After reading my previous blog posts and case studies you’ve decided it’s time to hire a freelance copywriter? Fantastic. To make sure that you’re able to get the best in class, I’ve put together a list of 5 top tips to make the decision-making process a breeze.
1 – Ask yourself why
No, not in any grand existential sense. More in the “why do we want to hire a freelance copywriter at this stage?” sense. One of the most common reasons that freelancer relationships break down is because there are no clear boundaries and expectations set at the very beginning. This is the inevitable consequence of hiring a freelance copywriter purely on the grounds that they will improve efficiency and support broader business objectives.
Though it is certainly true that these things will happen when you work with a freelance copywriter, they will only happen if the terms of engagement are firmly established.
To make sure that they are, it is imperative that you ascertain exactly what solution you want a copywriter to bring to your business. Want a more engaging social media presence? A website that is better optimised for conversions? A regular newsletter that tells your customers all about the fantastic offers you’re promoting? All of the above? Simply create a list that you can use to guide your way through the remaining stages in this article.
2 – Define the kind of freelance copywriter you want for your business
Whilst this might seem like fairly obvious advice, it is absolutely vital that you arrive at a definition of what your perfect copywriter looks like before you set about hiring one. To get to the nuts and bolts of things, you’ll want to decide whether it’s vital that your freelance copywriter has experience in your sector, or if you are happy for them to learn on the job. There are pros and cons to both – e.g. new perspectives, direct experience).
Similarly, you’ll want to define precisely the kinds of copy you expect them to produce. If it’s technical product descriptions, for example, then you’ll want a writer more experienced than one who is great at creating entertaining social media posts.
Throughout the course of this exercise, it’s vitally important that you keep budgets in mind. Much like any other freelancer, the more experienced and specialist, the more they are likely to charge.
3 – Review as many portfolios as possible
The showroom of any freelance copywriter, a portfolio gives you a good idea of the kind of quality you can expect when hiring them.
The markings of a good portfolio will naturally depend entirely on the goals you’ve set in the definition process. If you’ve decided that you want someone with specialist knowledge, for instance, then you should be able to easily determine what good looks like when reviewing portfolios. If you’re happy to hire a freelance copywriter who doesn’t have specialist knowledge, a good portfolio will be one which demonstrates a dynamic range across a variety of channels.
Bonus points if they’ve got a few case studies that illustrate how they’ve taken on and succeeded with previous clients.
4 – Make sure that your job description contains all of the above points
If you’re not approaching freelance copywriters on a website like this one, and are instead going the traditional route of publishing a job ad, then you’ll need to ensure that you distil all of the points above. Specifically, you need to be absolutely clear on all of the responsibilities and expectations you’ve set for your copywriter.
By doing this, you can count on applications being of consistently high quality and reduce the amount of time spent interviewing candidates who might not be a great fit. In short, make certain that you’re detailing exactly the kind of channels they’ll be responsible for, how much ownership they’ll have over the tone of voice, and the overall workload that your business requires.
There’s no such thing as being too specific at this stage of the process, so don’t be afraid to nail down the numbers and technical details.
5 – Make the interview about more than just their qualifications
Yes, it’s important to discuss the CV of your potential new freelance copywriter, but don’t forget this is going to be someone that you’ll find yourself bouncing ideas off and potentially educating. With this in mind, it’s important that you find someone you can see yourself working alongside in a creative capacity, rather than a merely prescriptive one.
It would be presumptuous to assume that I’m your perfect new copywriter hire – you might be looking for the world’s leading expert in oven cleaning products, after all – but if you think we’d be a good fit, then do be sure to get in touch today. Alternatively, if you have any other questions about copywriting, I’m always happy to have a chat.