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Answered: How do I hire a copywriter?

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

You might be searching online, interested in answering the elusive question 'How do I hire a copywriter?' To summarise there are a couple of ways:


- Source people directly from a 'pay per service' platform (Fiverr, Upwork)

-Find recommendations of people (perhaps LinkedIn / word of mouth)

-Or search online and find people that look interesting.


That's just the start of it though! You may be asking:

  • How do you know I am getting the right person?

  • Can copywriters give samples?

  • How do I know the copywriter can write content related to my field?

  • How do I figure out what a good price is?

  • What else should I consider when hiring a copywriter?

To help, I'll list everything I know as someone who does the job!


How do I know I am getting the right person?

If you want content written, price is a factor but experience is the most critical thing to look for.

If you wanted a plumber, i'd hope while price was important, you'd rather someone great got it right the first time, instead of needing to hire 3 cheap plumbers one after the other.

There are lots of flavours of copywriter out there.

You've got:

  • Creative copywriters

  • Advertising copywriters

  • Sales funnel copywriters

  • Serious academic copywriters

  • More journalistic copywriters

  • More marketing led copywriters

  • SEO copywriters / content writers

  • Product copywriters

  • Technical writers

  • Bid and tender writers


Now we don't all sit in our boxes. For example, as someone who was a marketing manager, I lean towards more marketing led/ SEO with a creative side. I am not the person you want writing your tender or bid document.

That's why it is so key to speak to the copywriter. While web contact forms and online portfolios are great to give you a flavour, nothing beats a Zoom call with someone you like the look of to find out who they are.

After all, websites advertising copy writing services can be tricky. They may have worked in your niche, and have a competitor on their work history, but you need to discover what they did for that customer. Did they write the same kind of content you need? How deep did they get into the product?

Are they au fait with your country of operation and how things are likely to be presented in your industry and location?

(I'm not suggesting not to use the wealth of global talent available, just stating that hiring should consider how well they can adapt to your audience, wherever they may be based.)

For this reason, set up a call.


What to ask a copywriter on a call


When you speak to them, ask them some specifics so you feel comfortable they can do the job.

You might have a niche product, service or sector, and you want an expert who can craft content. For this to work, they have to have a good understanding of:

- Your audience

- Your product or similar products/ services

- How the copy needs to be written (eg goals and ultimate purpose)

And they need to have decent experience in content and copywriting. They might have had experience in a particular area as well, such as:

- Email marketing

- Lead generation

- Product pages

- Site optimisation

- PPC advert content

- Creative social media

- Headlines / straplines / campaign concepts

In my opinion, where they write content (eg for an email or a web page) is much more important overall than being a product superstar with loads of sector experience.

Being able to write the type of content you need for the project you have is far superior to hiring an expert in widgets.

So, ask them what their specialisms are. Then ask to see examples. By asking for a 'full portfolio' you aren't allowing them to pull in some of the most relevant copy samples that they may have.


Questions to ask a B2B copywriter

  1. What's your experience in this industry?

  2. We want a ______ (content type) created. What sort of work have you done this year on this kind of thing?

  3. Can you tell me some of your other clients?

  4. What challenges do you think we might face?

After that - I can bet that they will start grilling you!

They might ask:

  1. When is the project due?

  2. Why are you looking to get this done?

  3. What is the aim of the piece?

  4. Who will I collaborate with?

  5. How do you need this submitted?

  6. What research do you need doing?

  7. What is your word count or vision for the piece?

  8. Where will the work live?

  9. Where did you hear about me?

  10. What is your budget?

Copywriters should be receptive to this kind of call, as it allows them to enter into projects where they can really add value as well and you might even get passed on to another expert in the field they know.

Book in that call!


How can I figure out what a good price for a copywriter is?

A copywriter will have set a price based on their experience, value and also by how in demand they are in their niche.

Typically someone who has written copy for over a decade is going to have fingers of fire and will be less interested in writing 'per word'. They will probably charge per project.

I will touch on the rates in a moment, but let's take an example of why per word copywriting is a bit rubbish for the copywriter.

A 1000 word blog post is 1000 words when it reaches you. The chances are to tell a story, it has been 2500 words, and has been heavily edited to make it a nice story. That's nearly 3 times the word count from the off. But the work will also entail:

- Brief taking and reading (they may need to decipher multiple documents you have sent over or emails you have forwarded.)

- Competitor research (looking at sites, finding pricing, exploring how they rank)

- Linking (They will have had to find each link and edited it.)

-Additional research (will the piece need facts or stats? What similar pieces are out there and what are they lacking?)

-Proofing (they may pay another freelancer to do this for them)

- Formatting (this has to look nice when it lands.)

- And then any changes you may have.

I write fast, and a 1000 word article will take me 2-3 hours. But the additional tasks may take 1 - 2 hours, depending on what the piece is.


How much do copywriters charge - 2022?

Procopywriters research found that the copywriter day rate is £387 for 2021. This equates to £48 per hour on an 8 hour day. A more senior copywriter picks up between £800 - £2000+ plus a day.


When calculated at a roundabout figure of £1,200 a day, this is £150 per hour for 1500 words, on average.


How much are copywriters on fiverr?


I analysed the costs of copywriter packages on fiverr for 1500 words. These are on both 'general' topics or niches (such as legal, wine, finance.) There were variable fees on page one alone of £374, £457, £183, £100, £146.50, £88.41, £366, £91.56, £59, £164, £114.45 making a rough average of £195 for 1500 words.


(With 7,472 gigs available at the time of writing, there could be a huge discrepancy in this figure, but it does explain that copy is not just 'a fiver!'.)


How much can a copywriter write in a day?


So, you are comfy with a day rate. What can be done in that day for you? Let's get into how and why pricing can be so variable for copywriters and why most of us don't have a simple 'add to basket' eCommerce style website.


Let's take a 1000 word article and a 500 word article.Surely, you find out my 500 word cost and times it by two? Nope!

A 500 word piece is about 2 hours. But a 1000 word piece could be 6 hours. And I promise, the extra time isn't spent on TikTok.

A 500 word article: 'How to reward employees this Summer' - which would be general advice using my background in employee engagement, formatted, with images, meta description and titles, written to suit keywords and searcher intent - will take 2 hours.

But....

A 1000 word article 'Why are employees quietly quitting and can incentives help?' - is going to be not just 4 hours of writing, but 1 hour of research into reading articles and journals, perhaps 30 minutes with a sales team to find out if this resonates with customers and what people are doing to prevent it, as well as reaching out to my network to find out about solutions, how to tell both sides of the story, and to summarise.

I'll have to link to the articles, format it sensibly, and ensure it's a balanced piece.

So a day could be made up of

  • 1 x amazing evergreen article of 1000 words

or

  • 3 x 500 word blogs

or

  • 12 lead funnel messages drafted out for a first review.


It is completely dependent on...

  • The company

  • The aims

  • The size

  • The tone

  • The style

  • The requirements

  • The goals.

Pricing my services as a plumber would be easier!


How do I know the copywriter can write content related to my field?


Ask them! Perhaps you have found someone who seems a good fit but they don't have industry experience. It's worth asking. Some B2B copywriters like to niche down, and they may have hidden depths in your sector that they simply aren't promoting right now.

So ask, and see what they come up with.


Do copywriters give samples?

Yes but we'd like to be paid please!

You don't ask a plumber to give you a free pipe fitting. You don't ask the hairdresser to do a highlight session before you get a cut. You don't ask a waitress to bring over a taster. Sometimes in life you just have to bite the bullet. Hopefully the questions I shared earlier will give you a flavour of:

  • Who the person is

  • How receptive they are

  • If they have something about them (commercially minded)

  • What they've worked on

  • How much work they have on

  • How in demand they are

.....After that it's up to you!

If you are asking for a sample, give a clear brief, make it short and don't expect endless revisions of it. It's a taste, a glance, a feel you are getting, not the finished article. Unless you are offering a full day rate, in which case, you should get publishing ready work.

Side note: Don't forget to allow some grace. They will be working without meeting your teams, understanding your sector or the product, which comes in time. If they can get it to 80% done on the first go - they are likely a keeper.


What else should I consider when hiring a copywriter?

I would suggest asking...

  • Do you have a clear purpose for this person and their task

  • Are they well armed with all they need to do a good job?

  • Can I give them the time they need to ask questions?

  • Will questions annoy me?

  • Has the money side been agreed and signed off - PO numbers, invoicing etc.

  • Can I ensure time to proof and check the finished pieces?

  • Do I have a clear way to accept deliveries (email, trello, slack, asana)

  • What do I hate that I need to tell them (eg spelling and tone tastes - as well as brand taste house styles towards certain words - eCommerce vs E-Commerce or ecommerce or Ecommerce or e-commerce.


After that, you should be set! I hope this helped you see how to hire a copywriter and has given you all you need to make the leap and set up those first phonecalls!


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