Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Five reasons not to use a copywriter

A professional copywriter could save you money and time
Picture: Joanne Cooper Photography

1) "I can write a bit. I'll do it myself and save money".

Perhaps you can write and perhaps you'll be able to create concise content that answers all the questions your customers may have and inspires them to call you and place an order. Great!

Or is the reality that the task will keep getting pushed down your 'to do' list? Will you start it, put it aside, pick it up again and get frustrated as time marches relentlessly on?

Working with a professional copywriter means you can get the job planned in and delivered on YOUR schedule and spend your valuable time on what you do best and the tasks in your business that you really enjoy.

It can actually often be more cost-effective, quicker and produce better results if you delegate content writing to a professional.

2) "I don't trust anyone else to explain what I know I want to say".

There are lots of ways in which you can work in partnership with a writer. Perhaps you want to produce a rough version or bullet point notes that the copywriter can expand on and edit? Perhaps you want them to interview you about everything relevant to your business and let them produce a draft you can refine and amend? Some businesses give a writer their existing brochures and leaflets as raw content.

A good copywriter will take the time to understand how your business ticks, and who the people are that you want to reach and influence. They can advise you on getting the balance right between what you want to say and what your customers want and need to hear.

An effective blog, website or newsletter has to answer the questions your customers have, generate trust and inspire readers to pick up the phone, send an email or place an order online.

Some business owners are so close to their products and services that the fresh perspective that an independent writer brings has additional value.

3) "I'm worried that costs will escalate if we keep having to make changes".

At the first meeting or conversation with your copywriter (many will offer you a consultation face-to-face or by phone or Skype free of charge) find out how amends and changes will be costed and what the sign-off procedure will be. Get a clear quote in writing before you agree to commission the writer so there are no nasty surprises - for either of you.

4) "I'm already paying a website developer - they can write the content".

The skills of a website designer or developer are very different to those of an experienced  and qualified writer. If you have the budget to employ a creative agency they may well employ writers as well as designers, developers and marketing specialists. But if you are working with a smaller business you will often find that your web developer does not want to write the content. If you try and twist their arm you may end up with content that needs more work to make it fit for purpose. There are some talented, multi-skilled individuals out there who are true masters of more than one specialism - but generally you wouldn't expect most plumbers to be able to re-wire your house as well.

5) "I don't know how to find a reliable writer".

If you were looking for someone to carry out work on your house you might use a directory to find businesses in your area, look at their website and check out online reviews and testimonials. You might also ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations. The same approach will help you put together a shortlist of  copywriters. Your local business club or networking group may also be able to recommend freelance writers that its knows and trusts.

I would always recommend a face-to- face meeting if at all possible to understand more about the writer's background and the work they have done in the past. It's important that the two of you hit it off and have trust and confidence in each other in order for the finished content to meet and exceed your expectations.