May 29th, 2020

How to Find the Perfect Web Copywriter

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Written by Copycat Copywriters

Finding the perfect copywriter is a little like dating.

That doesn’t mean you should string along every applicant for your copywriting position via email, take a few out for a spin, play the field for as long as you can, and ghost anyone who fails to pique your interest. But let’s be real—that’s not how you should date, either, at least not if you’re looking for your perfect match.

The perfect copywriter gets you. 

They understand what it is you want, but even better than that, they contribute to your vision. Their work elevates your brand voice to new levels. When you’re reading it, you make genuine discoveries about your brand and where it’s headed. Your work together results in content with the tone and feel you always imagined, but didn’t know how to achieve on your own. 

But just as in romance, your copywriter is not a magician—if you don’t know what you want, they can’t give it to you. 

Are you sick of copywriting relationships that just don’t stick? Read on for your guide to finding the perfect copywriter.

Step 1: Know Yourself

If you’ve ever swiped through Tinder (or looked at a friend’s), you know that there are plenty of real people—as well as plenty of headless torsos whose bios say little more than “I like long walks” or “looking for fun.” 

When you’re searching for a web copywriter, don’t be a headless torso. 

Communicate who you are so that potential collaborators can gauge whether they’re the right fit.

The first step to finding the perfect copywriter who can write everything from link text to blog posts—in your brand voice—is a clear sense of what your brand personality actually is. Even if you’ve been pitching your product at everything from dinner parties to trade fairs for years, you’re currently looking for someone else to step in and write your web content. 

Why is that? Because your brand voice is an essential yet ineffable thing. 

How can you be true to yourself, yet crystal clear?

Before you can find a copywriter for your web content, you need to be able to put your brand voice into words. Whether you’re starting with zero existing content or working to hone a clearer identity after years of blog posts and captions from freelancers, ask yourself the following questions so that you can start fine-tuning your brand voice:

  • What do you want your web content to sound like? Authoritative or irreverent? Research-driven or pun-fueled? Is the voice enthusiastic, with a couple of exclamation points here and there?! Or is it staid and serious? Try coming up with a list of 4-5 terms that define your brand personality. This way, your content writer can match it with compelling copy.

  • Is your brand voice close to another brand’s? If you can think of a brand in a different industry with a clear, consistent voice, consider using it as a reference. However, if you find that your brand voice is actually too close to a competitor’s, make sure you know how yours differs so you can hone a unique voice.

  • What does your audience resonate with? Take a look at the customer response to existing copy. Was there a standout social media caption that got you sky-high engagement rates? Or an email that made a portion of your listserv hit “unsubscribe?” Find out what’s already working in your digital marketing strategy and what’s not.

  • What are your do’s and don’ts for website copy? Are there any subjects, words, or even punctuation marks that are totally off-limits? Is there something you want to incorporate throughout—research, pop culture references, or nods to current events? 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin creating an in-house brand voice guide. When you contact an agency or post a job ad, potential copywriters can use this information to determine whether they might be a good fit.

Step 2: Know What You Want

Has your relationship coach told you time and time again that you need to make a list of everything you’re looking for, write it down, and put it out into the Universe so that the forces at be can bring the perfect person into your life? Uh… us either. 

But that sure sounds like good advice, doesn’t it?

When you’re looking for online content writers, you need to know what you want. That means:

  • What kind of website content do you want? Make a list of the web-writing forms they might be completing for you:

    • Website copy
    • How-to guides
    • Short-form blog posts
    • Long-form blog posts
    • Listicles
    • Email marketing content
    • Social captions

  • What kind of relationship do you want? Will you provide outlines and sample text, or give them creative free reign to produce great copy? Do you want some back-and-forth and collaboration? Do you want them to bring ideas to you? Do you expect them to answer every Slack message immediately, even if you send it at 3 a.m.?

  • What kind of turnaround do you need? Do you work under tight deadlines, or are you willing to go through multiple drafts to get something absolutely-completely-perfect?

  • What’s your budget for copywriting services? Are you willing to pay more for an experienced copywriter? Know what you’re willing to pay for website copywriting services before diving in. 

  • What’s your goal with the online content? Do you want to drive conversion, optimize for SEO, or arrive at web copy that’s truly creative and unique? Having a clear goal in your mind aside from capturing your brand voice helps you evaluate the success of your relationship.

Now that you know what you want, you’re ready to put yourself out there and see if the Universe can deliver your perfect web copywriting match. Communicate your desires clearly to your potential copywriters, and see if they’re interested in starting a relationship.

Step 3: Start Small and Give Constructive Feedback

We all have that one friend who jumps in too soon. They go on one date, and before you know it, they’re on a two-week trip to Antigua. You’re back at home in the group chat talking to all your mutual friends about whether it’ll work this time. They seem so optimistic, but you know the truth of a common saying: bright flames burn out twice as fast.

Once you find a website copywriter whose skill set seems to meet your needs, start with a single piece of copy. 

Be sure to provide clear guidelines:

  • Share your brand voice guide
  • Provide sample writing in your voice if you have examples of existing content
  • Share the topic and length for a piece
  • If you have thoughts on structure or goals, share them, too
  • Set a deadline
  • Open a channel for questions and communication

Hopefully, once you see the first piece, you’ll have a gut feeling—this is it. If their writing truly excites you, you know you’re on the right track. Go ahead and give them another, larger assignment to continue and build your rapport.

But maybe the first article won’t be perfect. 

Maybe it will have potential.

If you receive a piece that’s 80-90% there, don’t assume you can find a better copywriter. Instead, try going through a revision round with this copywriter. Working together to perfect an article can help to build trust, and it may even teach you a thing or two about what you’re really looking for. 

Even if it doesn’t work out with that particular writer, you’ll have a clearer sense of what to ask for next time.

Step 4: Keep Communicating

So you’ve found the perfect web copywriter—or so you think, until you suddenly hit a roadblock. They turn in an article that just isn’t you. You’re disappointed: you thought you had things figured out. 

Does that mean it’s time to move on and start testing the waters for a new website copywriter?

No. Just as in any relationship, your approach with your copywriter may need to change over time. Maybe, the more web copy they write, the clearer sense you get of how you want to tweak your brand voice. Maybe your priorities are actually shifting due to feedback from customers and other stakeholders. Or maybe you’re not seeing their real effort in the article and you just need to talk it through.

Your brand has a personality that can evolve over time. 

Likewise, your copywriter is human, and probably not a psychic (although some of our Copycat Copywriters do dabble in tarot). 

When something goes wrong:

  • Ask questions: was there something unclear in your brief?
  • Have a conversation: what do you need to see changed?
  • Check in again about your overall expectations

Putting in the effort to make your current relationship work is worth the effort. After all, it’s easy to find a copywriter, but finding a successful copywriter takes time.

Copycat Copywriters

At Copycat, we’re writers first: our goal is delivering high-quality website content that fits your brand voice to a T. Staffed with copywriters from a wide range of creative and technical backgrounds, we can find your brand’s perfect match. Once we find your copywriter, you can trust them to produce compelling copy that will captivate your audience

We believe in walking the walk, which is why we offer a free piece of content to interested brands. Go ahead and request yours to get started and find out if we’re a match made in heaven. Hint: we are. 

Sources

Content Marketing Institute. 5 easy steps to define and use your brand voice. https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/10/define-brand-voice/

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