Whether you’re looking for information on how to hire a freelance copywriter because you haven’t done much work with contractors or you’ve had a bad experience in the past, you’ll find comprehensive information here.
Freelance copywriters are everywhere. You might have one right down the street from you. But that doesn’t mean that person serves the niche you’re looking for or is passionate about your products and services.
While one business might find a copywriter outstanding, another might be disappointed because the writer lacks certain skills or is stretched too thin to focus on an additional client.
Learn everything you need to know about hiring a freelance writer to set your project up for success.
How to Hire a Freelance Copywriter
Hiring contractors or people from the gig economy is more challenging than you might think. While finding a person to fill the role is simple, that doesn’t make them the right person for the work.
Avoid headaches by reading up on this information first. Here’s a look at what you’ll learn throughout this article.
- What to look for in a copywriter
- How to write a freelance copywriter job description
- Where to post your job description to find good candidates
- Interview tips for hiring the right candidate
- Tips for working with a copywriter
- How to evaluate your copywriter
- Knowing when it’s time to hire a new copywriter
What to Look for in a Copywriter
You’re seeking a copywriter because it isn’t your area of expertise. So without the expertise, how do you know what you’re looking for?
It’s a chicken and the egg situation. And so you read some generic information on Indeed and think you’ve got enough to start the process.
Instead of reading generic hiring information, here are copywriter criteria from a copywriter with more than 10 years of experience.
I can’t tell you how often someone reaches out to me because their existing copywriter dropped the ball or ghosted them. You want to know that your copywriter will respond within 24-48 hours to requests. Ask about their ability to take on extra projects and turnaround times in those scenarios.
2. Established Presence
I don’t understand it at all but some freelancers just stop responding to customers. I suspect these are moonlighters who decide to just live off their full-time job income instead of continuing to add to that income with freelance gigs. And while I understand the strain of multiple jobs, there’s also decency in how you make changes to your work like that. Freelancers with a website, reviews and portfolio are far more likely to stay in close communication with you.
3. Marketing Expertise
Copywriters should know a thing or two about marketing. They are drafting the content that will be a deciding factor in whether your marketing initiatives are successful or not. Ask about what marketing roles they’ve held, even if it’s only copywriting for marketing. You’ll find you’re much happier with the results of campaigns when you hire a writer with the right know-how.
4. Concise Writing
If you’re reading the copywriter’s samples and able to cut out plenty of unnecessary words or phrases or correct verbose sentences, move on. Some copywriters come from creative writing backgrounds. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it likely won’t resonate with customers looking to learn about your products and services fast and move on.
Download a free version of Grammarly and put the writer’s work through the platform. Now, know that Grammarly is still a robot, and you can’t blindly accept everything it is saying. But for individuals who are not writing experts, it can give you an idea of how good the freelance writer you’re evaluating is.
5. Ability to Market Themselves
Pay close attention during the interview to what the copywriter says, how confident they sound and how well they market themselves. This is an individual who is supposed to be skilled at marketing products and services. They should be able to market their services as well.
While the writer’s proposal doesn’t need to be anything fancy, think about how polished and professional it looks. The more professional the proposal is, the more likely the writer take their work seriously and will conduct themselves with professionalism.
How to Write a Freelance Copywriter Job Description
There is so much information out there about how to write a good job description. But from my experience, this content is tailored toward full-time positions. What’s the difference and why does that matter?
Freelance workers are often solo because they like the freedom to be picky about what projects they work on. But statements like “Must be a team player” and “Outstanding work environment” don’t do much to tell the freelancer about the work.
In this case, focus less on selling yourself as the employer and more on describing in detail what you’re looking for.
Be honest about the results you’re hoping to accomplish and your expectations of the working relationship with the freelancer. I wish all hiring managers writing freelance job descriptions would throw out the script and just explain in detail what they are looking for.
That’s not to say you should leave out your company name or omit your working style entirely. But these details aren’t as crucial as they are for hiring a full-time worker.
This is the outline I enjoy seeing in freelance copywriter job descriptions.
- Intro of the type of work you’re looking for (i.e., blogging, marketing copywriting, website content, materials for an upcoming event, etc.)
- Examples of work you like or ideas of what you’re trying to create
- Information about your voice and tone or if you’ll be looking for the writer to help create that framework
- Details about your expectations for the work.
- What you’re looking for as far as the freelancer’s involvement in regular meetings.
- Time zone and collaboration expectations
- Who you are and what you’re selling
Freelance copywriting job descriptions focus less on required qualifications and more on describing what you’re looking for and allowing the applicant to prove they are the person for the job.
Where to Post Your Job Description to Find Good Candidates
Platforms for businesses to meet freelancers are a dime a dozen. But the best of the best are unlikely to be on these platforms. Why? Because they’re so skilled they work mostly through referrals and marketing themselves directly.
Freelancers just starting out and working to make a name for themselves are more likely to apply when you post your job description through these platforms. You’ll also find freelancers in other countries. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, you want your copywriter to have impeccable English writing skills.
Okay, so now I’ve told you where not to post the job description. So where should you post it to find the best candidates? LinkedIn!
If you’ve built a strong network on LinkedIn, you’ll get some outstanding referrals from fellow business owners and marketers who have already done the hard work in vetting a copywriter for you.
Your post might not include the full job description. You might send that over to interested parties later. But start by posting that you need a skilled copywriter with a small description of the work they will be doing.
By searching for a writer this way, you’ll have a very short list of candidates to protect your valuable time. And again, they’ll already be vetted through people in your network that you know and trust.
What should you do if no one has a good referral to share? You can post the full job description on your website and link to it. Perhaps ask people in your network to share it. Now you’ve taken full advantage of the power of LinkedIn networking to do the work for you. If this process doesn’t turn up results, you might need to revisit your job description.
Interview Tips for Hiring the Right Candidate
Now that you have your shortlist of recommended freelance copywriters from your LinkedIn network, you’re ready to start interviewing them in search of the best candidate for the job.
For some people, this is the dreaded part. What do you ask? How can you tell the difference between candidates? What will give you the confidence that you’ve found the right candidate for the job?
And because business owners dread this part or struggle to make time for it, they often just hire the writer without the interview and use a blog as a test to see if the writer is a good fit.
That’s certainly one way of doing things. But if you don’t have customer personas, clear value propositions for your products and services, an outline of features and benefits, or voice and tone guidelines, your writer is likely to fail.
Without talking to you or getting clear outlines of who you are and why you matter to your customers, drafting impressive marketing content will be exceedingly challenging. They’ll mostly be going off of what they can find out there on the internet, which might mean making your value proposition sound like your competitor’s.
Those initial conversations with your copywriter can offer incredible value. So if you decide to interview your candidates, here’s what you might ask.
- Start by asking them to share a bit about themselves. This is a soft opener where you’ll see the writer’s sales skills in marketing themselves. You’ll also see what they think is most important about their work history and how it relates to the job description you posted.
- Ask about what previous work qualifies them for the job. Maybe they’ve written for your industry in some capacity or they’ve completed a similar project with complexity like yours.
- Have the writer tell you about what they bring to the project that is unique. It might be something simple but you’ll see even more of what they value in a working relationship.
- Talk about expectations for meetings and involvement in the business. Be clear here so that you don’t end up with someone who can’t meet those requirements.
- Allow the writer to ask questions or clarify information about the work.
- Take time to evaluate whether this job is mutually beneficial. Remember, the writer is also evaluating whether they think working with you is a good fit.
The questions you ask don’t have to be super formal. Just have a conversation with the writer and see if they are a good fit.
Tips for Working with a Copywriter
Now that you’ve found a great copywriter, you’re ready to start your working relationship with them.
1. Set Expectations
Your copywriter can’t fulfill goals they aren’t aware of. Set expectations early on. This should include deadlines and go-live dates so the writer knows what they are working with.
You’ll also want to make it clear who is in charge of what. For example, some business owners or marketing teams retain the responsibility for posting the blog to their websites. Others want the writer to handle it. Make sure everyone knows what you’re expecting of them to allow them to set up their timelines accordingly.
2. Provide Important Guidelines and Outlines
When you start working with a new freelancer, you’ll need to give them information about your customers and your business. And while this might feel like you’re giving away the keys to the kingdom, the writer needs this information to be successful.
Have the writer sign an NDA before supplying them with all this information to ensure it all stays confidential. But if you want them to write thought leadership, you have to clue them in on what makes you unique.
3. Offer Feedback on What You Like and Don’t Like
Initial projects will likely require some back and forth to meet your expectations. Just because the writer doesn’t nail it on the first try doesn’t mean they aren’t skilled. Learning a new business can take a little time so be patient through those first few projects.
4. Share Valuable Industry News Outlets and Associations
Competitors should not be the only source of information the writer can find for their writing. Instead, share some valuable industry news outlets and associations to help guide them. Share what you enjoy reading because that’s likely the tone you’re trying to strike for your business content as well.
5. Make it Clear When They Don’t Execute What You’re Requesting
Sometimes business owners are just disappointed in a copywriter’s work but don’t share details about why. And then they abruptly end a working relationship with a freelancer without important details about why. This won’t serve the business owner and it certainly doesn’t serve the copywriter. You’ll be right back where you started in finding the right writer when you might have already had them if you’d only shared your thoughts and feedback.
How to Evaluate Your Copywriter
If you’re not a copywriting expert, it’s challenging to know how to evaluate your copywriter. So here are some thoughts on how to decide whether to keep a working relationship going.
- Feedback response: how your copywriter responds to feedback will be telling. If they get defensive or try to argue, they likely aren’t flexible to learn what you’re looking for and write in that style.
- Timeliness: is your writer meeting the deadlines you set? Or does it feel like every month you’re scrambling to complete projects, and everything feels like a fire drill? Timeliness is so important for copywriters and those who don’t respect that are not the ones you want to work with.
- Enjoyable content to read: if you don’t enjoy reading the content, neither will your customers. Ask the writer to break up the paragraphs more, use more bullet points and draw out the information into bulleted lists.
Knowing When It’s Time to Hire a New Copywriter
Moving on from your existing copywriter can be challenging. But if you feel like your content is stale or not meeting expectations, it’s time to make a switch. You likely already know it’s time for a new copywriter if you’re reading this but maybe you’re having a hard time coming to terms with it.
Letting someone go is challenging and most people avoid this process because they don’t want to start the hiring process again or they don’t feel they have the time to hire someone new.
Signs it’s time to hire a new copywriter include:
- The copywriter is missing deadlines.
- The copywriter says they can’t write a certain type of content or content for a medium you want to get started using.
- The copywriter is defensive of their content and unwilling to make changes.
- You’re not seeing results from campaigns, such as drip emails or website content.
- The working relationship simply isn’t working, such as in the case of different time zones or working styles.
If you’re finding yourself in a situation where you aren’t meshing well with your existing copywriter or you know it’s time to hire a copywriter, schedule a free consultation with Bridge the Gap Communication.