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So You've Decided To Hire A Freelance Copywriter
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Whether you're an executive or a small business owner, chances are you will have to hire a writer somewhere along the line to create your marketing material. Here is some insight into the process, what is expected of you, and how to get the most out of your investment.
But before we start...
All your written background material please! Rather than set up a meeting, the most efficient way to get started is to send all previously written material to your writer. This includes brochures, business plans, press releases, articles, reports and whatever else you can find. The writer will then spend a few days to a week, depending on the assignment, taking a crash course on your business. Much like cramming for finals. Then...
Let the questions begin! (and there will be lots!)
You are the expert, so it's your job to fill in the blanks that the material doesn't cover. Some questions may seem redundant to you. But remember, in order to create strong selling copy, the writer must write with authority about your product or service. And specifics are where it's at.
Here are a few standard questions:
1. Who is your target audience? (age, income, gender)
2. What are the characteristics of your audience?
3. What is the tone of the piece? (friendly, formal, excited)
4. What are the features and benefits of your product or service?
5. Who is your competition?
The more open and communicative you are during the process, the better your copy will be. Hopefully your writer will have nailed down exactly what you envisioned on the first draft. But we're not mind readers! Business writing is still an art form and your writer's interpretation won't always be right on the mark (although hopefully close to it if they have any talent or listening skills). This is where revisions start. When going over the first draft together, it's best to be specific about what areas you need altered. An example of constructive feedback would be "I like this paragraph, but let's emphasize this benefit more". Or, "I want to change the tone of this section". By the second or third revision it should be 100%.
Trust your copywriter!
You may look at your copy and decide you could have written it yourself. Or you may want to take over half way through the process. After all, anyone can write - right? This is a common misconception. You are probably a fabulous salesperson out there with the customers. But the actual writing part is a different discipline. If you start playing around with a section here and a section there, you risk sabotaging the flow and structure your copywriter has toiled over to entice the reader into taking the desired action. Your writer will know which key words sell, how to write attention grabbing headlines and basically the difference between copy that sells and copy that sounds clever but is really just a load of hot air. And how will they have created such irresistibly, compelling copy? By lots of...
Aah, that mysterious word that conjures up so many visions. Mostly, visions of your writer doing a whole lot of nothing. Except maybe, daydreaming. Yes, sitting around looking at pictures, reading, staring off into space, doodling on notepads, and making countless cups of coffee are part of brainstorming. But realize we're not just idly wasting time. There is a method to our madness. The actual writing is the last step of the process. First, we need time to digest all that new information we've just crammed into our heads. Then comes the concepting, sketching and arranging until finally it all gets typed into the computer and becomes the masterpiece that is your hard hitting, engaging sales copy.
Return on Investment
After the first project, your writer will have a pretty sound knowledge of your business. As you continue working together, they will become expert. The benefits of sticking with the same writer are obvious. Because they have invested the research time on the first project, you can simply call them up, explain the job and rely on them to create copy that clearly speaks with the 'voice' of your company. Not only that, but they will know how to present your features and benefits in the most appealing way to your audience. And most importantly, they will free up your time so you can get back to doing what you do best. The end result? More money for everyone. Happiness. And peace of mind.
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