How to Hire a Freelance Copywriter
Essential skills to request, key interview questions, and more
Hiring a freelance copywriter is a bit like dating: it’s all about finding that perfect match. You want someone who understands your brand, speaks your language, shares your values (or can communicate them, at least!) and can produce copy that resonates with your audience.
And just like with dating, finding the perfect freelance copywriter for your brand takes a bit of searching and a pinch of magic dust. Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to finding a copywriter who will make your business shine.
First, ask yourself why you need a copywriter. Are you looking for someone to write website copy, blog posts, product descriptions, or something else entirely? Is it a one-off article or a writer to produce all of your content across the board? Do they need to be experts in your field or could they pick it up over time? If you can, it’s always a good idea to narrow down your search.
Next, you'll want to do some research. Where possible, look for copywriters who have experience in your industry, and read their work to see if their style aligns with your brand. If you created a brand guideline doc, dig it out and read it before writing your job spec. We’d recommend including your brand message and brand values in addition to the job description too.
Whether you’re headhunting a freelance copywriter or reviewing applicants, check out their online presence and see if they're active on social media, as this can indicate they're up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices.
According to a survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 71% of B2B marketers identify creating more engaging content as their top challenge. Copywriting is an essential aspect of creating engaging content, as it involves crafting compelling and persuasive language that can capture the attention of readers and persuade them to take a desired action.
By defining the scope of the project, researching potential candidates, and asking for references you’re more than likely to find your perfect match, and you won’t even have to take them out for dinner!
Things to look out for when hiring a copywriter
This is the most obvious, but also the most important skill to look for in a copywriter. They should be able to write clearly, concisely, and persuasively. Make sure the copywriter “speaks” your language and understands the tone of your brand. If you work in a niche market, check out who your competitors are using. What type of writing style would set you apart?
Writing good copy requires diligent research into the brand. A good copywriter should be able to conduct the appropriate research to gather as much information as possible to write effective copy.
High-quality content, using efficient SEO tools, can increase website traffic by up to 2,000% more than low-quality content.
Grasping SEO writing has become an essential skill required by any copywriter. Make sure they have a good understanding of SEO practices such as keyword research and meta tags, to ensure that the content they create is optimised for search engines.
Any copywriter you hire should have a good understanding of your brand. This will enable them to create copy that aligns with the brand’s voice, tone and messaging. Provide the writer with a concise breakdown of your brand’s tone of voice, values and style. If you don’t have this, this may be a service they provide.
It’s important that the copywriter can be creative and adapt their writing style to suit different audiences, platforms and mediums. Make sure they have strong proofreading skills to make sure that they’re capable of delivering error-free and polished copy.
As with any freelancer, a good freelance copywriter should be able to communicate effectively with their client in order to understand their needs and objectives to ensure the best possible service.
Questions to ask when you want to hire a freelance copywriter
Can you provide samples of your work?
Get an idea of the copywriter's writing style, tone, and expertise. This will also help you to determine if their work aligns with your brand and industry.
How do you approach a new project?
Try to find out a bit about the copywriter's process about how they go about researching, writing, and editing their work.
What is your experience in my industry?
Asking questions about their specific experience in your industry will enable you to find out if they have a good understanding of the specific terminology, audience, and challenges that your business faces.
Can you provide references from past clients?
It’s always a good idea to ask for references. See how they’ve gotten on with previous clients and what sort of results they achieved with their work.
How do you handle revisions and feedback?
To avoid any misunderstanding, try to gauge the copywriter’s level of flexibility and willingness to make any changes to their work based on your feedback.
How do you stay current with industry trends and best practices?
How is their SEO knowledge? How do they keep up to date with other technological aspects of writing? Find out how the copywriter stays informed and educated about the latest trends and best practices in copywriting.
Are you able to meet my deadline?
Freelancers often take on several jobs at a time. Make sure that the freelance copywriter is able to work within the required time frame and stick to the deadline.
What’s your rate?
Find out how much the copywriter charges or present them with a budget. Once you agree upon a price, put a contract in place and outline all eventualities. Are you paying per letter, per word, per article, per month…? How many re-writes will they do on request? Tighten up your brief to avoid unnecessary conflicts in the future.
To sum up, hiring a freelance copywriter can be a great decision to enhance your brand and ranking on search engines. Just make sure you know about their experience and portfolio, and make sure they understand your target audience and goals.
By following these steps, you can find a copywriter who can help you create compelling and effective copy that resonates with your target audience and helps you achieve your marketing objectives. Hiring a freelance copywriter will undoubtedly be an investment you won’t regret!
Images: Ami Smith, Aaliya, Imran Nasir