What to Consider When Hiring a Copywriter

It can be difficult to hire a copywriter, but as an agency that provides copywriting services, we’re working to make that process as simple as possible. Over the years, a lot of companies have hired us to write their copy – from small mom-and-pop companies to large international brands. Copywriting is how we got started, and developing good processes and finding the right writer/subject fit has been crucial to it remaining a specialty.

Over the years we’ve learned a few things about what works, and what doesn’t with content writing services. In this guide, we hope you’ll learn how to find the right copywriter for your current project and any content marketing plan.

First thing’s first,

Determine What Type of Copywriting is Needed

Copywriting is a broad term that encompasses a number of specialties and skills. Every copywriter brings new abilities to the table, which may include:

  • Marketing materials such as brochures and leaflets
  • Broadcast, digital, and print advertising
  • Writing as part of an online content strategy
  • Search engine optimization
  • Public relations
  • B2B and B2C marketing

Some copywriters focus on one industry, while others have a broader skill set. An agency will often have access to multiple writers to cover a myriad of industries, target audiences and writing styles.  

What are the goals of the pieces you need written? Who’s the audience? How technical is the subject? Does it need to be written in a professional or casual style? These are all questions you should ask and answer before hiring a professional copywriter.

Consider the Writer’s Experience

It may seem that an experienced copywriter would provide better service. While this is generally true, additional experience often brings higher prices. A seasoned professional who has written for top agencies and major brands doesn’t come cheap. Subject matter experts, or copywriters capable of writing legal or medical content will always be more of an investment.

If your company is on a budget, you should ask how much copywriting experience you need and how much you’re willing to pay for.  

When a copywriter has experience, it can mean they’ve optimized their process. Having a good, effective process is worth paying for and great if you’ve never worked with a copywriter before and not sure what to expect.

Read Previous Work and Previous Clients’ Feedback

Many of today’s copywriters feature past clients’ testimonials on their websites and marketing materials. If a company owner is serious about hiring a copywriter, ask to talk to some past clients in similar industries. Verifying references and recommendations can give you a sense of the copywriter’s strengths and weaknesses.

Also, it’s common to request writing samples when hiring a copywriter. They should be ready with relevant samples to show you. It’s also important to ask AND verify where their samples are actually published. If a copywriter gives you a writing sample, but can’t give you any publication sites, that might be a red flag.

What to Expect When Working With Copywriters

Copywriters have varying fee structures, with some charging an hourly or daily rate while others have a per-job or per-word charge. Some will require a down payment up front and the rest upon completion. Some copywriting services will offer monthly packages. Most writers allow clients to propose prices, which is a great benefit if you’re budget conscious. At Swell, We have prices for different tiers of content – simple  to complex – as well as word count. Which basically means the more complicated the subject, and more words the client needs to explain it, the more the content will cost. Pretty simple.

If the copywriter is good, they’ll explain their processes and describe exactly what you can expect from their process. But if they don’t – Ask about how many revisions you are allowed. Ask about the project timeline. Timelines should be efficient and revisions request should be turned around quickly.

You should expect to have an in-person or telephone interview that allows the writer or content director to get a sense of the work and its themes. Pay attention to how engaged they are with the subject during this meeting. Are they using industry specific terminology? Demonstration of a good industry vocabulary is indicative of the copywriter understanding the subject. If they get excited about the topic, or have impressive ideas on how to present it – this is probably a good chance the copywriter will be passionate about the piece. By the end of this meeting, the copywriter should have clarified their fee structure and what they expect from you in return for their services. Don’t end this meeting without getting clarity on this. They might want to review the note they’ve collected and give you a fixed bid and timeline from there. This is common.

Summary

Hiring the right copywriter is an important step in reaching the target audience and optimizing content for the search engines. But there are many things to consider when choosing the right copywriting service for your content.

Reach out today or visit our website to learn more about our professional copywriting services.

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8 Tips for Effective Website Redesign from an SEO Agency

8 Tips for Effective Website Redesign

A lot can go wrong during a Website Redesign. From traffic losses to negative audience feedback, any issue can adversely affect important metrics. To prevent the biggest problems, you can follow these tips on redesigning your website with SEO in mind.

Use Descriptive Links

Marketers and designers everywhere understand the importance of CTAs or calls to action. A good CTA tells the search engines which site content is most important. Try to provide a context in CTAs. For instance, a link that says “Find out more about our web design services” is more descriptive than one that simply says “Learn More.”

Reduce Overall Link Numbers

Descriptive links are important, but the overall number of links matters as well. Every link on a web page reduces the link equity that can be used on important pages. However, the problem can be mitigated when designers avoid over-linking to pages with little SEO value.

Use PDFs Wisely

Google and the other search engines are reluctant to send visitors straight to PDF pages. This can be detrimental to PDF content, as it’s a common format for detailed information like specifications, research, and whitepapers (which the search engines love). While it’s okay to have content in PDF format for effortless offline consumption, integrating it into a page can greatly expand a site’s new content footprint.

Moreover, if others link to the page rather than bypass it and link straight to the PDF content, owners can improve the site’s link ranking. If a Website Redesign involves using a PDF file as a lead generator, which is quite common on sites selling services and software, consider integrating content samples into the body of the page. This not only benefits the search engines, it helps potential customers determine whether they want to offer their contact info to download the remainder of the content.

Check Analytics Thoroughly

A redesign often entails a shift in information architecture and content strategy. Before revising a site’s navigation, review its analytics. A long-forgotten page may be working as a landing page and thereby generating valuable free, organic traffic. Such pages should retain a sitemap presence so the search engines can keep indexing them. During the analytics check, the site owner or designer should re-evaluate the site’s goals. Some pages do more than just generating traffic; they drive real results for the business. If this is the case, the page should be elevated rather than simply retained.

Be Careful With Subdomains

While IT departments often make domain decisions, there are SEO and marketing factors to consider as well. Google and the other search engines consider subdomains as independent domains and, as such, they have little initial SEO equity. If a site owner is considering adding a content-rich platform such as a forum or blog, they should add it in the form of a primary domain subfolder. This strategy can help the primary domain gather the SEO equity.

Be More Responsive

Every web designer or marketer knows the world is increasingly mobile, but many fail to realize a site’s level of mobile friendliness is an important SEO factor. Google’s approach is known as responsive web design. Responsive websites adapt to a user’s viewport size so they get the same experience on a smartphone as they do on a conventional computer monitor. If a site owner is considering this approach, responsive design can give customers a good experience while satisfying Google’s requirements.

Use Webmaster Tools

It may seem counterintuitive to resolve a site’s current SEO issues before undergoing a redesign, but the sooner the site gets on firm footing with the search engines, the better off it will be. Install Google’s Webmaster Tools (or Bing’s counterpart) to determine how well the site is indexed by the search engine. If major errors are found, they should be fixed immediately. The best time to act is now, especially with SEO. Search engine optimization can take a significant amount of time, and site owners should start the countdown as soon as possible.

Give Thought to Content Creation

While it may be tempting to give a copywriter full creative control, it may not always be the best idea. It’s important to carefully choose phrasing and words, especially when trying to encourage people to find a business. If the site’s promo copy doesn’t match customers’ views of the company’s products and services, it may not attract the search engines’ attention, and the site’s reach could be limited.

Final Thoughts

Website renovations can be difficult, but they’re also worthwhile. It would be disingenuous to suggest the considerations listed here are the only SEO things to consider when redesigning your website, as there are many others to think of as well. Matters are further complicated by the ever-changing SEO landscape, but a digital marketing agency can provide advice, suggestions, and direction.

Have more questions? Schedule a Free Consultation with us!