In my seven years as a content writer/copy writer/web creator, I’ve had some terrific clients and client relationships. And then there are those that have made me want to head for the hills screaming. Working with bad clients is part of the small business game sometimes.
Been burned before? So have we. Any freelance copywriter can tell you horror stories about clients, and I’m sure you’ve had the same with outsourced providers. From missed deadlines to messaging that completely missed the mark, it happens. And when it happens it makes you want to rethink outsourcing and magically find the budget to hire in-house.
I’m here to save you that expense.
Here’s how to find a great SEO copywriter, content marketing coordinator or web content creator that is right for your copy project.
Understand What You Need
Going into the outsourcing process without doing your research is a bit like diving into an open body of water. If you do, you could end up in pretty bad shape. Let me tell you – I’m much more likely to spend time and energy with a client who knows her needs than someone who sends and email that says “My SEO says I need some copy on the site – can you help?”
When you don’t understand the whys of content and copy, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Content can help you meet your overall business goals in a number of different ways. Spending a little time on Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs or here at SEO Copywriting will help you define exactly what you need and help your copywriter hit the ground running.
Define Your Budget
If you walk into a project trying to get the lowest price possible, you’re going to be hiring some pretty unprofessional writers. The truth is you’re more likely to find someone you can trust and rely on if you can pay a professional rate. How do you find out what you should be paying? Get a number of different quotes from writers to see where the average falls. It’s not scientific but it should give you a ballpark of what you should be paying.
Know Their Process Before You Start
Preparation is the key to a great contractor-copywriter relationship. Effective online writers have a process that they follow to ensure that what they produce helps you achieve your goals and works in with your overall digital marketing efforts. Ask about their process before you start. If they don’t have one, move on.
Talk on the Phone
I’m an introvert by nature and a tech-head, so email is my best friend. But I always get on the phone for new and continuing clients. At the start of the proposal process, it’s important to have a phone conversation or meet in person. Talking on the phone with your potential copywriter or content writing provider can help you ask important questions that will calm your fears about outsourcing. It’s well worth the time.
Understand that First Drafts Suck Sometimes
One of my worst experiences early on in my career was with a client who was clearly not familiar with how copywriting works (and to be truthful, I had done a terrible job at preparing him). I delivered the first draft of several pages of web copy only to have them thrown back as a “waste of money” and a demand for a refund. I was literally in tears.
Copywriting and content creation are creative processes (hence the “creation” part). Expecting a copywriter to come on board, instantly start understanding your brand’s voice and your product is a fantasy. It takes time. It takes edits. But it will get there. I always warn new blogging clients that the first month of posts are going to need some input from them and that we want to get the style and approach just right.
Look for Ways to Continue Work Together
Trust grows the more you work together, so if you’re happy with a copywriter’s first project, look for new ways to work together. Most copywriters offer a little bit of everything from web copy to white papers to blog posts. Not all do, but it’s worth asking about. Why not leverage the time and energy the copywriter has put into learning about your business and create something new together?
Have you learned to stop worrying and love your copywriter? Or if you’re a copywriter, how do you make sure clients can trust you before you start?
photo thanks to steve_case
About the Author ~ Courtney Ramirez
Courtney Ramirez is a proud graduate of the SuccessWorks’ SEO Copywriting Certification training program, and CEO of Six Degrees Content. She is obsessed with helping clients stand out from the competition with smart content marketing. You can connect with Courtney at her brand’s Google Plus page, Facebook, LinkedIn, and on Twitter @CourtneyRami.
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