The hardest thing any business owner can do is to write about him or herself or their business. It just can’t be done—or at least done well. You need that outside eye—preferably a writer with a good marketing background and solid writing reputation—to create copy about you that others will find compelling. If you try to write about yourself, you will get bogged down in too many details, wondering which are the most important. You will also labor for hours on end trying to get the copy “just right.”
What Makes a Really Good Copywriter?
When you’ve decided it is best for both your sanity and your time to hire an outside writer, here’s what you should look for:
Style of copywriting experience
Your copywriter should be up to date on the latest ways to write for the particular medium you’re writing for, be it the web, brochures, a media kit or an author bio, for example. The writing styles for each are entirely different. If the writer doesn’t know the difference, look for one who does.
Great interview skills
Most of the information for the copy will come from you. A great copywriter has the confidence to conduct an interview to gather what they need in the shortest time possible. We know you’re busy and we need to use our skills to ferret out details quickly that make your copy shine. Expect some “off the wall” questions, and roll with them. We’re also looking for insights into your personality so we can inject that into the copy.
Ability to handle details
There are a lot of little details that go into writing good copy. The writer must be an expert at gathering information through research and interviews. They need to know the right questions to ask, and how to get this information quickly and accurately from you and your staff, or their research. You need to trust that the writer has checked credible sources and accurately reported details so that you don’t need to spend your time fact checking. A good copywriter will also be sensitive to proprietary or sensitive information as well as deadlines.
See the Types of Work we do at All the Buzz
Lack of an ego
The writer must understand that the represents you, not them. Seek a writer who doesn’t involve their own ego in the copywriting process. A writer with a big ego about how perfect their work is will make it much more difficult to make edits along the way. Make sure they are easy to get along with and are honest and up front through each stage of the work.
Gumption to take the reins
A great copywriter knows what to do on a project and can take the reins and run with it. A not-so-good copywriter will wait for you to give them all the directions. Be impressed if the copywriter offers new ideas on how to present your copy, and even more ideas on how to market it once it’s done. Be open to their suggestions; they’ve helped make hundreds of clients successful.
Patience and clarity
Expect that the copywriter will need to interview you and perhaps others in your company. Also expect the copy to go back and forth a few times for editing. A professional copywriter will establish a limit on the number of times you can edit the copy and then charge for further edits. Look for a clear presentation of the first-round copy, clearly defined. This will make it easier to modify it or make any changes as needed.
Make sure the writer clearly defines what is missing and understands your changes. Changes during final edits can at times be frustrating, especially if there is a difference of opinion. Both sides should show patience. The outcome—the final product—is the goal, not the personalities involved. However, trust the copywriter to know what they are talking about. They are experts in getting the message across and have experience in what does and does not work. What you personally like may not be the best way to get the message out there to convert readers to customers.
Quality of work
Your written product should be clear, well laid out, well written, and well designed—in each stage of the process. It should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. If the first copy comes in messy and fraught with errors, that is not a good sign for a final product. A good writer makes it easy for you, their client, to give go-ahead approvals at each stage.
Need a Great Copywriter? Contact All the Buzz.
Linda Barrett, the principal at All the Buzz, is a Clio Award-winning writer (that’s like an Academy Award in the advertising business!). We also employ other writers to assist us with projects and social media programs. However, all work comes through the top so you can be assured of the best product every time.
When you need great copywriting for your website, marketing and communications materials, magazines, social media, etc., contact All the Buzz.
Get the Facts
First, it provides us with the facts we need about a company’s products, services, customer service policies, history, background, target customer audience and goals.
Get the Tone
Second, it gives us the opportunity to “hear” the company owner. We listen not just for the facts but for how the owner represents the business. Does he or she speak using technical language? Are the sentences long or short? Is there humor? This helps us to write in “their voice,” not our own, and is especially helpful when writing a speech the interviewee will be delivering. Most of the time our client remarks, “It sounds just like me!”
Get the Customer
Listening also helps us to uncover problems the owner may be having in the business, or issues their customers might be having. These can and should be addressed when creating good copy. Continue reading →
I love this quote from Warren Buffett because it truly describes what sales and marketing is all about.
If your clients or customers are complaining about the price of the services or goods you are offering, they probably don’t understand the value of what they are buying. And this is where you need to beef up your marketing efforts.
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Within the past few months I had the opportunity to work with a start-up company in creating its brand and new website. We went round and round with the pricing for copywriting on their new site. If it weren’t for the fact that I was referred to them by someone they respected, I’m not sure they would have hired a copywriter at all. They simply didn’t see the value in good writing or the need to pay for it. But in the end, Continue reading →
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In speaking with business owners, I find that they are often confused about the differences between a white paper or an e-book and which is the appropriate item to create and offer. Continue reading →
Pablo Picasso was sitting in a restaurant one day when a woman walked up and asked if he would draw her a sketch. He said OK, and jotted down a quick sketch. When the woman went to take the drawing, Picasso held back and said, “That will be $10,000.”
The woman was outraged. “How can you charge me $10,000 when it only took you five minutes!”
Picasso politely answered, “No ma’am. It took me 50 years.” Continue reading →