Five ways to make the most of a professional copywriter

Hiring a professional copywriter can be a waste of time if you don’t follow this advice

As a professional copywriter, I have worked with businesses of all sizes, across a wide range of industries. When I started out a few years ago I navigated my way up a steep learning curve and had my fair share of negative experiences. A few of them had me huddled on the couch, crying down the phone to my mentor as I learned there is a right and a wrong way to do things. As I built my confidence and my standard procedures, I realised sometimes it is impossible to make people happy.   It really upsets me to hear when people have had a less than positive encounter with a professional writer as it wastes everyone’s time and money. Here are some ways to make sure your experience hiring someone for their copywriting services works out:

Share clear, concise details about your business

Ever heard of an elevator pitch? The idea is you get in a lift with your ideal customer. You only have the time between floors to sell what you do and how it would benefit them. Thus, your elevator pitch is only two or three sentences. So many business owners aren’t able to describe what they do in a nutshell. It makes providing copywriting services confusing. I provide questionnaires to gather the information I need but when I get responses that are lengthy or long-winded I get nervous about missing the point the business owner wants people to understand.

Appreciate that a draft is a draft

When enlisting the help of someone to do your content writing, please appreciate that they aren’t an expert in your field. Usually after I submit the first draft it is just a matter of making tweaks and adjustments but every now and this initial attempt it is quite a distance from the final target. This is why I offer two revisions free of charge. My plea is that you not be upset, offended or horrified if the first version isn’t what you had pictured. Professional copywriting is a process and usually after a quick discussion you’ll find my arrow will hit the bullseye.

Limit the number of cooks

Sometimes the person who briefs the copywriter isn’t the one who gives final sign off. On more than one occasion I have worked closely with a marketing manager only to have a CEO come in and declare everything to be wrong after the second round of revisions has been handed over. It reeeeeaally helps things move along quickly if the person having the final say is involved in the brief. And don’t loop in every person on the team – copywriting is subjective and there can end up being too much pull in different directions.

Don’t get hung up on minor details

A good professional copywriter will be able to adopt the brand voice, tone and general language of your business. It is likely your input will be required when it comes to technical terms and specific services your businesses provide. After all, you’re the expert. But try to avoid nitpicking at words and replacing them with synonyms that have no impact on the overall meaning of your document. This can result in your content taking a lot longer to reach signoff than it needs to.

Make yourself available

It happens all too often, people engage the help of a professional copywriter then get distracted and disappear when it comes time to finalise the content. This is why I request feedback within four weeks. If you’re going to pay someone to do something you may as well make it to the finish line. Otherwise you are going to get zero return on investment – not good business practice!

And one more tip. . .  pay your professional copywriter on time

How does this benefit you? Well, by forming a good relationship with a copywriter you can skip the early conversations and getting-to-know-you phase. It’s much easier to get stuck straight in when the next round of work is required. People who don’t pay bum me out (funny that). Unfortunately, it means the end of the relationship and it puts you and your business back at square one.  I’m proud to have a stable of thoroughbred clients who call on me regularly. Together we have established great relationships and I have been able to help them with copy that builds their business.   Clea Sherman is a professional copywriter with a background in journalism and digital product management. Contact her for a competitive quote on website copy, business blogs, ghost writing or other business related content.
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