That’s it! You’re tired of trying to squeeze in the copywriting that you didn’t realize would come with your marketing efforts. You’ve decided to invest in a copywriter because you don’t have time, or maybe the writing skill or energy, to write those blogs, white papers or user guides. Before you jump in and tell your new writer to get going, make sure you are ready to put in some effort so that you get the most value out of your investment. Because hiring a copywriter is an investment in your business.
Entrepreneurs and Marketing Managers usually wear many hats and one that often comes as a surprise is the Writer Hat. Although you can get writing expertise to ease your load, even great writers can’t read your mind. Knowing your business helps to get a writer started but he or she will need to know a few other critical things so that the end product meets your needs.
Know What You Want
If you don’t know exactly what your product or service is, then you’re not ready for a copywriter. You need to know what you are selling and how you want it defined before anyone can write it down for you. A copywriter can help you with better, more poetic prose, but he or she needs something to build on first. Define your purpose, your products and services, your message and the documents you want written before you talk to anyone about writing.
Communicate Your Needs Explicitly
A good writer can translate your ideas into great content, but he or she needs to know what you’re thinking! Don’t expect that a writer knows your favorite words or phrases for your business or that he or she knows which ones you hate either. If you know you want to say “Best Practices” but really hate “Top Notch,” then spell it out.
Do you want three paragraphs on each service or three pages? Lay out the specifics and don’t worry about being too detailed. It’s better to know what the writing should look like before your writer has spent weeks on it and then finds out it’s too long, too flowery, or too anything. Be clear and upfront with your requirements.
Review the Writing Sooner (not Later!)
You’re busy and you don’t have time to slog through lots of content. Your writer knows that and that’s why you hired them. But if the buck stops with you, you better make sure you take a look at the first few pages before your writer gets too far. Set up a specific writing and review schedule so that you don’t waste money on writing that doesn’t say what you want. Usually a few pages of documentation or content is enough to get a feel for whether the writer is writing with your voice and getting your message across. This is also a great time to clarify any of your requirements that didn’t come through loud and clear. It takes time to adjust to someone’s tone of voice and preferences so it may need tweaking, especially at the beginning, but also along the way.
Once you have reviewed some initial work, then you can set up a timeframe for reviewing the content so that your writer can continue to write, knowing you are pleased with what is being produced. You also will know that the writer is going in the right direction. If you wait until the writer is nearly done to take a look at the work, you may both get very frustrated with the wasted effort if it’s not what you were hoping to see.
Define the End
How do you know when the writing is complete? Is it a certain number of pages, a set number of hours or when it looks right? Lay this out at the beginning of the effort so you both understand what “The End” looks like.
Copywriters are a valuable resource and can save business owners time and money when the work arrangement and expectations are clearly defined up front. So go ahead. If you’re ready, get someone on board to take this off your plate and get your words out there. Just be sure you aren’t chucking it over the fence and hoping it goes well. Everyone will be happier with the result if you start out clearly and stay involved along the way.
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