make sure they have the qualifications
This is essential. As there are many types of copywriting out there, from basic website content to news article and blog writing, product descriptions, ad copy and marketing material copywriting, be certain that the copywriter you hire has not only experience, but skill in exactly what you need as well. A good copywriter should have multiple work samples easily available to you via their website, or upon request. Ask for these if they don’t have something you are looking for specifically available for public view. If you are in need of a press release for example, make sure your copywriter knows exactly how to best format a press release and can provide you with actual examples of press releases they have done. Hiring someone not as skilled at what you need specifically is just a waste of money. Don’t be afraid to ask for references either. As with any job offering, references can be very helpful in determining if someone is right for the job.
Find a copywriter with passion
Just as with any creative skill, passion can play a big part in the end result of a project. After speaking to a prospective candidate either virtually or face to face, you should be able to get a basic idea if they are excited about the project at hand or not. Writers, as with a lot of creative occupations, can easily lose the passion they once had for the art. Striking up a friendly conversation with any copywriter you may hire and discussing things like favourite projects they have worked on may help you get a feel for their level of passion and dedication to writing. Passion comes across in art, and though some copywriting jobs may be more on the technical side, a copywriter with a love and passion for their work is much more likely to produce writing that attracts clients to your business or brand, which is really the main goal here!
Hire a copywriter with a wide range of skills
Perhaps you only need a copywriter for basic website content, like your home page, product descriptions and about page for the time being. If this is the case, it is recommended to look for a copywriter who excels at the type of work you need done now, but also can provide a range of other services. For example, you may at a later time decide to add a blog to your site and will need a copywriter to create interesting news articles that drive traffic to your site for you. In this case hiring a copywriter from the start that has an expansive range of skills will save you the time of searching for another copywriter down the line if the original copywriter does not have much experience in blogging. You want a copywriter to be highly skilled in these main areas: creative writing, SEO (search engine optimisation) writing, and technical writing. Look for a copywriter who is capable of creating creative written content not only for your project at hand, but for future projects as well. A well rounded copywriter should be proficient in descriptive writing, creative writing and technical writing as well as successfully completed projects in each.
Find a copywriter who knows SEO
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is huge when it comes to hiring a copywriter. A copywriter without sufficient knowledge of SEO writing will not successfully incorporate the keywords and phrases in their writing that is needed to get your site or brand more visibility by ranking your site higher in the online search engines. This should be a key skill on any copywriter’s CV which you will look at. SEO writing is very commonplace in the industry today, however there are still plenty of copywriters out there who haven’t yet honed this skill. Ask any prospective candidates about their knowledge in SEO as well as how their SEO skills have helped other clients of theirs. A copywriter highly skilled with SEO should have no problem giving exact examples of past clients who their writing has helped gain visibility and traffic on the web.
Finding the right copywriter is not exactly a simple task as there is much to take into account when hiring someone, especially as a freelance contractor. There is plenty to look for and look out for. Following these six tips however, should help make your search for a copywriter a bit easier and less stressful.