How to Work With a Copywriter
You may wish to hire a freelance copywriter to help you with your content, collateral, or direct response copywriting needs.
The copywriter is a professional writer whose primary goal is to help you achieve your marketing goals.
While a marketing copywriter can write an article for you — like any freelance writer — a copywriter does not sell their writing, but rather they sell the marketing results of their writing.
So it’s important to know that a general freelance writer is not the same thing as a marketing writer.
Because marketing has high value, copywriting also has high value. The copywriter works with clients who are looking for business growth.
For instance, a client may want more leads. A company may want more sales. A business may want more “engagement.” An organization may want more “buzz.” And an operation might want more Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to increase traffic.
Whatever the goal, a copywriter helps a business grow, make more revenue, increase profits, expand reach, beat the competition, and generate ROI.
The skill of copywriting is the skill of salesmanship put to print or digital. It takes a great deal of time to learn copywriting and marketing, and like any professional — CPA, Financial Advisor, Doctor, etc.,— a good copywriter continually invests time and money in their education and skills development.
Copywriters work on marketing projects like Website copy, Landing Page copy, Blog Posts, Direct Mail, White Papers, Videos, Case Studies, Press Releases, Catalogs, Email Campaigns, and many other types of marketing.
The profession of copywriting has a process. Your copywriter will guide you through the process of a marketing campaign. First they will ask you appropriate questions. Then for most projects, they will ask you to complete a Creative Brief. This is mandatory and standard in all creative agencies.
Once the Creative Brief has been signed off on, the copywriter will send a Fee Agreement. It’s standard to pay 50 percent up front but with very large jobs that may take more than a month, the copywriter and client may agree to payments in increments of thirds.
There are some products and services that can effectively be sold on commission. In the marketing world we call this a “Royalty payment.” Paying royalties works only in certain situations and the topic is beyond the scope of this document, but in general, if you’re selling to a very large list, an arrangement whereby a Flat Rate plus Royalties could be an attractive option for both parties.
Royalties are rarely seen in the B2B marketing world because prospect lists are generally too small; Royalties are most often found in the B2C world among very large consumer publishers and educators.
Unlike freelance writers who sell non-marketing articles to magazines, which are noted for paying “upon acceptance,” copywriters are always paid some part of the fee before work commences. Copywriters do not work “on spec” (on speculation), nor do they do the work and then get paid 100 percent on the back end.
Because the copywriter is working from a Creative Brief, the copy normally needs only three revisions before the work is complete. When the work is complete the copywriter will then invoice for the remaining balance. A good Creative Brief helps the copywriter write the kind of copy the client expects, and helps both businesses stay highly productive.
An advanced copywriter will have the skill to help you with your strategy. A new or intermediate copywriter will be able to come up with great concepts and big ideas, and copy that brings the results you seek.
Copywriters respect their profession and themselves. They also have great respect for their clients. Copywriters generally work for the President or top title in small companies, and the Marketing Director or similar title in larger companies.
Freelance copywriters see themselves as extensions of the marketing department and as part of the team. The best copywriters will want to know how their work did for you after the fact. So expect your copywriter to check in with you after the campaign is finished, to make sure you saw the results you were seeking.
It goes without saying that a Professional Copywriter will treat you fairly (and expect the same from you); get the work in by deadline, and provide you exactly what you need, all the while making the experience a pleasant one that will want to be repeated.