In the digital marketing age, the need for customer-facing communications has never been greater. If you are a business owner who feels overwhelmed by the demand for fresh writing and new content, it may be time to consider hiring a professional copywriter. A freelance wordsmith can take a weight off your plate and offer helpful insights, as well as offer an objective perspective.
WHAT IS A COPYWRITER?
A copywriter is a writer who crafts messaging to help position and sell goods and services. They deliver the voice of a brand by writing everything from taglines, to commercials, to print and digital ads, to product descriptions and promotional materials, to website and social media content, and more. I conducted an online search for current copywriter rates and found a source that itemized 75 different types of copywriting jobs. Seventy-five! (Help yourself to the same free guide about writers and rates using the link I’ve included at the end of this post.)
HOW TO FIND A COPYWRITER
With so many types of writers and jobs, how can you find a qualified candidate that is well-suited to fulfill your copywriting needs? You can start by asking friends and business associates if they know of a copywriter to recommend. Otherwise, you can begin your search online. When you find a few local writers of interest, browse their website and take note of their writing style and level of expertise. It’s not always critical to hire a writer with an apples-to-apples portfolio; most copywriters are energized by the challenge of learning something new. My best advice is to go with your gut.
Other avenues for finding a professional copywriter include going through a creative recruiting agency (like Creative Circle, Freeman + Leonard, or Aquent). Be forewarned: consulting agencies could require an ongoing commitment, and their services are likely to include additional fees and charges. Also, the writer’s true rate may not be what you see on your itemized invoice. If you are being charged $60 – $65 an hour for a candidate, the writer may only receive $30 – $32 an hour. Just an FYI.
You can also search for a prospective copywriter on Upwork and Freelancer.com, two work-for-hire platforms that are quite popular today. I can’t speak to experience with the latter, but I recently used Upwork when hiring a firm to perform an SEO audit and website optimization. Upwork vets all freelancers before they can appear on the site—where you can view each candidate’s experience and choose the level of pay you are willing to consider. If your budget allows, look for copywriters with a “Top Rated” or “Rising Talent” badge. Also, adding a method of payment to your profile lets prospective writers know you are serious about finding professional freelance talent and are ready to pay for it. I hired an SEO specialist in New York whose hourly rate was more than my own, but I was happy with her expertise and efficiency. As with most things, you get what you pay for.
Regardless of your budget, or where and how you find a professional copywriter, it is important to state the deliverables so that all parties can be clear on the goals for the assignment. This clarity, along with confirmation of expected deadlines, is the information I get before accepting a new copywriting job. In short, define, prioritize, and be ready to pay for excellent work. This makes everyone happy.
AT WHAT COST?
Speaking of rates, if you are worried about the cost of hiring a freelance copywriter, consider the price of not investing. According to data collected by statista.com, there were nearly 210 million people in the U.S. who shopped, browsed, and compared prices online in 2016. By 2022, they estimate the number to swell to 230.5 million. Given the variables of the day, such as the cost of maintaining a brick and mortar store, an unstable economy, and the social distancing trend caused by the pandemic, you’d be hard-pressed to justify not promoting your goods and services online. Even if you have a nice website and social media presence, there is a near-constant need for updated copywriting associated with:
- SEO optimization & keyword analysis
- blogs and value-based articles
- social media engagement & management
- digital marketing strategies and ads
- product descriptions and updates
- press releases and PR
- brand guidelines and training manuals
- email and e-newsletter communications
A prospective client asked me about my copywriting and collaboration process recently, and that’s what got me thinking about writing this post. Below is the general process I use when approached by a new client.
Initial communication is typically done via email, but a call with usually follows to discuss the project. It’s important for both parties to get a feel for each other and the expectations at hand. Both writer and client should sense a willingness to communicate and an easy rapport.
If things seem promising after the introductory call, the next step in my process is to arrange for an in-person meeting (if it’s practical and both parties feel it would be beneficial) and/or a longer Zoom call. The client tells me about the specific deliverables they want, how often, and in what time frame. I’ll offer my professional opinion if a client seems open to my feedback, and I make notes. We then discuss rates and the best method for billing—or I get back to the client with this information. I can charge by the hour ($85), by the word (often $1 per word), by project, or via a monthly retainer. There is some wiggle room with these rates; how much background information and direction I receive, and how often a client wants copy, can affect my copywriting fee.
If the client wants to hire me for a specific project or set of assignments, I sometimes offer a price range (i.e. $1500-$2000, or whatever fits the deliverables) and then keep the client informed about where we are with billing. This method gives clients control over the budget and works well when there are questions regarding the scope or duration of a particular job. Clients can expect to pay a portion of the fee before writing begins—usually 33-50%—with the balance due upon completion. Most copywriting jobs include one or two rounds of minor revisions.
I hope this post helps with your search for a professional copywriter. If I can be of assistance, or I sound like the kind of writer you need, please reach out to me via my Contact page. You can download a free copy of the copywriter and rate guide I mentioned above at: https://www.awai.com/copywriter-rates/