If you own a business, then you’ve probably asked yourself this question at one time or another. Everyone knows how to write, but the truth is that knowing how to write and doing copywriting are completely different things.
Copywriting affects your company’s image, internal communication, and prospects’ ability to understand what you do. It’s important stuff. That’s why I want to help you decide whether you should hire a copywriter or do it yourself.
Essential questions to ask before hiring a writer
Will what I write impact my sales and marketing efforts?
Your website, sales materials, and company blog are the face of your brand. If your online presence is key to your marketing strategy, then copywriting will affect your conversion rates for better or for worse. The truth is that writing is the underrated superstar of sales. Most people have already made a decision to buy before they talk to a salesperson. Their decision could be based on a blog article they read, an easy-to-use app, or a website that speaks directly to their pain point.
Do I need to worry about SEO?
If you want people to find your website easily, then the answer is yes. A copywriter can make sure that what you’re writing contributes to your SEO goals. This will help your pages rank higher on Google so that you can increase site traffic and sales. This is important if you want to rank higher for a specific keyword or for local search listings, such as “copywriting business Minneapolis, MN.”
Do I need to portray a professional image?
You might think that this is a no-brainer. But, not every piece of content needs to be highly professional. If you maintain a blog that keeps people updated on your personal life, then a copywriter won’t add much value to your posts. On the other hand, a business site needs to be professional for prospects to take it seriously.
Does my writing represent my brand correctly?
Think of your brand as if it were a person. Ask yourself, what type of person do people visualize when they read my content? If nothing comes to mind, then your brand isn’t reaching your customers. But, at the same time, an inconsistent company voice can be just as detrimental. If your voice is fun and spunky one week and straight-laced and professional the next it will confuse and detract readers. Creating a brand voice guide can help you avoid a bi-polar company image.
What do I want my content to accomplish?
Every piece of content should serve a purpose, otherwise, it’s a waste of time. Before writing ask yourself: what do I want this to accomplish? For example, what do you want your website to accomplish? Is the goal increased brand awareness, lead generation, or a place for like-minded people to connect? All of these require different strategies, so you’ll need to figure out your goals before getting started.
Before making a decision it’s important to understand how writing affects your business and find the right direction to take. Clearly defining your goals gives your writing direction.
Reasons to write yourself
Not every circumstance requires a professional writer. If you’ve analyzed the previous questions and feel comfortable writing it yourself then you should get started. There are too many excuses that stop people, so don’t delay, just do it.
A few common types of writing that business owners tend to do themselves are:
- Personal blogs
- Intercompany communications
- Letters of gratitude
The no-money dilemma
You may need to write the content yourself if your company lacks the funds due to being a startup or not including it in the budget.
If this sounds like your situation, here are a few resources that could help you on your journey:
- Clear Writing (Cut the Chatter, Make Your Copywriting Matter)
- Your brand’s voice (Brands That Speak: How to Create a Brand Voice)
- SEO (The Beginner’s Guide to SEO)
- Grammar (40+ Tips to Improve Your Grammar and Punctuation)
Reasons to hire a writer
There are many reasons to hire a copywriter. You may want higher quality content, or just not have the time. In this section, we’ll focus on the reasons why you should hire a copywriter.
Copywriters are grammar snobs. In a social situation this can be pretty annoying, but that’s exactly what you want from a professional writer. While a reader might not mind a misspelled or misused word, if they see too many grammar mistakes they’ll start to lose confidence in you and your company.
A professional copywriter lives and breathes content. They know how to research, write, and conform to your company’s voice. They’ll help you create something that’s truly new and unique so that it stands out from the competition.
A good copywriter can help you find the best format to communicate with your audience. This could be blog posts, newsletters, emails, social media, or something else. Understanding your reader is important if you want to keep readers turning the pages.
One of the hardest parts of writing is creating content consistently. A content calendar can take the stress off by planning your content 6 months to a year in advance. Even if you’re doing the writing, hiring a content strategist to create a content calendar can help you reach your business goals.
SEO isn’t a swear word. SEO (search engine optimization) is the key to getting your website noticed. It’s different than SEM (search engine marketing) which is a marketing strategy that focuses on paying for keywords. With SEO you try to rank well on Google by creating content that’s valuable to your readers and following the best practices for your website.
A copywriter can help you create content that ranks for the right keywords.
Persuading people to buy your product isn’t easy. A copywriter’s job is to write in a way that appeals to your audience. They’re familiar with persuasive writing techniques like rhyming, positioning, and unusual content styles to name a few.
A professional copywriter will know how to use marketing tools related to copywriting. For example, if you’re trying to figure out which keywords to focus on they might use Moz tools or SEMrush. They should also be able to quickly learn the content management software that you use.
Inconsistency in your company’s tone and voice is a brand killer. A copywriter will make sure your writing is always contributing to the image you want to build. Consistency will help you create a brand that people want to support, turning customers into promoters.
A lead magnet is something you offer to visitors in order to capture their information such as an email, telephone number etc. They are often ebooks, pdf guides or other long-form content. If you are thinking of creating a lead magnet to capture get more leads, you should consider hiring a writer for a few reasons.
- When you write something that takes more than 15 seconds to read it’s harder to hold the reader’s attention. You need to make sure the writing is high quality and appealing.
- A copywriter will follow a process that helps them write in a logical manner. This prevents reader confusion at the end of your content.
- Your lead magnet needs to be something fresh and exciting. A copywriter will help your readers see the value of downloading your content.
Questions to ask during your hiring process
Copywriters range greatly in their skills and process, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for. For example, some freelance copywriters may only focus on writing. While a copywriting agency can help you create a content strategy. Depending on your situation and your staff, then you may need more than just a writer.
Have you done similar work before?
No one can be an expert in everything. While copywriters have a broad range of topics they can write about, it’s better to find people who write for your industry.
Can you optimize your content for SEO?
One of the main reasons you create content for your website is to improve your ranking on Google. If you don’t have an in-house SEO expert, then make sure your copywriter can optimize your content.
What is your copywriting process?
A writer’s process can teach you a lot about the quality of the content you’ll be receiving. There are 80 million blog posts published each month on WordPress alone. If you want your content to stand out it has to be better than good and add value to your readers. Make sure your copywriter’s process is something that you feel confident with.
How do you use buyer personas?
Buyer personas are a fictional representation of your ideal client. Copywriters can use this information to target your audience with content that appeals to them. Buyer personas can increase conversions by more than 200%. If you’re not using buyer personas in your marketing strategy you’re losing clients.
Are you comfortable working with others?
Not everyone responds well to feedback. It’s important that a copywriter can work with your team. Even if they are going to be doing the work solo, good communication will improve your working relationship with them.
Have you had to meet writing deadlines before?
This question serves two purposes. First, you’ll find out what kind of clients the writer has worked with in the past. Second, it will give you insight into how they feel about deadlines. If your writer is missing deadlines then so are you.
Which style guides have you used in the past?
A style guide is essential in keeping your writing uniform. While it may not seem like a big deal, it’s important in matching your content with your company’s brand voice. Some of the most common style guides include the Associated Press Stylebook, APA Style, and Chicago Manual of Style.
At The Content Reactor, we follow a process to ensure every project hits the mark the first time. These are the steps we follow:
- Research: We start by talking to you about your goals, and who your customers are and what they’re looking for. Then we review documentation related to the project and do supplemental research. Finally, we analyze your competition to help differentiate your brand.
- Create: After the research is done, we create a working draft of your content. This goes through several iterations before we read & edit the content as a team to ensure good flow. Our goal is to get the copy as close to perfect as we can the first time.
- Test: Our working draft goes to you first. We want to make sure that your expectations are being met and your opinions are taken into account. Depending on the scope of the project we may do some additional usability testing at this point. This can include customer reviews, flash testing, and other methods.
- Refine: We take the feedback we receive from you, your clients, and any test results and go back to our working draft. We make the needed updates and walk you through the copy one last time to make sure it meets expectations. From there it’s ready to use.
We follow this process for every project, and the results are astounding. Clients love to see the care that we put into making sure that each word serves a clear purpose and contributes to their overall goal. Involving them in the process also deepens their connection to the content and puts them in touch with their core values.
If at all possible, encourage your copywriter to base their process on these four steps.
A Minneapolis copywriting agency that achieves amazing results
Creating copy that achieves results takes a lot of work and skill. That’s why choosing the right copywriter is so essential. Knowing what to expect and how to find the talent will ensure your success.
We’re The Content Reactor a Minneapolis based writing company. We want to help you write amazing copy. Contact us for a free consultation.
All images were downloaded from Unsplash