In my past work as a marketing communications director, I hired and supervised a ton of copywriters. Shakirah Dawud is among the best I know.
In her guest post below, Shakirah explains what you have a right to expect from any copywriter you engage.
You want to send an effective message via your branding, brochure, advertising, or press release. You need to communicate clearly to get the reaction you desire from your intended audience. So you’re in search of a good copywriter—or you’re about to work with one you’ve already chosen. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
A professional background you’re comfortable with. Check the portfolio of the writer you’re interested in. It’s not necessary for every project to fall within your industry, but it is necessary for you to feel drawn to her style—or the flexibility of her style—for your purposes. If yours is an ultra-specialized or socially sensitive area, ask about her background with those types of projects, and how she’s addressed such issues in her writing in the past.
Appropriate language. Although we all learned English at home and in school, marketing copy is not a college essay. Ask about or be aware of differences in expression, spelling, or grammatical constructions that may be common and correct in one context but inappropriate for your purposes.
Talent. It comes in many forms, and your definition of talent may be totally different from mine, but you know it when you see it. It makes you want to read more, find out more, and eventually contact a particular copywriter. Another copywriter may be technically and stylistically excellent, but like any art, greatness of expression is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t settle for less.
Communication—as much of it as necessary. If you want to know what’s going on at any point in your project, it shouldn’t be a hassle to get hold of your writer. Keep leaving messages? Are emails left unanswered for more than 24 hours? Try setting up weekly meeting times to get updates, ask and answer any questions, and offer further input as the project takes shape.
Professionalism. Can your copywriter meet the tight deadlines you throw at her? Can she meet those deadlines without sacrificing consistently high-quality results? Is she honest with you about her capabilities? Find out what past clients say about her work and her working style. You can do this by getting references and testimonials, running a Google search, or placing a few phone calls. The extra effort is worth it when both your peace of mind and your business’s reputation are on the line.
For more wisdom about copywriting, visit Shakirah’s site, Deliberate Ink, and follow her on Twitter @deliberateink.
You can also read Shakirah’s post, The Mystery of Character in Memoirs.
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