Five key considerations to help you find your perfect writer.
Before I go into what will help you find the best copywriter to work with, let me first answer the question many of you ask: “what is a copywriter?”
Copywriting originates from the term “copy” which is defined in the Oxford Dictionary to mean “matter to be printed” for a newspaper or magazine article or advertisement. It is writing provided for the purpose of being copied into the appropriate media form.
Like all creatives, there are many nuances that pervade the industry. That’s why finding the best copywriter to help you with YOUR business growth is about more than finding someone who can write.
Stage of business
The first step is getting clear on the stage of business you’re at. What are your priorities? Are you just starting out and you’re in need of a website or online media presence? Do you want regular content created to get exposure and build authority in your industry? Do you want to create and sell an e-book or e-course but you don’t have the time? Copywriters can help you with all of these.
Michelle Hext from The Art of Kicking Ass Elegantly refers to four stages of business: the ideas phase, the start-up phase, the bridge phase and the scale-up phase.
The ideas phase is when you’re brainstorming limitless possibilities, you’ve got big ideas and you can’t wait to get started. In fact, you’re SO excited you want to hand all your notes over to someone who can write it up for you NOW! Just pause for a moment. Keep your notes handy as more about you and your business will be revealed. This is a good time to do research, work with a mentor to get clear on your brand and your message and understand exactly what it is you want to communicate to your clients.
This is a great time to work with creatives to get a visually appealing website and online media presence. During the ideas phase, you ideally want to work with copywriters who have experience in website copy. Your digital shop front is open 24/7 so you need to ensure you have a great about page that communicates who you are and what you do in a way that’s authentic to your brand.
The next phase of business is the start-up phase. This is where you’re generating an income and have your presence and customer base. You have the capacity to engage a copywriter to help you create optimised content to help build your ‘know, like and trust’ factor among your audience. This can be anything that is unique and valuable to the user. Blogging or e-newsletters are generally the most common forms of regular content creation as these can be posted regularly to help you build your authority and your brand.
Search Engine Optimisation is another consideration throughout all stages, particularly these first two. In order to have good SEO hygiene, you also need to be clear on your brand and what you want to be known for. What will your ideal clients search for to find YOU? This needs to be reflected in your website content and regular content creation. Not all copywriters have experience in SEO. If you’re unsure, ask them. If search engines can’t see you, potential clients can’t see you either.
Product Development & Scalability
The bridge phase comes next and then you move into the scale-up phase if you so desire. These are the stages of business growth where the writing nuances are really revealed.
You’ve got a great brand with consistent income flow and you’ve gained leverage in your market. As you’ve developed your business, you’ve fine-tuned your services and what you have to offer, you understand your market and know how to communicate with them. By this stage, you’re ready to start leveraging your income through scalable assets. These might be in the form of a published book, workshop materials or through digital assets such e-books, e-course materials or whatever’s best suited to your business.
You’re ready to start working strategically and systematically so this phase takes your writing needs to the next level. At this point, you may wish to get a couple of different writers on board. I’ll explain why.
Firstly, you’ll need a persuasive sales page to convert your followers into paying clients. If you’re not sure what a sales page is, take a look at Denise Duffield Thomas’ Lucky Bitch Bootcamp or for an event example check out Jody Jelas’ Leveraged Live. There is a lot of work involved in creating a sales page. It takes HOURS!!! But the right investment can pay some serious dividends.
Secondly, your options may extend to engaging a ghost writer, particularly if you want someone to help you get published. A ghost writer is someone who writes material for the named author (similar to what your copywriter is doing with your blog, only on a much grander scale). You will also need an editor and/or copy-editor, but that’s another post for another time.
Finally, you may also look for a writer who has specific expertise in e-course module development or industry-specific experience so they can provide evidence-based content in greater depth, expanding on the content sufficient enough to beef up your assets and provide real value in your core offering.
Social Media Advertising
I’ve heard so many clients exclaim “I’ve paid $X in Facebook ads and received plenty of clicks but they’re just not converting”. The first question to ask is, what are they landing on when they click on the ad? If there’s not a clear call to action, more often than not the person will simply click away. You need what’s called a lead magnet. This is generally a lower-end offering that provides your potential client with something of interest to them; something of value so they’ll want more and provide you with their details.
In March this year, Salesforce released the results of a study that indicated 82% of marketers believe social media marketing is core to their business. That’s 3,280 of the 4,000 marketers interviewed. For an interesting read, you can check out the stats on Social Media Today. If you’re not putting quality content on social media, you may as well be driving in thick fog without the dimmers on.
If you’re not social media savvy, you may want to work with a copywriter who has experience with social media ads and conversions. The copy in ads needs to be engaging, informative or entertaining. If it’s too salesy or promotional, people just won’t be interested and you risk getting bumped down in your reach.
Media Coverage and Publicity
Publicity is a whole other area of advertising. By the time you’re thinking about ordinary media coverage, you’ll need to have your customer service sorted, your products or services (and audience) clearly established, your website opt-ins and social media platforms set up. This is something you can do at any stage of your business, but the clearer you are and the more authority you have, the more effective it will be. These opportunities can then flow on to many more, extending your reach even further.
Before launching your publicity, this would be a time to consider working with copywriters who have a background in journalism. Often these professionals have contacts in the field they can leverage to your benefit. They also know how to write an effective press release and pitch because they know what editors look for and respond to. There are also plenty of copywriters who have experience with PR even without an experience in journalism, which brings me to my next and potentially most important point.
Often we can get caught up with the semantics of a person’s title or experience, the amount of money they charge or how popular they are. We’re taught to think that more is better, right?! Not necessarily. What counts is how you feel with them; what your gut instinct or inner voice tells you.
I believe how well you connect with someone ultimately determines the quality and satisfaction of the work produced. I want to work with people whose company I enjoy; people who inspire me with their own passion and story. Life’s too short to be inviting energy into your life that’s inevitably going to bring you down in some way or another. Besides, you don’t want that energy influencing your brand’s story either. If they don’t get you, chances are they won’t get your brand regardless of how many edits it takes. That’s why I’ve listed some questions you could ask yourself when selecting the right person to work with:
- Is the person’s style of relating to people similar to your own?
- Does the person understand what you’re seeking to bring into your life?
- Does he/she have time to connect with you in conversation and listen undistracted?
- Have you developed a rapport or trusted professional relationship with this person?
- Have you seen the work they’ve created with others? Does it resonate with you?
- Does this person treat you with integrity, kindness and respect?