5 Quick Tips for Small Businesses Hiring a Copywriter
by Michael Premo
Hiring a professional copywriter is easier and more cost-effective for a small business than you may think. When you hire one, the writer learns every aspect of your business, especially who your customers are and the value they find in your services. They become a resource and extension of your business—creating more opportunities.
Opportunities for a Small Businesses Writer
Many small business owners have known for years that they need frequent updates to their website and social media, or else Google won’t find them. The problem is that small business owners don’t have the time to post something a couple of times a week or write an extensive blog. It’s because they are pulled in a lot of directions throughout the day.
Sometimes copywriting or posting to social media is delegated to a manager or employee. This is a Band-Aid solution that leads to poor results due to infrequent updates to their websites and a lack of social media engagement.
Employees can get overwhelmed and frustrated when writing for your business.
Employee As Copywriter
Some employees are good writers, but they eventually experience writing fatigue, which leads to missed deadlines and animosity. Or, the worst-case scenario, they’re not a good writer and make mistakes that work against your organic search efforts. Google will lower your ranking if you post irrelevant content or have grammatical errors throughout each post. Plus, bad grammar doesn’t look good to potential customers.
Rarely do small businesses engage the services of a professional writer or freelancer. Writing takes time and energy, so if you’re a small business owner, you’ll need someone to do it for you.
Stay Away From Freelance Exchanges
Many freelance sites will connect you with writers throughout the world. Most of these services look like a bargain. You’ll often find that the writers are inexperienced and need to boost their portfolio, so they charge nominal fees to gain some experience. You end up paying them to learn.
The biggest thing to consider is that these sites have fees for you and the writer. Some exchanges charge writers up to 25% of the contracted rate, like an agent for a professional athlete. In the end, you end up paying for those fees. Try to avoid the middleman as much as possible.
Another problem you may find is that some of these writers are not familiar with context (sense of place) and audience. They are unfamiliar with local activities and vernacular (words and phrases spoken by people in a particular region). Their writing may miss the mark, lack authenticity, or seem ingenuine.
Many of the “discount” writers on these sites also fail to develop a close relationship with the businesses they serve. They may be good writers but cannot connect with your audience, which turns the discount into a loss.
You’ve Found Your Writer!
Enough about the things to avoid when hiring a writer. Now, let’s focus on hiring one.
Here are four quick tips for hiring a professional copywriter.
Reach out to Your Network
The businesses I typically work with are from my network. The best place for you to find your writer is to look into your business connections and ask them who they are using. These are trusted sources with experience or first-hand knowledge about the writer. Don’t be afraid to pick their brain about how the process works and costs. You can also ask for recommendations on LinkedIn or visit their website, like this one or their Google Business Website.
Now that you’ve found your match take a look at their portfolio and the type of work they do. If it’s not available online, send the writer an email for samples and descriptions of their work. You can also explain what you would like them to do. Here are some details to look for:
Voice – Can they write using conversational or formal language?
Media – Do they understand how different media affects their audience?
Sales – Can they craft messages for soft sales?
Writers learn a lot about the subjects that they write about. We are generalists, so we’ve had experience writing for the following industries:
This topic is difficult to generalize because writers’ rates vary according to what you’re trying to achieve. Some are paid by the word, while others (like us) charge by the hour. Please take a look at your budget, then negotiate with them for the best fit. Plus, writers often work on retainer, so be prepared to pay one upfront to get your projects rolling.
A contract puts forth the terms of your agreement. It should contain:
All of the Parties Involved
Terms of Compensation
However, you get to choose how you want to proceed. The terms of your agreement can also be detailed in an email. This will give both you and the writer all of the direction that’s needed to conduct business. We believe contracts or detailed emails set the stage for fulfilling everyone’s expectations.
Copywriters collaborate with you on every project.
Content Is a Marketing Necessity
The one thing holding a lot of small business owners back from implementing a content strategy is cost. It’s a valid worry, but businesses have to invest in their digital marketing (website, social, email, and text) or fall behind their competition.
Content is essential to your marketing efforts. There really is no way around it. Plus, it covers a range of marketing activities that support your efforts to retain customers and entice potential ones.
I have developed and implemented various content strategies for a variety of local, regional, and national clients. If you want to get your content marketing going in the right direction, fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you.
Writer. Editor. Project manager. Researcher. Collaborator. Graduate of the Spalding University Masters in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Fiction. Theory junkie. Avid reader. University of Iowa (BA '97).
Michael's unique ability is to understand and write to the audience for any business application or ghostwriting project. It's his passion for writing that keeps him learning more-and-more every year. He is a member of the Association of Writing Professionals, and fully versed in Associated Press (AP) and American Psychological Association (APA) writing guides.