Should you hire a professional digital copywriter?

9 months ago

If you’re even thinking about this question, the answer is usually ‘yes!’ No matter the size of your business, not having a strong presence in today’s virtual landscape will hurt you. Here’s a big number to share right out of the gate: According to Adweek, 81% of consumers research online before making a purchase. This applies to services as well as products. 

What are prospects looking at? Websites. Blogs. Reviews & Testimonials. Social media. Product descriptions. White papers. Emails. Videos. All these resources – and more – require written content.

8 scenarios where outsourcing makes sense:

  • Your marketing department is overwhelmed.
  • You don’t have a marketing department. 
  • Bringing in a new hire is more expensive than outsourcing.
  • You’re behind with your own digital marketing – you haven’t posted  on SM in weeks.
  • What is SM? 🤔😉
  • You are launching a new service or product and need a campaign blitz.
  • You landed an important new client that will increase your workload.
  • You need a fresh perspective – you just can’t think of one more thing to say about “_______.”

What to look for in a digital writer

First and foremost, a writer’s skillset must address your goals. Each type of writing project requires a different slant. A successful writer understands how to anticipate and guide your reader’s actions, and adapt their writing style to align with the the selected media’s format and demographics. They also need to emote the correct tone and voice to reflect your business. 

You need someone who knows exactly how to write copy that will attract and retain your audience within a digital landscape full of competing distractions. If you miss the mark, your audience will bounce to a competitor. 

Writers with experience in digital marketing strategy can not only write, but consult on strategic planning throughout entire campaigns, across multiple platforms, and compliment your traditional marketing efforts. You may need some guidance on how to meet your goals – and even alter them with input from a consultant.

These are the strongest reasons to retain a seasoned writer rather than trying to forge ahead on your own.

What’s the one thing as important than talent?

Compatibility. Let’s face it, you may hire the most gifted writer on the planet, but if you dread meeting with them, you’re doomed. They need to “get” you. It may not be a scenario of “you had me at hello”, but respect without likability is a challenging relationship to thrive in. 

Additional qualities to look for are empathy and persistence. Successful writing relies on being able to understand your audience by putting yourself in their shoes. Research persistence should reveal their wants and needs – leading to those “aha” moments in how to best assist a client to communicate. Your writer needs to “get” your audience, as well as you.

How to budget for a writer

How much do you have to spend? Payment terms should be clearly defined and agreed upon before work begins. You should be given an estimate or proposal only after an in-depth discussion of your goals. Asking for a quote or an hourly rate prior to doing this is counter-productive. If the writer doesn’t know the scope or your project – they can realistically only offer ballpark figures. 

Keep in mind many quality writers quote by project rather than by the hour. This can ultimately save you money if the time invested goes over their expectation. Pricing hourly can lead to a professional having to defend how much time they award your job – which is unpleasant on both sides and can result in rushing the project. If the scope of the project grows, you will likely need to negotiate a change-order.

Typically you can expect a 50% up front and 50% upon completion fee whether you go with an agency or freelance writer. This amount may be discounted if you decide on an ongoing retainer contract per month.

How to work with a professional copywriter

Tell me what you want – what you really really want. One of most challenging tasks when communicating with your potential writer is knowing what you want versus what you need. Many clients try to define marketing plans before they have clear goals of where their company is headed and what they want to accomplish.  

There are plenty of scenarios in the building and growth of a company. For example, do you already have an established brand and logo, or need to set up your identity from scratch? Is there a digital presence at all (website, social media profiles, etc.) or simply content that needs a re-fresh? Having a short-term and long-term wish lists are valuable prior to meeting with writers. If you are struggling to come up with a marketing plan on your own, engaging writers/consultants who are also experienced in strategic planning is the way to go.

Understanding these goals will clarify the skillsets you require from a writer, and keep you from wasting time interviewing the wrong candidates. Ultimately, it will also ensure the content that’s delivered will be useable. Goals and workload determine whether developing an internal marketing team, onboarding a freelance or contract writer, or approaching an agency is the right solution for you.

Can you, should you, write your own copy? 

You might be a great writer. Even if you have a marketing or creative background, it’s not uncommon to drop the ball when it comes to your own content marketing simply because you’re busy with the day to day task of keeping the lights on. Drafting copy is an item that too often lands at the bottom of the to do list – especially if you don’t have the budget for an in-house marketing machine.

Questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge:

  1. Do you have the time to do your own marketing? 
  2. Do you understand the difference between content and copywriting?
  3. Do you have the expertise and experience to glean the best results? 
  4. Do your customers currently know what you’re all about and where to find you? 

Be realistic with your answers, and the solution will become obvious.

Do your own copywriting, with a little help from Wordswerk

Some of you may decide you want to tackle some – or all – of the work yourself. Perhaps you are not at a place where you can afford to outsource (yet). If you have the desire, skill, and time to write, Wordswerk also offers consulting and copyediting services to support you. 

If you prefer to learn how to do your own marketing copy for your company, you may benefit from a different level of guidance. We’re also here to jump in if things get too hectic, or iget away from you.

Wordswerk partners with entrepreneurs, businesses and marketing agencies. We work in tandem with marketing teams, or independently as your marketing representative. Take advantage of a 30 minute free consult to see how we can help you.