With the Internet, social media, and other ways to communicate, more and more companies are bringing a copywriter in-house to handle their ongoing marketing communication needs. For those that prefer to work with an outsourced copywriter, here are some tips for making sure the project goes smoothly while achieving the desired outcome.
Start by getting the right professional for your project. A good copywriter will have the ability to write for diverse products, services, and companies. However, most tend to specialize in certain areas, such as technology, professional services, retail products, and so forth. Using a copywriter with direct experience writing in your industry isn’t always necessary, but it usually helps.
As a rule of thumb, if you only plan to use the copywriter once, such as with a discreet brochure or white paper, it makes sense to hire someone with experience in your industry. If you have ongoing copywriting needs, developing a relationship with a highly skilled writer and educating them about your business may present a better option.
Once you have the right copywriter, the next step is to schedule a call to discuss the project. Taking a few minutes to prepare for the call will greatly increase the chances that the copywriter will deliver what you’re looking for.
- Outline the scope of the project. This includes not just what you want, but why you want it. For example, “We need a white paper to position our business as an industry thought leader.” Or, “We’re looking to update our website content to align with our new web design and brand positioning.”
- Define the goals. Let the copywriter know what you want the piece to accomplish. “We want to raise brand awareness and drive more visitors to our web site.” Or, “We want a blog that doesn’t just talk at people, but creates a conversation around how our clients benefit from using our services.”
- Define the target audience. Give your copywriter a clear idea of who will be reading the marketing collateral and what value it will provide them. Also, let the writer know what action you want readers to take after reading it. The more precisely you define the audience, the better the writer can zero in on the appropriate messaging.
- Explain how the piece will be used. For example, if you need a brochure, is it mostly educational or do you need it to aggressively sell? Is it a leave-behind, or does your salesperson use it during the sales process?
- Provide details. Indicate the desired length, either in terms of word count or number of pages, as well as the tone and style. Do you want the writing to be conservative or provocative? Edgy or conventional? Funny or serious?
- Set a deadline for delivery. “Oh…sometime by the end of the month” is not a deadline. Set a specific date for delivery of the first draft as well as the final one. Leave plenty of time to review the first draft, provide feedback, and allow the copywriter to rewrite the final draft.
Finally, a good copywriter will ask a lot of questions about your business, so be prepared to answer them. Why do your customers buy from you? What is your unique selling proposition? What differentiates your products/services from your competition? What is the perception of your brand in the marketplace? Your answers to these questions are critical for helping the copywriter craft the appropriate content and ensure that your project is a winner.