No one will be shocked to learn that people aren’t searching for mediocre copywriters. What everyone wants are the best copywriters that they can afford.
But the challenge that many small businesses face is that they aren’t copywriting experts. Questions for interviewing, writing a job description, and reviewing a writer’s portfolio and samples all seem like foreign activities.
If you’re looking to hire a copywriter, I’ve put together my list of what I would be looking for in the best of the best. I’ve been a professional copywriter for more than 11 years now. Here’s what I would care about if I was expanding my team.
10 Things to Look for in the Best Copywriters
As you seek out the best candidates, here’s what you should be looking for and asking about when talking to freelance copywriters.
1. Training and Experience
The first question you’ll want to ask is all about what training the copywriter has. It might be on-the-job or mentorship, which is perfectly appropriate in the right settings. Or it might be more formal, such as college or certificates.
Having 5-10 years of experience in copywriting on top of the experience will make a massive difference in the skills your copywriter possesses. They’ll be more agile in their abilities to write for a variety of mediums.
If you have the time and expertise to work with a copywriter who has less experience, go for it. Someone needs to give them their first experiences. But small businesses poised to grow likely want the best of the best now without having to train them.
Rebekah Brately has an undergraduate degree in journalism, which taught her how to write clear, concise content on a deadline. Then she layered on a master’s degree and seven years of experience in marketing strategy. Now with 11 years of experience, she drafts content for many digital marketing channels.
2. Attention to Detail
Sometimes the best way to check up on this is to ask the copywriter what they know about your business. See how much research they did before the interview – assuming of course that you disclosed your company information before the conversation.
Copywriters with good research skills will be able to tell you all about the business, what it does, its areas of weakness, products, services and more.
Another place you’ll find evidence of attention to detail is in the writer’s samples of work. Check for grammar errors, review formatting and get an overall sense of the work they present.
Rebekah’s background in journalism leads to outstanding attention to detail because a wrong fact means a full article retraction. You’ll find impeccable grammar and sentence structure in Rebekah’s writing.
When hiring a freelance writer, you must understand that they have commitments to many clients. It’s a balancing act for sure. But that doesn’t mean you should ever feel like your work is not important or that you are last on the list.
Look for a writer who is responsive and can promise turnaround times of 48 hours when called upon. That’s not to say you want to make it a habit to request work last minute, but you want to know that your writer can do it if needed.
4. The Writer Walks the Walk
It’s astounding to me that some writers don’t even have a website. Yet, here they are selling services related to website copywriting and blogging. It seems contradictory to me.
If they do have a website, be sure to read what they write there. Check their LinkedIn for regular posts to see if they are walking the walk there too.
Rebekah Brately maintains her company blog with monthly posts and educates small businesses through LinkedIn content frequently.
5. Comes with Referrals and References
Some jobs don’t require referrals. Perhaps you’re looking for some light work and you have the luxury of just trying the writer out. In other cases though, you’re looking for a serious long-term relationship where you want to know before hiring that you’ve found the best.
Ask for references or read reviews that others have left the writer on sites, such as Google or Upwork.
Rebekah Brately has a 100% success rating on Upwork after completing dozens of jobs with a variety of clients. She takes deadlines, quality work and customer satisfaction seriously.
6. No Passive Voice
As you read through the copywriter’s samples of work, look for whether they use passive voice. This will make the content feel impersonal and disconnected. An actor should complete every verb. For example:
Passive voice: The outstanding content was written.
Active voice: The writer drafted outstanding content.
In some industries, such as the legal industry, avoiding passive voice is especially challenging. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible.
Rebekah Brately writes simple, concise messages in active voice to engage with the reader and captivate their curiosity. The content speaks directly to the reader to help them understand the message and experience an emotional response to it.
7. An Understanding of What Makes Customer-Centric Copy
Customer-centric website copy is essential for drawing a customer in and making them take note of the material. One way to tell the difference between business-centric and customer-centric copy is to see if there is more “us and we” or “you and your.”
Customer-centric copy addresses the customer’s pain points, challenges and needs. Business-centric copy just explains what a product is and what it does.
Rebekah has built her career around copywriting for conversion. She knows how to review the target audience and bring to light their needs while still highlighting the product or service in question.
8. People Skills
Freelance copywriters are loners by design. They’ve gone out on their own to pursue the freedom to write about a variety of topics that interest them.
But that doesn’t mean these loners shouldn’t have people skills. If you aren’t feeling engaged during initial conversations with the copywriter, they likely won’t write content that engages their readers.
Or if their sales pitch sounds uncomfortable or forced, you might be looking at a new freelance copywriter. That’s not to say you shouldn’t give them a chance, but you just want to enter that relationship fully understanding what to expect.
Rebekah Brately has been a freelance copywriter for four years and knows how to work with clients while running a successful business. You’ll find polished interactions. Clients have trusted Rebekah to conduct interviews with customers for case studies and blog articles that feature those customers.
Ask the copywriter what suggestions or ideas they have after reviewing your website or your blog content. The best copywriters will all come prepared to your meetings with improvement ideas to share.
While you can’t expect the copywriter to give away all those ideas during the initial consultation, you should expect that they’ll share some of the simpler and more obvious. Also ask for what they recommend as far as a marketing strategy. This will give you a concept of whether they are an order taker or innovator.
10. High-quality Content
Ultimately, the most essential element that all the best copywriters possess is the ability to write great content. You want the content to be engaging, error-free and focused on the customer’s needs.
Ensure that the content the copywriter is supplying is truly something that they wrote. This can be challenging because most work that copywriters do is ghostwriting, meaning they don’t get a byline for the article.
If the writer has no articles with bylines, ask to talk with a former or existing client to ensure you’re reading content that the copywriter wrote.
Quality Copywriting from a Freelance Writer
Rebekah Brately manages Bridge the Gap Communication and does all the copywriting for clients. You don’t have to worry about third-party contractors and content being inconsistent.
With more than 11 years of experience, Rebekah uses her skills to engage readers and earn conversions. Schedule a free consultation now to learn more.
Best Copywriter FAQs
If you’re looking for the best copywriter, read these common questions and answers first.
How Do I Find a Good Copywriter?
Finding a good copywriter can be a challenge. But it’s well worth the effort. You’ll need to interview several candidates. The best place to get started is by reviewing LinkedIn profiles.
Are Copywriters in Demand?
Yes, copywriters are always in demand because every piece of marketing requires copywriting. From websites to Google ads, you’ll need content designed for conversions.
Do Companies Hire Copywriters?
Companies do hire copywriters full-time and part-time. So if you don’t want to work with a freelancer writer, this is always an option for your business.