By definition, a copywriter’s role is to craft copy that influences people to take action. And more often than not, that is to make a purchase.
As the global market continues to expand there is an ever-increasing demand for stellar copywriters who can help brands compete by attracting more potential clients and a knack with using words to shift product at a faster pace.
As a result, the copywriting industry is bustling and teeming with creative wordsmiths in all shapes and sizes.
Some choose to work in-house whilst others prefer to freelance.
This can make the task of working out the procedure and getting down to the business of actually hiring a Freelance Copywriter rather complicated.
But fear not, to save you from any headaches, I am coming to your rescue with my straight-talking advice on what to consider before you hire a freelance Copywriter.
Let’s get into it…
Freelance Copywriters are your strategic partners
Right out of the gate, we have to set things straight. The freelance copywriter you hire isn’t going to be your employee. Instead, they’re your strategic partner brought on to help you achieve your company’s sales targets and growth goals.
Many freelance copywriters chose this line of work not only because they enjoy creating engaging, sale-driven pieces but also because of the freedom this line of work provides them.
It’s worth noting that this freedom does not come without sacrifices, ones that freelance copywriters are all too aware of.
To maintain the flexibility of being able to pick and choose how and when they work as well as who they work with, they forgo the usual perks employees are used to receiving.
This includes benefits like paid holiday, sick leave, health insurance, subsided training, equipment budgets and the like.
This, of course, has knock-on effects on the pricing of their work, availability, and the relationship dynamic between you and the copywriter.
With all of this in the background, it’s important to remember that the freelance copywriter exists to do one thing for you, that being getting your company sales!
Considering these details, any freelance copywriter you recruit should be seen as a partner in your business, and your relationship an alliance forged to attract potential clients, foster deeper connection with prospects and increase your sales.
You, on the other hand, will be responsible for providing the work at a fair price that is a true reflection of the value they are providing your business.
The partnership should relieve your stress not add to it
Chasing after work that was promised a week ago? Getting little no response from the freelance copywriter on when it will be sent? Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving of shabby, rushed work?
Well, it may be time to have a serious chat with your hired help or find a new copywriter altogether…
It’s likely you hired/ are hiring them to provide copywriting services either because they can do a better job than you in a shorter amount of time or to take some of the work of your plate so you can focus on growing your business and smashing your targets or both.
So, make sure this happens.
Don’t sit around slowly boiling with frustration. Get on the phone, Skype, Google Meet or however you communicate and discuss the issue, politely remind them of your agreement and expectations.
Remember it could be one, big misunderstanding. So, addressing any grievances professionally can help you avoid unnecessarily ruining your working relationship.
Whilst its expected that they’ll be small bumps and hiccups in the initial stages of your working relationship may have as you both adjust to each other but it should not be the everyday norm. Don’t feel obliged to put up with bad communication or work.
They care about you BUT…Freelance Copywriters can’t be there for you 24/7…
It then follows that although you’re paying them (a healthy sum I’m sure) the freelance copywriter is likely to have their own schedule, priorities, way of working and hello! other clients, they also have to attend to.
Although a dedicated freelance copywriter will do their utmost to create high-quality work whilst giving you the attention you require and deserve, they won’t be at your beck and call 24/7. Most simply won’t have the capacity to do so.
Also, not checking your expectations prior to commencing work with a freelance copywriter or anyone for that matter) can to serious disappointment and lead you both down a path of resentment when it becomes apparent your requests can’t be met.
Granted, this can be especially difficult to grasp if you have worked in or owned businesses with in-house copywriter whose sole job was to service that business.
But is totally doable. So, try to be respectful of their boundaries regarding communication timings and availability.
This isn’t to say you can’t set milestones and deadlines, by all means, do! It’s great for encouraging productivity and stirring up motivation on both sides.
Just hold back on the 1am ‘just one more thing’ and ‘needed within the hour’ emails unless it’s deathly urgent or a pre-agreed way you together (hey! some people are night owls).
Side note – we often find that once the panic has subsided, it becomes clear the issues really wasn’t that pressing.
Watch out for Scope-creep – the dreaded deal breaker
Regardless of who fault it may have been countless business relationships between copywriters and clients have been left in tatters because this every freelancer’s worst nightmare – the dreaded scope creep. In fact, by the nature of your job, I’m sure you’ve also encountered scope creep at some point in your career.
Back to the issue, perhaps the amount work and customer service the freelancer intend to provide was not clear before they began working.
Or maybe more work cropped up that was within the project the copywriter was working on yet hadn’t been expected and so it wasn’t set out in the copywriter’s agreed list of tasks they would need to complete.
Either way, enforcing additional obligations on to the freelance copywriter whether this is in the form of additional meetings or actual written work without offering to pay for it is unacceptable.
No one likes to work for free but especially freelancers when your time and work are your business (see point one for a solid reason why).
Consider, that whilst you’ll be set to benefit from the additional work done, the copywriter will be out of pocket as their wage goes down when you factor in the extra work they did.
And perhaps even worse, when the freelance copywriter is forced into a position where they have to work overtime for free, the quality of the work may not be up to scratch as it was rushed or done resentfully.
This makes the copywriter look bad as the work won’t be a true reflection of their abilities and it’ll make you look like a monster client.
We freelance copywriters provide ourselves on adding value to our clients and often go out of our way to exceed the client’s expectations. But, free work (if any) should be offered by the freelance copywriter and not enforced by the client.
Cultural fit matters but not more than getting the job done
This is a quick, yet often ignored point.
If you want to ensure your working relationship is a happy one, the trick is to work with copywriters that you naturally gel with than trying to mold the copywriter into the worker you want them to be. The latter rarely ends well.
But more importantly, the freelance copywriter’s main target is to write copy that converts your prospects into sales, not engaging team building activities, in-house meetings, office politics or even those (very tempting) after-work drinks.
Please don’t feel offended if they politely decline your invites or refuse to get involved in the day to day happenings of your business. It could just be that it’s not their thing or the way they work. Like if they work remotely, it may be that they simply cannot get to you to an in-person meetup.
Communication is KEY – everyone should know what is going on
Whilst a professional freelance copywriter is a writer, they are ultimately in the business of sales. So, they must market their services, get clients and keep them happy.
Then, it goes without saying that they should possess excellent communications skills and provide scheduled updates without being prompted by you or any third party.
Although freelancers have gained a terrible reputation concerning their ability to meet deadlines and communicate effectively, it’s possible to avoid these issues by clearly setting your communication needs, work quantity and quality expectations, and important deadlines in writing (a contract).
This should be done before you start any work.
This way the freelance copywriter is aware of what they are committing to and you can refer to this document to clarify whether the service level you expect matches that which was agreed upon and what they are giving.
A pro B2B copywriter is not a ‘Yes’ man or woman. They stand by their formulas…
…often because they work! A skilled freelance copywriter has spent hours upon hours honing their skills and has developed a proven framework to get the job done successfully.
So, whilst they’ll be open and receptive to your suggestions, keep in mind that they exist to bring you or accelerate conversions – even if they have to disagree with you on how to do this.
A good copywriter will not only inform you if they feel an idea or theme for the copy in a project is flawed. They will offer a solution that they believe will increase your conversion rate.
When you don’t agree with their method do speak up and come to the solution for your business,. Just remember, however, that they are the ones with the expertise. So let them do what they do best without friction where possible.
Those worth having are worth every penny they charge
The amount a freelance copywriter charged not necessarily affected by how long they have been in business but is dictated by they have the skills they have and ability to use those said skills to positively impact your bottom line.
The exceptions exist of course. For instance, if you have a product or service that the copywriter is interested in and is willing to barter with you to obtain it. This opportunity can also occur when the freelance copywriter wants to branch into new industries or is going it alone for after working for an agency and is willing to work with you at a reduced rate or free in exchange for a testimonial.
This isn’t to suggest that there aren’t some soulless money grabbers on the prowl for unsuspecting businesses to rip off, as they do exist, you’ll just have to watch out for red flags. Do your research and use your common sense to ensure you pick the right freelancer for your business.
A good freelance copywriter cares about your success
A reputable freelance copywriter that is serious about your trade will want to know about you, your goals, your mission, and your business.
So, they may have lengthy questionnaires ready for you to fill out, request buyer personas and conduct interviews with key members of your team to get to the heart of why your business exists, who it serves and the best way they can speak to these people.
An upstanding freelance copywriter has professionalism at the core of what they do. They will deliver work on time and if they cannot do so, they’ll inform the client asap and to lessen the negative effects of the delay on the client’s business.
They will also inform prospective clients when they cannot take on a project whether this is due to their lack of expertise in a complex niche or simply do not have the time. to take on the work.
Asking for feedback and metrics from your campaigns are commonplace in the professional freelance copywriters’ working world routine.
This information allows them to see how well their copy is performing and create an action plan to either optimise for more conversions if it is performing well or look for ways to remedy poor performing or flatlining copy.
So, please help out by giving them access to the data where you can.
They will ask for case studies, testimonials, and referrals. If you are pleased with their work, do oblige as it goes a long way.
Besides, it works both ways as freelancers have to network to become known in their niche and as a result may be able to help get your next project off the ground by connecting you with other freelancers to in spaces such as UI/UX, Design, Virtual Assistance, Communications and much more.
Even the most talented copywriter cannot save a bad product
Whilst an experienced freelance copywriter may be able to lure people with some with some wordsmithing mastery to go with a super slick landing page and some highly targeted ads, you’ll have a hard time converting the traffic into hard sales if your product leaves much to be desired.
Consumers are savvier than ever and can smell a rat a mile off.
So, before you shell out tons of cash to revamp your copy use this cash to finance product development. Take it from someone who has made the mistake of trying to sell an ok product in the past and failed miserably. It doesn’t work!
When you promise something whether that be a quality standard or feature, deliver it and meet or even exceed your customer’s expectations.
After all, prospects want your product and what it can do for them not the words scrawled on a sales page.
Freelance Copywriters are an investment, not an expense
If you are viewing copywriters other thana legitimate and necessary investment requires to take your business to the next level, then stop right there.
I hate to blunt, but ou are not ready to hire a copywriter just yet. Hiring a copywriter should be seen as you investing to reclaim your time, increase your sales an strengthen your business. Until you are able to view their work in this light you’ll have trouble justifying paying their rates, waiting to see results and trusting your freelance copywriter. This could lead to rash and premature decisions being made, sky-high stress levels and strained relationships, all of which are unhealthy for you and your business.
Being unsatisfied with the work produced for whatever reason is not a valid excuse for non-payment. The freelancing network is vast and vibrant. As a result, news spreads fast, especially issues of non-payment and spooks even the veteran freelancers. Don’t miss out on the chance to work with a well-respected freelancer because your former recruit blabbed to their community that you don’t pay up. Voice your concerns and work towards an amicable solution but don’t view as a chance to get free work (however bad it is).
To sum things up…
So there’s the wrap on hiring a freelance copywriter. They do not exist to just make your website and brand voice look sexy, fun or even cute.
Their primary aims are to connect with your audience, hit on their wants and go for the home run time – conversion!
Each will have their own way of doing things so check you are cool with it before you commit. And most importantly, give them the space to do their job, test their work against what you have and improve from there
Keep these tips in mind will save you a lot of hassle from having to pay a reputable freelancer to correct the mistakes of the rookie, give-it-a-go copywriters, and your own mess ups.