Ever made a decision that you really wish you hadn't? We all have, so, you're in good company, but when it comes to copywriters, what company do you want to keep?
There are a lot of writers out there. The strange thing is that there are an awful lot of inexperienced writers out there who have:
- An over inflated sense of their own value
- A severely impaired sense of their own ability
- A wholly inadequate business knowledge
- A plain daft charging structure!
I can see you're smiling! That tells me that you've either met them, come across them, or worse - you’ve actually hired them!
After 25 years as a copywriter covering the whole spectrum literally from A-Z, I think I have earned the right to ask … why?
But how can you spot them and avoid them? How do you judge what's good, bad and simply awful?
1. Read their website… carefully
Is it littered with spelling mistakes, or does it make daft claims about their wives' expensive habits? Does it ring with hyperbole - ultimate, fantastic, superb, unbelievable - and other such claims that are simply hard to swallow?
2. Are they promising results?
Does the writer promise results? If they do, run away, as fast as your fingers can carry you. Nobody, but nobody, can guarantee you any sort of result because no one knows what will happen, or why. All you can ever do is make intelligent decisions based on the best evidence.
3. Look closely at the structure of their website
What they are presenting and how they sell themselves is exactly what you are hiring them to do for you. Does their website work? If it's confusing, there’s every chance their thinking will be just as muddled and confused.
4. Is it easy to communicate with the writer?
The art of communication is exactly about what copywriting is all about. If the writer can't get you to respond and doesn't make it easy for you, what chance does your product, service or solution stand in that writer’s hands?
5. Take a long look at the writer's headline
This is where the initial promise is made and it has to hit home hard. In a few words - not more than 8-10 - you have to know what this writer is offering. If writers can't write great headlines to sell themselves they are not likely to be able to write one for you, either!
6. What sort of experience is the writer offering?
Does the writer have a broad span of experience that covers pretty much everything? If they are freelance and offering to sell you a service then they should be offering the wealth of experience that justifies the price they are looking to charge.
7. Sort out a sensible price!
Copy is both a skill and a saleable service, just like any other. Just like you, a copywriter is in business to make money - to cover costs and make a profit.
There is nothing wrong with profit. That's what business is all about. But there is a lot wrong with obscene profiteering.
In the end…
You want a writer with great experience, an inquisitive mind and huge talent with words.
You want someone who understands the human psyche and knows just what triggers to pull and in what sequence.
You want someone with whom you can build a longterm relationship. Someone that understands your business and, to a degree, understands you too!
You want someone who can bring something different to the table - innovation, imagination, creativity, flair, style, experience and knowledge. Preferably, it's someone with solid direct response experience under their belt that can help you to drive things through.
Treat them with a proper professional respect and ask no more of them than you would ask of yourself and your business will have uncovered a real gem and one of the very best allies it could ever hope to find.
It's really not such a tall order - if you know exactly what to look for!