Before You Hire a Copywriter, Ask These 7 Questions
When outsourcing work to any type of consultant, you’ll likely have some questions for the candidates to ensure you’re choosing the right one with the proper background, training, and expertise. Take the same approach when you hire a copywriter.
Copywriters come in all different shapes, sizes, levels of experience, ability, and enthusiasm. So, don’t assume all of us are created equal. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the process of working with a copywriting consultant, it can be tricky to determine what exactly you should be asking in the first place.
Regardless of where you’ve found a copywriter candidate you’re considering outsourcing work to or hiring, there are some standard questions you should be asking regardless.
Let’s cut to the chase and dive right in. Here are seven questions you should absolutely be asking before you hire a copywriter:
1. Do you have a portfolio or writing samples I can check out?
One of the first questions to ask a copywriter you may be considering for a project should be requesting to take a look at previous writing samples.
Aside from blatant errors in the text, you’ll want to consider a few things when looking at a writer’s portfolio. Take some time to read through what the writer provides and ask yourself a few questions as you review the content:
- Does the content keep my attention?
- Does it achieve its goal?
- Is there a sample of the kind of content I need (blogs, website copy, sales copy, etc.)? Does it align with the level of quality I’m looking for in my own project?
2. How does your process work?
If you’re feeling good about potentially working together after taking a look at some of the copywriter’s previous work samples, ask her or him to walk you through her/his process.
Getting a better idea of a copywriter’s process will give you a glimpse at how in-depth each phase of their work goes, such as research, planning, collaboration, etc.
This will also give you a better general idea of how long every step should take and will let you know what to prepare for and expect throughout the project.
Follow-up questions: As a follow-up to this question, ask if one or more rounds of edits are included in the process for the quoted price. Also, consider asking for more specifics about phases of the process (example: “how do you conduct research?”).
3. Are you comfortable writing copy for my industry/niche?
Many copywriters specialize in a specific industry or niche. After taking a look at her/his portfolio, you should be able to get an idea of the type of work they’re used to doing. However, if it doesn’t look like they’ve worked within your industry before, ask to make sure they’re comfortable doing so.
If the copywriter hasn’t “niched down,” consider asking if there’s a specific industry or niche she/he prefers to write for. This will give you an idea if her/his preferences align with your project.
If she/he doesn’t have a preference and acts like this is just another project…it probably is. She/he can probably still do good work, but a writer who’s passionate about the project will be more likely to go above and beyond🤷.
4. Do you feel comfortable and confident writing for my specific audience?
Similar to the last question, if the copywriter you’re considering hasn’t written for your specific audience before, you’ll want to ensure she or he is up for the challenge.
For instance, if she/he is used to writing for an educated older male audience and you want blogs targeting teen girls, the copywriter will have to take a totally different approach to the project.
Let the candidate know who your project is specifically geared toward and give details about the type of person the work needs to connect with in order to be a success.
5. What kind of info do you need from me to do the best job?
Before diving into the work, the copywriter you hire should have some questions for you as well. At the very least, a good copywriter will want to know about your goals, any info about your current copy, insight into your business, your brand voice, keywords, market, strengths, etc.
Personally, I send out a “project questionnaire” to all new clients to get the deets on their needs upfront so everything is clear from the get-go. If a copywriter isn’t asking many questions and doesn’t seem to have an excellent grasp on your needs and goals, that’s a sign the work will end up being sub-par at best.
6. Do you have any advice on how to best approach this project?
A great copywriter will listen to your needs, ask questions and get follow up details, and then likely propose some ideas of her/his own.
You’re hiring this person for a reason—they’re the expert. So, you can likely benefit from asking for their opinion on how to approach the project.
This is where a copywriter’s creativity and brilliant ideas should shine since the best copywriters will bring new ideas to the table based on their expertise.
7. Can you meet my deadline?
Don’t automatically assume anyone you outsource work to can meet any deadline…especially if you forget to mention it to them from the start (yikes!).
Before you hire a copywriter, make sure she/he can meet any hard deadlines you may have. If not, you might need to reconsider your options and find someone who can get the work done by your desired date (if at all possible).
How a candidate answers these questions should not only help you decide if you want to move forward with her/him, but this will also give you a better idea of what to realistically expect if you do decide to work together.