How to hire a copywriter

you don't have to stand on colourful plastic chairs to hire a copywriter

If you think the answer to ‘How do you hire a copywriter?’ is ‘Get them to stand on a chair’ then you definitely need a copywriter. You see you’ve confused ‘hire’ with ‘higher’. And you don’t want a daft mistake like that on your website, now do you? That’s why savvy business folk hire copywriters – to write clean, clear content that comes with all the right grammar and spelling.

Anyhoo, you need a copywriter – here’s how to go about getting one.

Explain what kind of words you want

The other day, I got a message from a potential client: ‘What are your copywriting rates? Topic: hand-sewn waistcoats for squirrels.’ I’ve made up the squirrels bit but the point is I had no idea what kind of content they wanted. Web content? A blog? A brochure? What?!

It’s like walking into a furniture shop and saying you’re looking for a bed. Er – do you want single, double, divan, underbed storage? Like the bed salesperson, I can’t direct you to a price until I have a better idea about what sort of words you want.

Give me a clue about word length

Once I know what kind of words you’re after it’s handy for me to know how many words you might need. Say it’s a blog. There’s a whole lot of difference between 400, 700 and 1,000 words – the more words, the more time I’m potentially going to need to write them. I say ‘potentially’ because, chances are, the more words I write the more research I’ll need to do first. It kind of depends on the topic.

Of course I’m not expecting you to know the exact amount of words – I’m just saying if you do have a rough idea then that’s a useful bit of info for a copywriter to have. Like for web content – you might want a few short, snappy paragraphs per page or you might need a more detailed guide to each of your services.

Why copywriters don’t charge per word – Part 1

Ha, ha – just when you thought you were getting the hang of this, here I am throwing a spanner in the works. But the fact is, a lot of copywriters – me included – don’t charge per word. And here’s why. Let’s say you want a memorable tagline for your business. You know, like Tesco’s ‘Every little helps’ or Nike’s ‘Just do it’. Not many words there, right?

But that doesn’t mean a copywriter is going to accept a fiver for their trouble. Taglines take a creative brain and copywriters are clever at coming up with words. And to be perfectly blunt – that itsy-bitsy tagline is going to be of HUGE value to your business So, no, small doesn’t mean cheap.

Why copywriters don’t charge per word – Part 2

Would you like me to knock you up 1,000 words for your website right now? No problem. Here it is – can’t be sure it makes any sense but there are definitely 1,000 words. Actually, there are 1,005 – have those five extra words on me. Keywords? Ooh, now, you didn’t mention keywords. Longtail keywords? Oh come on, you never said anything about longtail keywords. What? You were expecting an attention-grabbing headline and sub-headings, too.  

See, copywriters don’t just chuck words together. A good copywriter will craft web content that’s not just customer-focused but is packed with SEO goodness, too.

Why copywriters don’t charge per word – Part 3

I can’t speak for other copywriters but I don’t write a single word of content until I’ve got under the skin of your business. Doing extensive research and interviewing the business owner (that would be you) is a massive part of my copywriting process. Without it, how can I differentiate you from your competitors and write the words that will blow those suckers out of the water?

You’re paying me to do the biggest, bestest trumpet-blowing job you’ll ever get.

Do you have a budget in mind?

That old trick, eh? You divulge what you’re willing to pay and you’ll end up paying it whether the job costs that much or not. Er, no. It’s a simple question that will hopefully establish whether we’re on the same page or not.

Last week I was asked how much it would cost to write six web pages. I enquired about the budget. It was £200. There was no way I’d be doing it for that so I thanked them for their interest and we said goodbye. Neither of us wasted our time or energy dancing around the price.

But had their budget been closer to the reality of what I’d charge, we could have negotiated, You know, had a little chat, figured out a price that made us both smile. Sure, we might not have got there – but at least we could’ve tried.

How to get in touch with a copywriter

Personally, I’m partial to an email. It’s a good way of introducing yourself, letting me know how you heard about me and giving me some info – what you want the words for, what sort of word length you’re thinking of, when you need it and your budget. You don’t have to know ALL the answers but, hey, as Tesco says, every little helps (see, it really is a memorable tagline!)

After I’ve received your initial email, I’m happy to have a quick chat before sending you a quote. I’ll leave that up to you. Some clients like to suss me out a bit first. Others just want to get a cost at this stage. I’m fine either way. If we do decide to work together there’ll be lots of time for talking when you tell me all about your business story.

When to get in touch with a copywriter

I’m ready for you – but are you ready for me? I had a recent enquiry about web content. They couldn’t say how many service pages they wanted. The conversation was all a bit ‘I’m thinking about this…’ and ‘I might include that…’ and ‘I’m not sure how many packages there will be’ and ‘I’m wondering if…’

Basically, they were brain-dumping on me. They hadn’t got a clear idea what their business was about and what they wanted to offer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be flexible. I can quote for a set number of pages and we can talk about additional costs as and when you want more. But if you haven’t figured out what you’re doing with your business yet, it’s not the right time to hire a copywriter. Your website will end up as cluttered and confused as you are.

* Would you like to hire me as your copywriter? Good choice – drop me an email

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