So. You’ve found a freelance copywriter in Leeds, you’ve hired him or her, and now you can’t wait to see those lovely new words splashed all over your website and marketing bumf.
Well, be patient; it’ll be worth the wait.
No one breathed down Tolstoy’s neck, screeching “are we nearly there yet?” while he scratched out ‘War and Peace’. And the same applies here. Copywriting is an art and, as such, it shouldn’t be rushed if you want the best results. It thrives with proper planning and ample deliberation.
That said, here are five things you can do to get your copywriting project off to a flying start (and make your tortured freelance copywriter’s working conditions a bit more tolerable).
1. Set aside time to review, approve and share feedback
Without doubt, the only thing that ever holds up projects is waiting around for people to review my work and approve it.
Usually it’s only a formality too. With nothing more than a light read and a quick nod of approval. But days, even weeks, can creep into a project if you can’t spare under an hour sharing your thoughts on your new copy.
My suggestion? Just earmark an hour in your calendar at the time when your freelance copywriter promises to have a first draft ready. If they’re anything like me they’ll keep their word (to the minute) and it’ll be time well spent hurrying your copywriting project along.
2. Gather inspiration
Inspiration takes many forms in marketing copy: from the websites of your rivals to the literature of folk in completely unrelated industries that you just like the sound of. There are no rules to inspiration. It could even be a full-spread ad in one of those disgraceful tat-papers you find strewn on the floors of trains and buses.
Remember, we’re on the lookout for the good and the bad when we’re devising your copy. What you don’t like is as important as what you do like when it comes to copywriting. The more opinion you can share with your copywriter, the closer you’ll get to your vision of what the end product should look like.
Perhaps you’ve read a good book recently with which you deeply connected? Let’s look at why that happened. Was it the tone of voice it used? Maybe it was the vivid verbal imagery?
And any medium goes – TV, radio, film. If something influenced you, bring it along to your early meetings with a freelance copywriter.
3. Have the facts ready
A gentle peppering of facts is how freelance copywriters add authority to copy. We use information to construct convincing arguments, and encourage readers to make informed choices.
When your copywriter sits down to write, having these facts at their fingertips means fewer interruptions to the writing process (a delicate process at the best of times). It also reduces the number of frantic, pestering phone calls from distraught freelance copywriters, or expensive, yet productive finger-twiddling while we await your retrievals from the archive.
Facts aren’t just statistics, by the way. They can be any reflection of reality; from product data to the story behind why your great great grandfather founded the company in his backyard midden. They lurk in business plans, flyers, brochures, presentations, sales pitches/tenders, and industry magazines.
I’m the kind of freelance copywriter who’s unafraid of complexity and reams of information. The more, the better I say. So fling the facts our way, whatever state they’re in.
4. Find representative readers
This would be my luxury item if I were on freelance copywriters’ desert island discs. By this I mean a client, customer, user or some other real human who speaks for the majority of people who influence the successful outcome of your project.
As a method copywriter, I’m all about the reader. They’re the people we must connect with and whom we need to know the most about. So why second-guess what they need and what they’re thinking?
Simply drop a representative in front of me and they’ll put us on a shortcut to victory.
5. Buy some cake
Carrot with a creamed icing ideally, although a lemon drizzle would suffice.
OK, I’m joking, but you do want to endear yourself to your new prima donna freelance copywriter, don’t you?