Hiring a copywriter can be a great decision, especially if you find a writer that you really seem to mesh with. However, not all copywriters are created equal. If you aren’t careful you may end up hiring someone who isn’t quite up to snuff and who doesn’t provide you with the quality content that you want.
To make sure that you hire a writer who will meet your needs, here are a few questions you should always ask:
“What experience do you have?”
Sometimes, a new copywriter who’s just starting out will turn out some phenomenal work.
More often, a new copywriter will create copy that needs at least some additional work to make it serviceable. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take a chance on new writers if they have samples that look solid, but at the very least it should be an informed decision if you do. Writers with experience are often a safer bet, since they have a larger body of work to prove their skill.
“How familiar are you with the topic?”
Many copywriters work largely in certain niches.
This is great if you need content that falls within that niche, since they have a large amount of expertise to draw from. If a copywriter has never written about the topics you need, though, they’ll have to do a lot more research and may lose that “expert” edge. Unless you have documentation and research materials available to help the writer bridge his or her knowledge gap, you’ll likely want someone with at least a passing familiarity with the topic at hand.
“Is your work CopyScape safe?”
Plagiarism is a big problem with written material, especially given how easy it is to access information on the Internet.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to worry about the copywriters we hire grabbing content online and trying to pass it off as their own, but unfortunately it does happen. Suggesting that you may run content through CopyScape to check for plagiarism can help to ensure that everything you receive is original work. You should follow through on that as well, checking periodic pieces until you feel that you can trust the writer; it will not only catch outright plagiarism, but will also let you know if the writer is spinning content from elsewhere and just rewriting bits to make it look original.
“Do you have recommendations?”
A lot of people don’t think to ask for recommendations (aka testimonials or “happy client” stories) from copywriters, and that’s a shame. Recommendations can tell you a lot, especially in regard to the writer’s work ethic and how well he or she works with others. If a copywriter doesn’t have any recommendations, it might lead you to wonder whether past clients weren’t happy with some aspect of the work they received.
“Do you offer bulk pricing?”
While you shouldn’t necessarily start things off with a large project, it’s always nice to plan ahead.
If there’s a chance that your relationship with the copywriter might grow into a larger-scale project, it’s nice to know if you can catch a discount for larger amounts of work. This likely won’t be a dealbreaker, but if you have two similar candidates and only one offers bulk pricing then it may influence your final decision.
Asking questions can also help you get to know your copywriter, so don’t be afraid to ask even more that may come to mind. The writer’s willingness to answer may say as much about whether they’re the one for you as the answers they give.