What qualities do you look for in a copywriter?
Someone who can name every word class and give you a detailed technical description of every sentence they write?
Someone who understands the technicalities of your business and can write using your industry jargon correctly?
Someone who only writes for your particular industry?
If one of those looks right to you, you’re wrong. None of those qualities should sway your decision about which copywriter to use, and here’s why.
Language should be played with
I come the generation that wasn’t explicitly taught grammar at school. Does that make me a bad writer? No.
On the contrary, it makes me the type of writer who can freely manipulate language to create the powerful content you need to grab the attention of your audience.
I can’t list all the grammatical elements in a sentence, but I know how to combine words to create sentences that stop people in their tracks.
In other words, I don’t write wearing a grammatical straight jacket.
Jargon should be confined to the office
A piece of writing crammed to the rafters with your in-house jargon may sound superb to you, but to your audience it’s pure ego-massaging mumbo jumbo.
Every piece of marketing material you produce must be aimed at the reader, written in simple English that they will understand and can relate to.
As soon as you start padding it out with jargon and buzzwords, you lose the respect, trust and attention of your audience.
You shouldn’t write with blinkers on
One question I am often asked by potential clients is what experience do I have in their industry.
That is completely irrelevant.
My job is to write clearly and concisely for a specific audience, therefore I don’t need to know your industry inside out and back to front.
What I do need to know about is the personality of your business, what you do, who you do it for, why they need it, how you make their lives better, and what you’re looking to achieve.
If you use a writer that only writes for your industry, the chances are they would have exhausted every approach and will deliver content that is tired and that blends in with all the collateral produced by your competitors.
What you need is a fresh pair of eyes; someone who is not afraid to do something different.
So what is the most important quality a copywriter has?
The answer is simple – emotional intelligence.
Because someone with high levels of emotional intelligence is someone who:
- Can handle pressure – making them better able to cope with tight deadlines and the whole writing process (yes, it can be very stressful)
- Can cooperate with others – although your copywriter will work alone, they must be able to blend with your marketing team and manage the project effectively
- Is a good listener – other than writing, the other main attribute a copywriter must have is being a good listener. It’s only through intelligent listening that they can gather the information needed to create great copy
- Is open to feedback – a good copywriter doesn’t get offended by your constructive feedback. Instead they work with you to refine the copy until it reaches perfection
- Can show empathy – a copywriter has to create content that will resonate with an unseen audience, therefore they must have the ability to empathise with them and understand what it is about your product/service that will make their life better
- Shows thoughtfulness – your writer can see beyond the words on a page and understands how they will affect your audience. They understand the reactions their words will have
A seasoned copywriter will have emotional intelligence. They will be able to work effectively with your team while offering insight and direction to make sure your project is a success.
Don’t ignore their ideas, however uncomfortable they make you feel. Instead listen to them and consider other options, they may come up with something that will make you stand out and get you noticed.
Emotional intelligence is by far the most important quality your copywriter can have.