Many of our clients come to us because they need help with a copywriting project and are looking for a freelance copywriter.
If you're in the same position, especially if you haven't worked with a copywriter before, it's wise to ask some questions to make sure your project will be a success. By asking these questions, you'll also be better prepared when it comes to choosing your copywriter and understanding exactly what you're committing to.
1. Can they meet deadlines?
As nice as it would be to sit back and wait indefinitely for a copywriter to finish your project, most people need to be able to set a deadline at the start of a project and know that their copywriter will stick to it.
Interestingly, several people in Hong Kong have told us how hard it can be to find copywriters who meet deadlines reliably. There are great writers out there, but when your boss is demanding that overdue first draft, or you have a strict publication deadline, it doesn't help much to know that the copy will be great, but a week late.
2. Can they manage your project?
Although, in theory, copywriting involves sharing a brief, handing over some background materials and setting a deadline, it's usually not that simple. A copywriter might need to arrange time to speak to or meet your colleagues, hold an interview with your company's subject matter expert or ask for more information as a project progresses. If you end up working with someone for whom organisation is not a natural skill, there's a risk you'll be doing most of the project management yourself, at the last minute.
It's also important that your chosen copywriter has strong communication skills. That way, they'll be able to update you regularly and let you know if there are any concerns as your project progresses.
3. How do they charge?
A copywriter might quote you a low hourly rate. However, do you really know what the overall cost of your project is going to be? If not, you may find that those hours add up. With an hourly rate your copywriter could actually be rewarded for taking longer to research and develop your copy.
Instead, you may want to agree on a project fee in advance. That way, you know exactly what you'll be paying and what's included in that fee. To give you an idea of what can be involved in calculating a typical project fee, have a look at this post on how we charge.
Narrowing the field
As you narrow your choices, there are other questions to consider. For example:
- Are they comfortable talking to senior executives in your organisation if they need to interview them to gather information for your project?
- What are their email and telephone manners like? It's likely that they'll be representing you in front of colleagues or even customers, so your reputation may be on the line if they don't come across as professional.
- Can they recommend (or even manage) other partners as part of your project? If you need graphic design, translation, transcription or professional editing and proofreading services, for example, your project may run a lot more smoothly if your copywriter is able to work with (or manage) these people directly.
- Will they provide a contract setting out what is included in your project and confirming deadlines? A short contract or letter of agreement can help to ensure that both sides know exactly what will be delivered and when, in what format, and how many rounds of revisions are included in the work.
When it comes to finding the right copywriter, it can pay to do your homework. There are many experienced copywriters around, but when it's your own project on the line, you want to know that working together will be stress-free and that your project will progress smoothly. After all, it's no good hiring the cheapest copywriter if they simply can't deliver your project on time.
Did you find this post helpful? If so, have a look at our follow-up post on finding a copywriter who's the right match for your business.