One thing most people fail to mention about being a business owner is that you need words to help you sell.
A whole lotta them.
Thing is, you’ll most likely end up writing them yourself for a while until you’re ready to hire someone to write them for you.
Depending on what stage of business you’re in, you’ll need different kinds of copywriting for different reasons.
So if you’re now sure how to hire a copywriter (a good one at that) this blog has got you covered.
So you need help with copywriting.
Cool, I can get behind that. I do that exact thing. But there is a myriad of copywriters that all focus on certain areas of the craft which makes the process super daunting.
Let’s start with the basics: choosing between a generalist and a specialist.
The generalist is exactly what it sounds like.
They’re most likely the person who says they can help you with anything and everything that involves finger to keyboard action.
This may come across as a negative. The common saying goes “a jack of all trades is a master of none” right?
However, if you’re looking for a writer on retainer to literally be your go-to writer for everything — newsletters, social captions, web copy, sales pages, and the whole lot— a generalist might be your best bet. But keep in mind, their focus is quantity. Writing for you as much as you can and in every way they can.
To find this unicorn of a writer who has knowledge in every area and is simultaneously good at each — is far and in between. Which is why you’ll most likely want to consider the second kind of writer:
The specialist is exactly what it sounds like. They’re special.
Haha, just kidding.
It really means they’ve spent a lot of time and energy:
Some other deliverable-based specialties Also Include:
Oy vey, that’s a lot. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Numbers 1 & 2 are the most common. But usually, copywriters who write a specific kind of deliverable also write within a certain lane.
(Using myself as an example, I normally write web copy for creative businesses of some kind. It’s rare you’ll find me writing for a cutting-edge SaaS startup. I was never a star STEM student and I still count with my fingers…so I’d rather not take on that mantle)
When you find a specialist, they’ve decided to specialize in that area because they absolutely LOVE that kind of writing more than any other genre.
It also means they’ll bring a certain level of passion to your project that other writers wouldn’t.
Now, just because a copywriter specializes in a certain type of copywriting doesn’t mean they don’t take on other kinds of projects.
It happens all the time.
I created my VIP Copy Week offering so I can continue writing for repeat clients that I adore. I may love website copy, but I’ve written my fair share of email sequences, blogs, sales pages, newsletters, and lead magnets too.
So yeah, specialized copywriters are capable of writing beyond what they specialize in. They just don’t do it as often.
Ultimately, choosing between a generalist and specialist comes down to budget and desired results.
What result do you want out of the project — are you looking for a lot to get done or for a focused amount to be done well?
What is your budget for the project — more entry-level or have you pinched your pennies for the right fit?
There’s no wrong answer. It’s just what you need most in this season of business. Timing is everything — hence the second question to consider when hiring a copywriter:
I’m about to address the biggest pet peeve copywriters face when deciding whether or not to take on a project.
Do not, I repeat DO NOT ask for a copywriter in a hurry 1 week before you want to launch your project.
Seriously, I rarely write in all caps, so this one is really important.
Even with a team, copywriters only have a certain capacity. There are so many hours in a day and plus you can’t force creative juices ya know?
That’s why we are very careful about the projects we take on — so we can give 100% of our effort to every client.
Yep. A good solid 3 months is what you need for a buffer.
Copywriters typically book out larger projects a few weeks if not a few months in advance. Meaning if you book me during March, I probably won’t be working on your project until May or June.
There are some copywriters that offer fast timelines (think VIP Copy Weeks or Day Rates). Even then, you can’t expect to receive copy immediately on your project start date.
More on that in the next section.
Not your designer. Not your tech person. Your copywriter.
When launching, I understand that there are so many pieces to the puzzle. So if you want a successful launch, copy has to be the first hire.
Project timelines can range from 3-4 weeks (yes, that’s even after 3 months of waiting on a waitlist).
It’s not like we enjoy making people wait. Us copywriters have big hearts and we truly wish we could help everyone all at once. We’re riddled with guilt just for putting people on a waitlist. But, we can’t help it. That’s just the nature of our work.
More importantly, copywriting has a lot to do with setting the foundation for messaging with your project.
Setting the strategy, the market research, the offer optimization, the brand voice development, allllll takes place when working together.
It’s a lot more than words in a Google Doc.
All that to say — you’ll want to account for some breathing room. For your copywriter’s sake and for yours.
You know how if you were to hire a designer, you would want to resonate with their design style/portfolio?
Or if you were to hire a photographer, you’d want to enjoy their editing/composition style?
Finding a copywriter is the same way. Kind of. Almost. Like, 95% the same.
Naturally, every writer has their own way of communicating. In buttoned-up terms, every copywriter has their own brand voice.
For example, my writing style is somewhat straightforward. Wholesome and warm yet still authoritative. What you see is what you get.
Some copywriters have a more playful, witty tone — squeezing in a laugh and a story between every line. Other copywriters may have an elegant tone with beautiful adjectives and word pictures strung together in perfect harmony.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule to find a copywriter whose writing style you 100% love. The great thing about writers is that we know how to emulate other brand voices… really well.
Nonetheless, if you notice they cling to a certain style, that means they enjoy writing in that kind of style. It comes most naturally to them.
Something else to take note of is what types of clients they’ve written for in the past.
Your copywriter doesn’t have to be an expert in your industry to successfully write for it.
I’d argue to say not knowing your industry gives them an unbiased, fresh perspective on how to showcase your project in a new light.
Going back to the niche concept, it helps if they are at least in the same vein of what your business lies in.
It’s probably a safe bet to hire a copywriter who’s worked with creative businesses if you’re a florist. Or a photographer. Or a web designer.
That same copywriter could write for a SaaS company — but it would be waaay out of their comfort zone.
As long as they are somewhat familiar with your industry and have written for correlating businesses industries, you’re all set.
Beyond their past work, it helps to know what it’s like working with a copywriter before you hire them.
I get that you can’t do the whole “try before you buy” shindig. I mean, you can — it’s called a *paid* test project (emphasis on paid).
I’ll tell you upfront, the more experienced a copywriter is, the less likely they will offer you that option.
So the next best thing is to peep at their testimonials and vicariously get a sense of their experience. Most copywriters pepper testimonials throughout their site and you can probably find some more on Google My Business.
Of course, these are testimonials will exclusively sing their praises. Why wouldn’t they be?
If you really want to do some digging, I suggest reaching out to their past clients and asking them firsthand about their experience. You also want to see that copywriters share some type of indication of *results*. Not just testimonials that say “wow, she was so great to work with!”
Find testimonials that are more like “Wow, she helped me gain traction and sales for my business”.
After all, that’s what you should expect when hiring a copywriter.
One final note as we wrap up:
Outsourcing copy isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it type deal. You can’t just hand off your words completely.
Working with a copywriter is a collaborative process.
For sure we can write out your vision, but you need to come up with the vision.
We can write what you’re trying to sell and offer, but you need to come with clarity of what you’re trying to sell.
We’ll create a compelling brand voice for you however you also need to have an idea of what your brand truly stands for.
I think you get the idea. The more you give a copywriter to work with, the more successful your project will be.
Now — aside from what I listed above there is also a time commitment you’ll need to consider as well.
For my process, you’ll need to be available for:
I often suggest booking a project during a quieter season for you so that you’re also able to put your best foot forward. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
Looks like we’ve made it to the end! Hiring a copywriter can feel like choosing the perfect takeout option for a Friday night Netflix binge (near impossible) but it certainly doesn’t have to be.
If you think I’m a good fit for your next project, one I would be flattered. But two, you can book your call here to get the conversation going!
Action-packed methods so your website can spark connections swiftly. Around the same time it takes to finish a leisurely afternoon stroll with a good friend — we should really do those more often.