How to find a great freelance copywriter.

Thinking of hiring a freelance copywriter?

I heard on the grapevine that you might be in the market to hire a freelance copywriter.

Great decision (if I do say so myself.)

Working with a professional writer can do wonders for your business – providing you choose the right one. There are so many to choose from, however, that you may struggle to know where to start when it comes to finding the right one to represent your brand.

How to find a good copywriter

Mention you need a copywriter on LinkedIn, for example, and you’ll be inundated with responses, many from great writers with fantastic wordsmithing skills, amazing experience and a wonderful portfolio of work to share, along with a variety of glowing testimonials. Instead of helping you narrow down the field, this may leave you more confused than before.

So how on earth do you decide which writer to hire, when everyone’s waving a hand in the air, shouting ‘Pick me?’

  1. Provide a detailed brief

The first thing you can do to find the right freelancer copywriter is to provide a tight brief.

A general request (‘looking for copywriter – can you help?’) is likely to result in an equally general response, so be specific. If you’re looking for an experienced web copywriter, say so. If you need someone to write copy from scratch, rather than editing some existing text in need of a little TLC, say that too.

Give potential writers as much information as you can about tone of voice, target audience and intended purpose, along with providing information on the scope of the project (is it just one page of web copy, or might this job lead to content for the whole site, along with a range of other marketing materials?)

Even at the enquiry stage, a well thought out, informative brief will help a potential copywriter determine whether they’re truly qualified to do the work on offer and will also allow them to craft  a well thought out, informative quote that spells out exactly what you can expect for your money.

2. Decide on a niche or generalist copywriter

If the job you’re hiring for falls within the financial, medical or technical sector and is of a highly complex nature, you may wish to hire a specialist writer who works with this type of material every day.

If I believe you’d fare better with a niche copywriter, I’ll let you know when you make an enquiry and can often point you in the direction of a writer who can help when I can’t (I’ve been in the industry for almost a decade, and have made some fantastic contacts that I’m more than happy to share.)

As a generalist copywriter, I’ve worked with clients in areas as diverse as audio equipment retail, organic skincare, engineering, drinks manufacture and catering. I thrive on variety and working with me can certainly be a great way to find a fresh new approach.

I also thoroughly research your industry in order to write about it with authority and clarity (perhaps making more effort than a niche writer who’s become over-familiar with their subject.) This extra effort could be why so many clients choose to work with me when there are specialist writers available in their sector. I’m certainly kept on my toes by the varied nature of my work – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

3. What’s your budget?

Choosing a copywriter based exclusively on price is a mistake.

The most expensive copywriter you come across won’t necessarily be the best copywriter out there. But as with most things in life, you’ll probably get what you pay for, as the most experienced and effective copywriters generally command the highest rates (remember that copywriting is a business investment that should produce a great ROI.)

Some people turn to sites like Upwork and People Per Hour when looking for a freelance copywriter. These platforms allow you to set the rate of pay for work done (this will usually be much lower than what you can expect to pay when collaborating with a freelance writer on a private basis) and may get lucky by chancing upon a highly talented amateur or a professional writer in between jobs, looking to make some fast cash.

Most of the time, however, content mills are populated by highly inexperienced writers churning out poor quality copy that might well leave you disappointed and disillusioned.

I’m often approached by clients looking to have work corrected or even redone by a professional writer with a reputation to protect and some skin in the game.

Unfortunately, the adage is true (and very satisfying to type)

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.

I publish guidance rates on my website to give potential clients some benchmark figures before they spend time and effort making an enquiry. My copywriting quotes are bespoke, and will vary depending on different factors, so please don’t take the rates I publish as concrete.

If you have a small budget or can’t quite stretch to the job, you’d ideally like me to complete, it’s often worth getting in touch to have a chat about what I could do for the funds you have available.

4. Go with your gut

I provide work examples and testimonials on my website to help build trust with prospective clients – after all, when you hire me, you’re shelling out your hard-earned cash and putting your precious business in my hands, you deserve some reassurance that you’re making a good choice (and I truly believe that you are – I take my work very seriously and I’m seriously good at it.)

Many of my clients, however, tell me that they chose to hire me based on instinct as much as the proof that I provide to back up my claims.

Whether it’s the tone of voice I use in my own copy, the design of my website, the clients I’ve chosen to work with or just liking the look of my mug, if you get a good feeling about working with me, that can be as good a reason as any to get in touch.

A no strings chat about your copywriting needs can also help you determine if we ‘click’ – so don’t be afraid to give me a call or send me an email. I’m always happy to talk through options and I never charge for a consultation.

5. How available is the copywriter?

Good copywriters are busy people and you may have to book them a few weeks or months in advance.

Once they’re working on your job, however, you should receive their undivided attention. The same should be expected when making your initial enquiry. Does the writer respond quickly and attentively, ask questions, seem friendly and keen to work with you? These are good signs for your future relationship.

I’ve hired freelancers to help me with my business and have always been amazed at the difference in the way they handle enquiries. When responding comes across as a chore and a freelancer doesn’t seem bothered about securing your business, look elsewhere. When someone seems genuinely happy to meet you, interested in securing your business and responds consistently and quickly, they’re well worth investigating further.

6. Do you need a local lad or lassie?

As a freelance copywriter, much of my work happens remotely. There are so many ways to communicate and share jobs in progress these days that keeping in touch is a doddle. Whether it’s by email, phone, skype, what’s app or another method of your choice, we can keep in close contact throughout the project.

Some people prefer to hire locally, and this makes perfect sense. When selecting which freelance copywriter to work with, you may feel that you’re going into the process blind. Just knowing someone is from your neck of the woods can be reassuring as it gives you a natural affinity with a freelancer that you can build upon (it’s also handy if you want to meet face to face, of course.)

If you’re not sure where to start with hiring a freelance copywriter, searching by location can be an easy and logical place to start. Google ‘Copywriter in Leeds’ or ‘Copywriter in West Yorkshire’ and see what this turns up (you found my site? Well, what are the chances? Let’s talk copy.)

7. Do you need a body at a desk?

Many freelancers are prepared to work onsite with a business or agency for short or longer periods of time, providing experience and expertise without the need to hire a permanent member of staff.
I work in a freelance capacity for many reasons, one of which is that my current life situation makes flexible hours a necessity rather than a luxury (small children do not pick themselves up from school.) While this means that I don’t often work onsite, I’m more than happy to discuss doing so for the right opportunity. The odd day / week or two, within a couple of hours travelling distance, is perfectly possible. Get in touch if this is something you’d like to discuss.

8. Can the copywriter add value to your business?

Many copywriters focus exclusively on writing, and that’s no bad thing (after all, that’s why they were hired.)
If you’re looking to add a little more value than the words on the page, however, you should seek out a copywriter who think deeply as well as scribble hard.

I take the opportunity to really get to know my clients and their businesses and I don’t stop asking questions until I understand what makes them unique.

If I see a genuine opportunity to improve the way things are done, I let them know. Many of my clients comment on how much they appreciate this feedback, having expected only words on a page rather than advice and support in other areas.

9. Do you need a copywriter, or do you need a dream team?

I understand the basics of SEO and can write page titles, meta descriptions and weave keywords into your copy like a spider making a web. I’m not, however, an SEO expert, and I’m certainly not qualified to give you tailored SEO advice.
I’m also familiar with the basic principles of web design and tell you what looks good to me. But you need to consult a qualified web designer to get your site in order and honey, I ain’t one of those.
Many clients need a team of professionals to work on a project simultaneously. If that’s the case, I can introduce you to some truly talented freelance professionals – a dream team that will help you realise your dreams (see what I did there?)

There you have it – my advice on finding the right copywriter to suit your needs.

• Be specific about what you’re looking for
• Decide whether you want to work with a generalist or specialist
• Think about budget and where to seek out the best writer for the job
• Trust your gut instinct
• Pay attention to your first contact with a copywriter – how available are they?
• Consider whether hiring locally is a priority
• Look for a writer that can add tangible value to your business
• Think about onsite vs remote working

Of course, the very best place to start looking for a top-class copywriter is right here on this very site. You’re welcome. 😉

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