If you’re looking for a copywriter for hire, make sure you’ve thought deeply about your business and your audience before reaching out to a copywriter—or risk wasting your time and money.
When a potential client reaches out with a mission that I’m excited about, I immediately want to say yes. They’re passionate, they have a desire to make a difference in their community, or they’ve touched on a pain point that feels so real to me, and my fingers are already tingling with anticipation to help them reach the full audience they deserve to reach.
But, after an initial conversation, I realize there’s a problem: They’re not ready to hire a copywriter…. Yet.
There are a few things that you absolutely must think deeply about before hiring a freelance copywriter, but they aren’t always obvious, especially if you’ve never worked with a copywriter before.
So, are you ready to hire a copywriter?
If you can answer yes to the following 4 questions, then I’d say you’re ready to get started.
1. Have you invested in your business?
All founders of successful companies or organizations will wind up investing countless hours of their time and money at some point. That’s a given. But what I want to know is—have you done so already?
Sometimes people aren’t sure at what stage a copywriter comes in. Do we hire them at the beginning to help us work with our branding from the get-go? Or do we hire them once we’ve established the business?
The answer is firmly in the latter camp. Copywriters aren’t usually business strategists. They’re there to write copy, whether that’s in the form of a website landing page, an email campaign, or an advertisement. And writing copy that’s effective at selling is extraordinarily difficult when the business isn’t clearly defined.
That’s not to say a copywriter can’t help you define your brand’s tone of voice (I love doing this!), but we do need something concrete to start with, even if it’s just your crystal clear conception of who your audience is, what you’re doing for them, and how you’re doing it.
2. Have you identified your target audience?
Who is your audience? What do they really want, related to your product/service? Do they have children? Do they care most about price, convenience, or aesthetics?
Copywriters transform qualitative data like this into words that are designed to sell to a specific type of person. And unless you’re hiring a larger agency that has the resources and the manpower to put into market research, the copywriter you hire is going to need you to provide the bulk of the insights into your customer.
However, getting this information doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
If you’ve had customers or clients before, you can simply make a list of their shared traits, and then call them and ask questions about what drew them to your product or service (or send them a survey). If you don’t have existing customers or clients, try looking at the types of people close competitors are marketing to. Finally, if you do have financial resources at your disposal, enlist a market research company to do the work for you.
3. Have you thought about what you want your potential customers to do?
This might be the most important question to answer before hiring a copywriter, but it’s also often the easiest. If you sell a single product or service, then the answer is, of course, “Buy my product or service.”
But what if you have a business that isn’t so clear cut? Maybe you want people to buy your book, but you’re also a public speaker. Maybe you’re a combination hair and nail salon. Maybe you’re not selling anything at all but simply trying to build a community or spread awareness about an important topic.
Here’s what you can ask yourself to start getting clear on what you want your customers to do:
What’s my most popular service? Or, What’s my biggest revenue stream?
Chances are, if it’s making you the most money, that’s what you want to focus on selling.
Can I combine all my services under one umbrella term?
Sometimes, it can feel like there are a bunch of things your business does, but really, they are all just variations on one thing.
If I were my customer, what would feel like the next logical step after hearing a one sentence explanation of my business?
What your business does could be more complicated than can be easily explained in a few words—and customers aren’t going to buy if they don’t understand what they’re buying. Or, maybe what you sell is quite expensive, and many people would be hesitant to buy after just a quick explanation of the product or service.
Asking yourself this question can help you see whether you need a call to action that’s more about helping your customer get all their questions answered then it is about buying right away.
4. Have you considered the web design?
I actually believe it’s easiest to hire a copywriter before a web designer, since the copywriter is then free to write whatever it takes to really sell, instead of having to fit copy into specific boxes that a designer has laid out.
That being said, it can be helpful to know if the client has a designer in mind for the project already, or if they’re planning on hiring a designer at all. If the copywriter knows that a designer can do really cool stuff with text and graphics or that they’re more of a traditionalist, it gives us a clue on how to organize the copy.
In addition, if you’re planning on using a DIY website platform like Squarespace, knowing those limitations ahead of time ensures that the copy can be seamlessly integrated into your template.
This deep, empathetic thinking and planning is, to me, one the more fun aspects of the copywriting process. Of course, the copywriter will have many, many questions for you once you start working together, but if you’ve done the upfront deep thinking, whatever we ask you will be a breeze to answer.
So... is your business ready to invest in professional copywriting?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you’re in a good place to hire a copywriter.
Ready to get started? We’ll kick it off with an introductory video chat to gauge whether I’m the best copywriter for what you need.