When hiring a copywriter, you’ll have a list of questions that you will want to ask. Standard questions like, “what’s your turnaround time,” and “what are your rates,” are important, of course, but those questions aren’t enough to tell you if you’re hiring the right person. It takes time and energy to find a good copywriter, so when you bring someone in for a meeting, take notice of some of the more subtle signs that will tell you if she’s the right writer for your project.
Talker or Listener?
A good copywriter will listen more than she speaks. It’s great to come into a meeting with ideas, but a solid writer knows that she needs to really understand the client’s unique position and unique problems before making any suggestions. A one-size-fits-all type of approach should be avoided. You want someone who will tailor her approach to your business.
That being said, a copywriter should ask a lot of questions. She should be quiet and listen to the answers, but she should come armed with a list of appropriate questions about your products, your business and your goals.
Strategist or Order Taker?
After you’ve done your talking, you’ll want to ask the copywriter how she plans to approach your project. You’ll want to listen for signs that she heard what you said when you went over the project and you will want to see that she is a strategist who understands how marketing works. Someone who says, “I’ll take whatever approach you want,” is an order taker. In some cases you may prefer an order taker, and that’s ok, too. In those situations you wouldn’t want to hire a strategist who may feel constricted by the demands of the project.
Is Your Baby Cute or Ugly?
A good copywriter will tell you what you are doing right. Be very wary of someone who sits down and tells you all of the things that you are doing wrong. Creating panic is a hard-sell tactic and it’s often a sign of someone who is insecure and self-interested. Even if your last campaign flopped or your website really could use a facelift, you aren’t doing everything wrong. A solid writer will be able to recognize the strengths in your current campaigns.
Full time or Part Time?
You should ask potential copywriters if they are full time or part time freelancers. Copywriters with day jobs can be hard to reach from 9 to 5. If it’s important that you stay in contact with your copywriter, you may want to take this under advisement. If you don’t feel comfortable asking that, just ask what office hours she keeps.
You’ll also want to ask what her preferred method of communication is (if she didn’t ask you first). If you’re more of a phone person and she’s an emailer, you could hit a few snags. Be clear about how you like to communicate ahead of time.
Writer or Outsourcer?
Ask the copywriter who will be working on your project. Many writers – especially web content writers – outsource their work to others. If you aren’t comfortable with this type of outsourcing, be clear that you want the writer sitting in front of you to work on your project.
Bargain Basement or Designer Line?
When it comes to paying a copywriter, the old adage is true. You’re probably going to get what you pay for. The writer with the cheapest rates in town is probably not the best writer for the job. Additionally, a $175/hour copywriter may be too rich for your blood. Don’t dismiss anyone who has rates that may be a little more than what you were looking for. Most writers will negotiate, but remember, a solid writer knows her value. Your business is likely to get a far higher ROI from the money you spend on copywriting, and you will assert a far higher level of professionalism. How much is it worth to you to maximize your marketing?
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