What you need to ask a Copywriter before Hiring

If you’re a marketing professional you may have the need from time to time to hire a freelance copywriter to supplement your in-house staff for a B2B marketing project.  if you do, how can be sure that you’re getting what you need?

To help you answer that question I did extensive research on the Internet into what questions people in your position ask a prospective copywriter.
There were some surprising results.
Only one person asked how much the copywriter would charge and whether it would be by the hour, the word or the project.
And only one asked whether English was the copywriter’s native language.
Based on this research and my own experience here are 9 questions that’ll help you get what you need in a copywriter.
1. Is English your native language?
     This may not be a deal killer.  The person may have a terrific
      command of English.  But you don’t want to find out that’s not
      so in the middle of a rush project.
2.  What do you know about my business?
     While good copywriter can write about most topics with sufficient
     research, the learning curve will be far shorter and your  hand
     holding will be minimized if the copywriter is knowledgeable about
     your business.
3.  Can I see samples of your work?
      Ideally the copywriter’s portfolio will contain samples of work from
      your industry. But that should not be the only criterion.  How good
      is the writing? How about the tone? Is it conversational? Do you
      like what you read? Sometimes having someone outside of your
      industry can be good. Fresh eyes and approach.
4.  Do you have a website?
     If the copywriter does not have a website he/she loses credibility as far as writing
     content or copy for a website.
5.  Do you prepare a creative brief for each project and an outline 
     before completing the first draft?
     A creative brief is essential to document the scope and approach
      to the work in a mutually agreeable form.  It avoids arguments over
      the bid scope should a scope change be required later.  An outline
      provides a rough picture of the completed project before you turn
      the writer loose.  This allows both parties to fine tune the project
      to prevent the writer from going in the wrong direction.
6.  What and How do you charge?
      This is always tricky.  Some copywriter change by the hour, some
       by the word and some by the project.  If the scope of the project is
       very vague expect the writer to charge by the word or the hour.  If
       it’s well defined with a concise creative brief expect the writer to
       charge by the project. It’s in your best interest to have a well
       defined project scope so that the writer can charge by the project .
       This gives you a fixed number for you budget (your boss will like
       that). Your risk is minimal.  The writer assumes most of the risk.
       Typically copywriters will ask for between 30% and 50% up front
        before starting the project and may require a “kill fee” if you
        cancel the project.
7.  Can you stick to deadlines?
       This is important because in many cases the copywriting you get
        from you writer is just part of a larger marketing campaign with a
        fim deadline.  if the copywriter can’t convince you that he/she
        can meet deadlines you may be wise to say “Next”.
8.   Are you easy to work with?
        Talking with the copywriter on the phone may allow you to
        determine whether indeed he/she is easy to work with.  A better
        way is to ask for references and call them to see how eggy liked
        working with the copywriter,
9.  Why you?
       Can the copywriter convince you that he/she can do the best job
       for you? What’s the basis for that claim?  Industry experience,
       Unique approach. Ability to meet schedule.

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