In business, the success of your company primarily depends on your message and how that message is received by your target audience. It all boils down to the written word. If your words aren’t clear, concise and cohesive, then your signs, brochures, website content, newsletters, blogs or e-blasts won’t be influential or memorable to your potential customers. Your marketing efforts may even wind up doing more harm than good.
We’ve seen too many businesses spend thousands of dollars on the design of their website and print collateral, then decide to write the content themselves to save a few bucks. The text can be confusing and filled with questionable grammar and even typos. It’s too late when you open a box of 25,000 brochures and discover there’s inaccurate information listed inside. It’s also way too late when you’re at a convention and realize your booth display has typos in big, bold letters for all the attendees to see (and laugh at). Unfortunately, this happens more than you think. When it does, the business owner can only blame themselves. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Just because you’re a good salesperson doesn’t mean you should write sales copy. And just because you’re an expert in your field doesn’t mean you should write the text for your website. Likewise, if you’re a whiz at writing short stories – it won’t mean much when you sit down to write the script for your companies’ promotional video. Copywriting and content writing are highly specialized forms of writing that require training and experience. Good writers can make it look easy, but it’s not. The trouble is… many of us wouldn’t know good copy if it leaped up and bit us on the schnoz.
Your potential customers will know it though, even though they might not realize it. Effective writing will make people take action, such as buying your product or signing up for your newsletter. Ineffective writing, even if it’s grammatically correct and accurate, will bore your potential customers and cause them to lose interest faster than bad chili through a hound dog. The right words can persuade someone who’s not interested in your product to buy it anyway. Poor words can make someone who has already decided to buy your product change their mind and never give you a second thought.
Some people are confused about the differences between a copywriter and a content writer. For purists, a copywriter is someone who writes advertising and sales copy for everything from direct marketing mailers, websites and social media ads. A content writer is someone that writes articles, blogs, surveys and general website content. A copywriter persuades, while a content writer informs, entertains or enlightens. For many, the two terms have become interchangeable. Using either term is usually sufficient for someone to know what you’re talking about, although not every writer is good at both sales copy and content writing. Some are. Many are not. When hiring a writer to handle your material, make sure the person is proficient in the type you need.
Well written copy is essential to increasing your sales and improving your business image. It should be an investment that quickly produces dividends. So what should you look for in a professional writer before hiring one?
The following list will assist you in making the right choice for your specific needs:
- Samples: Make sure you read samples of past work. The samples should show a range of work targeting a variety of demographic groups. The work does not have to be exactly like the product you sell or your website, but should a wide variety of writing skills and a thorough understanding of the material should come through in the writing.
- Testimonials: Hearing what other clients have said is a great way to gauge the writer’s abilities. The writer should provide you with written endorsements. Better yet, ask if you can contact a couple of past clients yourself and get their thoughts about the writer.
- Ability to Meet Deadlines: If the writer doesn’t have a good track record of meeting deadlines, keep searching. Procrastination is one of a writer’s deadliest foes. Make sure the writer you hire respects your requested time frame and can produce the results you want before the zero hour approaches.
- Knowledge of SEO: Many copywriters and content writers that write for the web have at least some knowledge of Search Engine Optimization, (SEO). The writer you choose should have an above-average command of SEO practices. SEO writing is more challenging than basic writing, yet essential if you want to get ranked on the big search engines like Google.
- Rewrite Policy: Writing is rewriting. Rarely is good copy achieved on the first draft. Revisions will need to be made after you review the work. Don’t let the copywriter charge you an arm and a leg for rewrites. You may have to pay more if you request several drafts, but most writers understand that some changes will be required after the first draft is turned in - it’s just part of the creative process.
- Results: If you are looking for sales copy, the writer should be able to tell about sales results for previous ad campaigns they’ve worked on. Most likely, they will either proudly offer the statistics before you ask or try to hide the results from you. In the case of the latter, proceed with caution.
- Personality: If a writer produces excellent copy, yet has a personality similar to a wounded badger, it may leave you wishing you would’ve just written the copy yourself. Interview a few qualified prospects. Ask them their thoughts about the job. Determine if the writer has a professional attitude and listens to your ideas. Part of being a good writer is being a good listener and understanding the client’s needs. Your job is hard enough... there’s no reason to have a terrible experience when working with a writer.
Do you create your business copy yourself or do you hire a writer? What has your experience been like? Leave a comment and share your experience. We want to hear from you!
Captivation Agency understands there is a lot of competition for your business. We take pride in our work and strive to maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Please contact us today to talk to a friendly Captivation representative and see how we can reduce your operating expenses, increase your productivity and make your company more competitive.