10 Tips for Working with a Great Web Copy Writer

4 Apr

In this global economy, the smartest investment a small business owner will ever make is a professional website. Not only can a website become a central point from which to market products and services, but it can be an excellent way to convey a message to the rest of the world. A well designed website can also be an effective resource that will provide value and dimension to your company. In other words, what your website tells others about you initially will leave a lasting impression on anyone searching for your particular offering(s).

Your new website should be able to do two things and do them well. It should clearly state that “Hey, I’m here to serve your needs!” and “This is what makes me better than other companies!” 

Without these two critical things, a website will fail – no matter how much you pay someone to design it for you or how much time you spend on it. If you are struggling to come up with a clear message, no one can help you better than a professional web copy writer!

So how can you be sure to find the best web copy writer to handle the job correctly the first time? Here are some helpful tips for working with a great web copy writer for your new website:

1. Know your expectations before searching for a web copy writer. Before you start placing ads for a writer, consider what your actual needs will be. Do you have a website that’s ready for content? Is there a specific time frame you have for the web copy to be completed? What are your ideas in terms of budget for the writing project? Make sure you have all these questions answered in advance so you can find a copy writer who can handle your writing project with ease. Failure to provide full disclosure can have disastrous results.

2. Review multiple portfolios of web copy writers in your market. This is a mistake that far too many business owners make when beginning a search for a web copy writer. Think about it. Would you hire someone off the street to fix your expensive foreign car if that person had only worked on American vehicles? No, of course not. You would find someone who had experience in your specific market. Likewise with web copy writers. Look for those who have experience writing in your market, industry or business focus. Their expertise will come across in your web copy, making you sound more authorative.

3. Evaluate the performance of previous web copy projects. As you search through the online portfolio of the web copy writers you are considering for the job, take a look at how well the websites come up in the search engines. You can do this easily by typing in the keywords highlighted on the website or the keywords you would search for to find each particular business. You may also contact the webmaster for each website and ask how well the websites are performing. The goal of your website is to rank well on the first page of the search engine results, so choose writers who consistently provide SEO friendly copy and results you can actually see.

4. Read client testimonials / ask for references. Any good web copy writer worth his or her salt will be able to produce actual client testimonials as to the quality of work. These testimonials are generally found on the web copy writer’s website or social media pages (like LinkedIn). You should also feel free to ask for client references as to the validity of these testimonials if you are unsure of things. Remember, this is your project and you want the very best professional for the job.

5. Have a reasonable budget in mind. The old rule of “you get what you pay for” definitely applies when searching for a great web copy writer. Cheap is never better. In fact, if you want cheap you can hire someone who doesn’t speak your language, doesn’t care about quality and cares nothing about your business or it’s success online. If you want website copy that outperforms your competitors, hire a web copy writer who charges accordingly. Have a realistic budget in mind when hiring a copy writer, which can range on average from $200-600 per website.

6. Look for versatility in a web copy writer. When you are hiring a web copy writer to complete the most important aspects of your online marketing project, consider a writer who is versatile. Afterall, once the website is completed, you will no doubt want to promote it through a wide range of marketing medium. A good web copy writer should also offer other writing services such as press releases, print marketing, social media marketing and more. You will want to keep this person around for future jobs!

7.  Get it in writing. Once you have found the right copy writer for the job, ask about getting a contract. In this day and age, just because you have a nice telephone conversation doesn’t mean you will get what you paid for. A web copy writer who is a true professional will be glad to send a contract for services and get everything in writing before taking on a job or accepting payment. Make sure all terms are clear and your content will be 100% original and owned by you. Failure to do this, and you can risk more than just money.

8. Communicate often with your web copy writer. The key to any working relationship is to communicate on a frequent basis. So too, it is important to talk with your copy writer on a regular basis. Make an ongoing effort to gently ask for updates on the project and be available and responsive when your copy writer has a question or needs more information. Give a phone number where your writer can call you. Set up a weekly telephone meeting to discuss the project and assign someone to be the central point of contact at your company.

9. Provide full company information. Be sure to send your copy writer all the background information on your company that you can. This includes your company location, founding date, leaders, mission statement, goals, target customers and products. Never assume that your web copy writer will know all this information or be able to find it. Remember that it’s always better to give too much information to your writer than not enough.

10. Treat your web copy writer right!  Your web copy writer can be your best source of help and information in terms of marketing and advertising. Many of the better copy writers have worked with prominent clients and web marketing professionals and they have learned a lot along the way. Treat your copy writer well by giving prompt feedback, sending payments in on time and offering to give a testimonial or referals. Your web copy writer will most likely bend over backwards to give you the very best service this time and every time if you follow these tips.

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About the Author: Tess C. Taylor is a web copy writer and owner of Taylor Resources Writing. She has written for well over 5 years now and her client list includes many small businesses and large media firms like Yahoo & US News. You can find out more at www.TRWRITING.com

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2 Responses to “10 Tips for Working with a Great Web Copy Writer”

  1. Sandy Meier April 7, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    Tess, This is extremely valuable advice. As a website developer, I can attest to the value of well written website copy. People are often under the impression that keywords stuffed in a META tag for SEO compensate for poorly written website copy. Nothing compensates for poorly written copy–not even a stunning website design. Great work!

    Sandy Meier

    • admin April 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Sandy! The combination of a professionally designed website with great copy can achieve much more than any of those “SEO tricks” people try to use to get around the search engines. – Tess

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