Copywriters don’t come cheap. So how do you make sure you’re getting enough bang for your buck? It boils down to one thing:
Creating a positive working relationship.
And I’m going to show you exactly how…
Investing serious money on your branding is exhilarating and daunting all at the same time. It shows you’ve arrived (or at least you’re finally on the right track), you’re committed, and you’re practically peeing your pants with excitement at what the next phase of your business might bring.
But…you have your doubts. When you’re dropping some serious cash, you want to know that it’s going to be worth it. Worrying that you’re not going to see a return on your investment is a natural concern.
So how do you make sure you’re getting enough bang for your buck when you’re investing in a copywriter to work on your branding or marketing? Well, finding the right person to tackle your project is a good start, but it doesn’t end there.
If you want to get real value from working with a copywriter, it’s all about forging and maintaining a strong working relationship at every stage of the copywriting process…
Before the project begins.
Check you’re on the same wavelength.
When you’re choosing a copywriter, it’s not all about awards or fancy-pants offices. Finding someone you click with, someone who’s on your wavelength, and someone who makes you feel comfortable yet confident is arguably the most important indicator of the success of your project.
More tips on finding the right copywriter for you, right here.
Understand the process.
Every copywriter will have their own process and it’s important that you understand how your chosen writer works before your project kicks off. Your copywriter should tell you what they’ll expect from you at every stage of the project and what they’ll deliver and when. That way everyone knows exactly where they stand.
For example, will you be expected to pay a deposit? When will the balance be payable? How will they deliver the content to you? And how long will you have to complete your feedback on the first draft?
When you understand their writing process, you won’t be hit by unexpected invoices, or freak out if there’s radio silence for a few days while they’re deep in the research phase of your project.
Be wary of any guarantees.
The success of your copy rests on a myriad of factors: your product’s price point, the size of your current audience, your ability to close a sale, your reputation, and even impending political events (I’m looking at you, Brexit!), or recessions.
Your copywriter will be able to advise you on some of those things…but others are totally outside of our control. This is why you should be wary of any copywriter that can promise concrete results, like a place on the first page of Google, or a 90% conversion rate. We can get you closer to that stuff, for sure, but there can be no guarantees.
Make sure you’re crystal clear on what you want.
Your copywriter will create your quote based on what you say you want during your initial discussions. Be aware that if the scope of your project creeps once work has begun, the quote may well go up too. So if you’re in any doubt about what you actually want/need your copywriter to do, it’s best to take the time to talk things over until you’re really clear on what you want to achieve with your project.
During the project.
Tell your story — warts and all.
Your project will likely kick off with a consultation and questionnaire and your copywriter will start poking about your business brain with all sorts of seemingly random questions.
Go with it!
Spill your guts; tell them everything. They absolutely cannot have too much information about you, your business and products, your vision, and your goals.
Because somewhere in that stream of consciousness is your copy, just waiting to be teased out, polished up, and turned into something wonderful.
And remember the golden rule: if we don’t know it, we can’t use it!
Stick to deadlines.
I can’t stress this one enough. Chances are, yours is not the only project that your writer is working on. And we can only meet our deadlines if you stick to yours. So don’t be surprised (or obnoxious, but I know you wouldn’t be!) if your project start or completion dates get pushed back if your writer doesn’t receive your brief, information, or feedback on the agreed date.
Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Remember, this is for your business, your livelihood; it’s hugely important. So, if something feels ‘off’, you’re not sure about something your copywriter has said, or you don’t like the direction they’re taking, don’t be afraid to speak up.
This should be a partnership, and you shouldn’t feel railroaded at any point.
That said, be open to listening to their advice, even if it initially goes against the grain. Sometimes you’re too close to your own business to see things clearly and a fresh perspective can open up new possibilities you hadn’t even thought of. Give it a chance!
Let us know if you’ve forgotten something.
A key feature of your product, a specific call-to-action, a rip-roaringly incredible client testimonial…if you realise that you’ve forgotten to share something important with your writer, something that you want to be included in your copy, don’t wait until the feedback stage of the process to send it to them.
I’ve found great hooks, and even taglines, hidden in client testimonials, so it’s always better to send over additional material as soon as you realise it’s been missed out — and hopefully before the project is too far into the writing phase.
Trust your writer.
I’ll send a quick email, just to see how they’re getting on…
Oh, the temptation is strong. Whenever my lovely designer is working on my branding I have to sit on my hands so I don’t email her for daily progress updates.
But do you know what? I trust her to do a good job, and bugging her every two minutes will do nothing for her creativity.
And so it is with your copywriter. It’s a creative job; every project requires a tonne of research, a whole load of brainstorming, and actually a surprising amount of what looks (to the casual observer) like staring into space. During this phase, you will only hear from your copywriter if they think that they’re missing some vital piece of the puzzle.
It’s a case of no news is good news. So get on with running your business, safe in the knowledge that the first draft of your copy will be winging its way to you very soon.
Give specific feedback.
‘I just don’t like it.’
Hmm, there’s not a lot your writer can do with vague feedback. So if something doesn’t feel quite right to you, try to figure out why, and be specific when you’re asking your copywriter for revisions.
Maybe you don’t like it because you don’t feel it fits with your brand identity, maybe it’s a phrase that you hate personally, or maybe it seems too colloquial/stuffy/informal. When you can pin down why you’re not keen on something, your writer can clarify why they’ve chosen the words and phrases that they have (because none of it is random!) and can give you some alternative options.
Remember that you’re not really the customer.
It’s true: the customer is always right. Only, in this case, you’re not actually the person who needs to read and react to your new copy — your customer is. It’s worth bearing that in mind when you’re reading the first draft of your copy and before you send any revision requests to your copywriter.
Introduce your professionals.
If you’re working with a graphic designer or other branding specialists, feel free to ask your copywriter whether you can connect them with each other. We writers often work with designers so we’re usually happy to meet a new one. And once your creatives are connected, they can actually work together to hash out any questions about layout, saving you a whole load of time acting as a go-between.
After the project.
Try not to make too many changes…
Unless you really know what you’re doing. I’ve seen it happen with my own projects, and I’ve comforted other writers when it’s happened to them. Clients, after having claimed to be ecstatic over their new copy, start to tweak things.
Only they don’t get it quite right.
It might be a clunky sentence, dodgy grammar, a spelling error, or a total clanger that ruins the entire flow of your content. Whatever the mistake, it can totally devalue the content — content that you paid good money for!
If a few weeks down the line, you’re really not happy with a particular aspect of your copy, it’s best to have a word with your copywriter — at the very least they’d likely be happy to proof any small changes you want to make to ensure that there are no embarrassing errors.
Don’t be a stranger.
There’s nothing I love more than when a client gets back in touch, whether it’s to start another project, or just to let me know the results of previous work we’ve done. And I’m sure other writers feel the same. We get really invested in your business and your long-term success, and there’s nothing more exciting than working with the same clients over and over again.
Being part of your business growth journey is a real privilege.
So don’t be a stranger!
We all love getting our money’s worth, right? Hell, even if I’m just paying £50 for a night in a restaurant, I want to know that it’s going to be money well spent! So when you’re throwing serious cash at something as high stakes as sales copy for your business, you want to do everything you can to contribute to the success of the project. Following the tips I’ve laid out here is a great place to start, but above all, keep those lines of communication strong.
If you want something, ask.
If you’re not sure about something, speak up.
If you’re absolutely over the moon with your copywriter’s work, tell them.
Follow those golden rules, and you’ll be well on your way to cultivating a beautiful business friendship (oh, and some decent sales figures too!)
Think I might just be the right copywriter for your project? Get in touch today and we’ll get the ball rolling.