Whether you’re a one-person band, an SME or a corporate giant with a marketing department, you still need a copywriter on hand to help you with your content.
Your people are great; there’s no getting away from that. However, the chances of one of them being a superb copywriter who’s spent hours honing their craft with the ability to be chameleon-like in their approach to writing for all personas is unlikely.
That’s why working with a copywriter, on a freelance basis, will enrich your content.
Besides their writing skills and dashing good looks, your copywriter will also bring a valuable fresh pair of eyes to your projects, spotting new ways of selling to your audience.
17 ways a copywriter will help your business
Every business has an online presence and needs regular web content – either static pages or articles.
By interviewing your subject matter experts and researching your market, they’ll deliver fresh and original copy, 100% focused on your customer, and powerful enough to make them get in touch with you.
2. White papers and reports
Both are quite possibly the most boring pieces of content in the universe, but they don’t have to be.
Generally seen as free content, your white papers and reports still need to be engaging. Using a copywriter will reignite your previously dull approach by creating documents that are informative and engaging.
3. Press releases
Press releases are there to announce news. And I mean proper news that people want to know about.
Copywriters write loads of press releases, and, therefore know how to structure them. Written well and they could lead to loads of local press coverage, so it pays to get them done right.
4. Blogs and articles
A great copywriter will be able to ‘learn’ your personality and write great posts for you. Just don’t expect to pay peanuts for them. Well-researched and well-written posts will cost you.
Articles are a different ball game altogether. These take time and skill to craft into pieces that an external magazine or website is prepared to publish for you. They have to be informative rather than overtly promotional, which is challenging to balance. But again, a copywriter will have had plenty of experience in achieving that balance.
5. Landing pages
These are different from web pages because they generally deal with one product or service. People click through to these from an email or newsletter for more information about an offer.
They are more like long-form sales letters and require specialist skills to do right. Usually, taking on a narrative format, they lead the reader through, combating their fears as they go until they decide to buy, all rounded off with a strong call to action.
6. Product descriptions
Yes, these are descriptions, but you still can’t ignore the benefits.
Your readers want to know what they’re getting, but unless you show them why they can’t possibly live without it, they won’t buy.
7. Email and newsletters
Whether you’re looking to create an email marketing campaign, a template for sales enquiries, or a regular newsletter, they have to be written clearly, concisely and in a way that’s relevant to your readers.
Every communication you send out reflects your business. Get one wrong, and you can do untold damage to your reputation.
A copywriter will be able to work with you to develop a style that complements your business’s brand and values.
8. Internal communications
You shouldn’t be. It’s just as essential to communicate clearly with your people as it is with your customers.
Internal communications are vital if you want your people to reflect your brand’s personality and values and to sell new concepts to them.
Your brochure content should not be a rehash of what’s on your website.
This is another opportunity for you to convince potential customers that your company is for them. Again, it should be focused on the benefits you offer and not on your company.
Whether for your LinkedIn profile or your website, well-written bios give potential clients a real insight into who makes your business tick.
They provide a personal view of your company, something that in the digital age is all too often missing.
Your copywriter will help you develop a style that suits your brand.
You’ve probably considered creating a corporate video, podcast library or YouTube channel, but what about the script?
Videos are watched and listened to, which means the words are just as important as the visuals.
Ums and errs will are replaced by eloquent speeches that will inspire your audience.
12. Content re-purposing
What is re-purposing? Well, it’s the practice of taking old marketing materials and revitalising them for a different audience.
For example, creating blog posts from old white papers, or using the transcript of video presentations for spin-off articles.
It’s a great way of getting extra value for your valuable content.
13. SEO copywriting
SEO (search engine optimisation) is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a field that’s always changing. That’s why you need a copywriter who is up to date with the latest techniques to ensure your content is optimised, maximising your searchability.
14. Technical writing
Do you have to provide manuals for your staff or guides for customers?
Writing something that clearly explains a concept to someone else is very difficult. A copywriter will question everything (a lot of stuff you take for granted) to make sure nothing is assumed to create the clearest possible instructions for the reader.
This one is really useful for larger businesses that run corporate blogs.
Retaining your brand voice is difficult when you have multiple contributors, meaning that they often have to be revised before they can be published. Rather than putting this responsibility on the shoulders of one of your office juniors, why not send everything to your copywriter who can edit the blogs to suit your brand’s voice?
This will ensure consistency of style (very important) and will make sure you maintain a constant supply of content (i.e. they won’t get lost in the in-tray).
16. Direct mail
Yes, direct mail is still very much with us. Proven to have a higher open rate than email, it’s also very effective if you get it right.
A copywriter will have written lots of DM before and will understand the power of the storytelling technique of long-form copy. They will know how to craft compelling headlines that will grab attention and strong calls to action to get the reader to respond.
They may not require many words, but adverts take a lot of skill to create.
As any copywriter and they’ll tell you it’s harder to create short copy than long. Every word has to count, and you have to find the most succinct way of doing so possible.
Per project or retainer?
This one is going to depend on your business.
For some, finding a writer they can work with on individual projects works best because they can call them in as and when they need them. Of course, there are no guarantees that your favourite writer will be available, but planning and booking them in advance should get around that one – yes, good writers will get booked up.
The alternative for larger businesses (or smaller ones without a specific marketing department) is to hire a copywriter on a retainer basis to work with on a pre-agreed number of days per month. This way, they become an extension of their team, always on hand when they are needed.
How much should you pay?
Never an easy question to answer because you’re paying for experience so every writer will have their own pricing structure.
If you want my advice, never pay by the word because that’s like hiring a builder to build you a house and paying per brick. It’s impossible to set limits on the number of words you’re going to use because you need as many as it takes to get your message across.
Most writers will charge by the project. This will be a fixed fee that includes research, thinking time (yes, because if they don’t think they can’t write), creating of the initial draft, revisions (usually a set number), and submission of the final draft.
It won’t be cheap, but you’re hiring a professional so you shouldn’t expect to pay peanuts.
How do I know if I’ve hired a good writer?
Simply from the content they produce, but before you get that far check out their website and see with whom they’ve. Their portfolio will also show you the calibre of their work (remember it was written to satisfy each client’s specific instructions) and their testimonials will give a great insight in what they’re like to work with.
As a general rule, if their quote sounds cheap it probably is and you should ask questions about the quality of what they’ll produce.
If you’re not sure, give them a ring and ask them about their experience. A genuine writer will be happy to chat with you and more than willing to answer your questions.
Never underestimate the power of words
Not every business will need all of these services. Some companies don’t see the need to hire a professional and muddle through by themselves (unfortunately this often shows in their copy). Still, I urge you to look at your business and reconsider.
The power of words should never be underestimated. They can be the difference between making the sale and watching the potential client wander off to a competitor.
Over the years, I have worked with numerous small business and global giants, but they all have one thing in common – the need for great content that convinces their readers to buy.
Copywriting, just like design, insurance, HR and property is an investment; it will make your business stronger; it will make you stand out in your market place, and it will make your customers feel as though they are the centre of your universe. If you want to chat about how copywriting will help your business drop me a line– no selling I promise. All I want is for you to understand the power of great content and how it will boost your business’s potential.
Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd