Congratulations! You have finally decided to outsource the writing of your copy to a professional. There’s nothing quite like delegating a task, and being able to cross it off your to-do list. While a copywriter will help to ease the burden of your written material, you will still need to be an active participant during the writer’s process. Here are the things you need to consider before asking a writer to join your posse…
Who is your target audience?
A clear indication of your target audience is one of the most important factors to consider prior to hiring a writer. If you are unable to adequately articulate to your writer who your audience is, they may not fully understand the tone of voice to adopt to suit your project. Jot down a make-believe ‘day in the life of’ scenario of an ideal audience member which can include the following:
- Background & qualifications
What is your preferred tone of voice?
Is it humorous, or straight shooting? Intelligent or colloquial? Is it unexpected or pretty run-of-the-mill? Once you have a clear idea of your audience, there are a multitude of tones of writing you can adopt to appeal to them. The tone of voice will set the scene for the rest of your branding, so pick your preferred prose and stick to it!
Do you have examples of the writing style you would like to adopt for your brand?
You should source at least three pieces of writing that you resonate with to give as examples to your writer. Unfortunately, copywriters are not mind readers (although I wish I were at times), so if you have a particular vision in mind, make life easy by finding examples and sending them through to your writer so they can get a better understanding of what you’re after. Writing is a subjective process. Your writer might think something is appropriate however you may think otherwise. Eliminate any confusion by sourcing and sending those previous pieces of work.
What is your budget?
Get an idea of an overall budget for your written project. Some copywriters charge by the hour, while others offer a flat rate for one-off, shorter pieces.
Are you open to hearing the copywriter’s suggestions? Or are your ideas set in stone?
It is great to have a clear vision, but it also might be worthwhile listening to your writer’s creative input, especially if they’re experienced. As the saying goes, two brains are better than one! Collaboratively brainstorm and come up with some amazing ideas to make that copy pop!
Are you prepared to work collaboratively with the writer?
The writer will likely send you an extensive list of questions for you to answer in order for them to adequately write your copy. You can help this process further along by taking initiative and sending the writer even more information than what has been asked. You will likely think of questions (and answers) through your everyday dealings within your field, so don’t be afraid to include these in your reply. By doing this you could potentially save yourself some time and money, as the writer won’t need to spend as much of their time on external research.
You will also need to be prepared for follow up calls or emails, should the writer need any clarification on a given topic. At the end of the day, YOU are the expert in your field, not your writer and it is unfair to expect otherwise. You will need to assist them as much as possible with the information you provide. This will ensure your content exudes professionalism and a credible voice. Don’t be afraid of oversharing or providing intricate details within your responses, the more info you give, the better!
Have you done your research on the writer and seen examples of their previous work?
Only then will you know if their writing style is a good fit for you. Some writers are more inclined to write in an intellectual, academic prose, others (much like myself) prefer a colloquial, laid back tone with elements of humour. Having said this, a particular style of writing may not be appropriate for the task you wish to be completed, so it is important to be aware of their usual writing style and whether it suits the project you have in mind.
Also be wary that in this day and age, everyone and anyone with access to a laptop and internet claims to be a great writer or proficient blogger. Sadly, this is not always the case. Ensure your writer has journalistic credentials or formal qualifications in writing before taking them on board. If they haven’t acquired any qualifications, but you have seen their portfolio and consider their writing to be top notch – then by all means, give them a go.
I hope the above will help you prepare for whenever you decide to bring a writer on board. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.