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October 23, 2009

The 6 Golden Rules When Hiring A Copywriter

For many people the prospect of writing a sales letter is a daunting one and can frighten even the bravest of entrepreneurs. If you don’t feel ready to tackle that task yourself then outsource it and hire a copywriter to do it for you.

There are 6 golden rules to follow when you are looking to hire a good copywriter so check these out and get answers from the person you are looking to hire.

Rule One – How Good Are They?

For many people the only way to get first class copy that pulls in order after order is to hire a talented copywriter.

Easy isn’t it? BUT… not everyone who decides to call themselves a copywriter is one! Copywriting is a specific skill that not all writers have and you want someone who can write a simple sales letter that has impact and will pull in sales for your product or service.

You need to know if they are earning a living from copywriting and if it is their full time job or just something they do to earn a bit extra on the side.

Rule Two – How Much Do They Charge?

The old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ has been around for years for a reason. When you are starting out it’s tempting to choose the lowest quote for a job, but I am sure you’ve heard the analogy for a £500 brain surgeon versus the £50,000 brain surgeon….who would you trust more?

An hourly rate is charged by some copywriters; this works to your disadvantage because what incentive have they to finish your job on time and on budget? Ask if they charge for revisions or not, and you also want to know exactly how many revisions are included in the price. Personally, I prefer to hire by the project and have a set number of revisions for free so that way I know exactly what my costs are going in.

Rule Three – Are They Dependable?

However good someone may be, if they are not dependable then you are going to be looking at trouble along the way. You usually hire a copywriter because it’s not a skill that you possess, or you have a deadline that you can’t meet by yourself.

I suggest caution if someone says they can accommodate last minute rush jobs. It sounds good, but what it means is that to do your job they will push someone else’s job to the back of the queue to get your business. The problem here is that the next time you hire them yours could be the job that goes to the end of the line.

When asking for references always include a question about how reliable they were on delivering on time.

Rule Four – Can They Work Long Distance?

Copywriters are available all over the world, from individuals working out of their home to huge teams contracted to an agency. If you are hiring a copywriter outside your own country, then make sure that they are fluent in your own language.

Many horror stories abound of people who hired ‘cheaper’ copywriters and then spent days correcting language, grammar and spelling. With the technology available today for live emails and video conferencing a professional copywriter can work with anyone, anywhere on the planet. Your ideal is someone who can work without constant supervision or ‘hand holding’ and is happy to have no face-to-face meetings.

Rule Five – Are They Easy To Work With?

They may be on the other side of the world, but your copywriter is going to be part of your team so they must be easy for you to work with. You are hiring them, so find someone you get along with. Not someone who doesn’t listen to your suggestions, refuses to take direction from you or is unwilling to compromise.

You are the client and they have to respect that, but in a good team the leader knows when to listen. They have an expertise you don’t so if they make suggestions to you listen, take on board what they are saying and ask questions.

If you still disagree then acknowledge their concerns (on paper or email) and explain why you want to go with your suggestions. Not only will things go more smoothly, but you get an opportunity to learn more about what makes a good copywriter and add to your own skills.

Rule Six – What Have They Done Before?

You ideally want to hire a copywriter with experience, but what kind of experience? It must be relevant to your market and your products. If they have written sales pages aimed at teenagers and your niche market is senior businessmen then it could work, but you are taking a risk.

So check them out and ask for samples of what they have done before and contact details for at least two references. You can also tell a lot about a freelance copywriter by the company they keep. Ask to see their client list, and notice how comfortable a fit it is with you and your business. Would you like to be associated with people or companies on their list?


By asking these questions and listening to the answers you are on your way to successfully hiring your first copywriter. Once you find someone who you are happy to work with AND who produces great work for you, stay with them and develop a long lasting relationship.

Neil Stafford – ‘Test drive’ the UK’s longest running PRINTED Internet Marketing Newsletter for FREE. Visit this special web page for more information: Internet Marketing Review Newsletter