Getting ready to hire a copywriter to focus on content so you’ll have more time to do what you do best? Answer these questions now, and save yourself a lot of time down the road.
Here are what your copywriter wants to know–whether he asks or not.
How much are you going to pay, and when?
Some writers get nervous about asking for these details, but you can bet it’s foremost on their mind. It’s important to be clear and upfront about compensation, and include specifics in your contract. Also, if there are other expenses incurred, will you foot the bill? And, do you have any resources available in-house that a freelancer can tap into?
What is your deadline?
“As soon as possible” doesn’t count–it’s difficult for a contractor to prioritize without an actual date. Allowing adequate time for the writing and editing process leads to higher quality work, and reduces the need for unnecessary revisions.
What will deliverables look like?
Some things to think about:
- Do you expect interviews, or are the pieces web-sourced?
- Do you have paperwork you’ll want them to peruse?
- Do you want your content to be new, or are evergreen posts preferable?
- What are your actual goals, both stated and unstated?
If there’s a specific kind of outcome you expect from your content, it should be clearly defined and measured. You should also give a content strategist the chance to manage expectations—it’s possible that your goals are unrealistic, or that the method you’re using won’t lead to those goals.
Do you expect images, or any other extras?
Don’t assume that the writer knows which add-ons you’re looking for, or that they’ll automatically deliver in those items. If you need images, or anything else above and beyond the material requested, ask in advance!
How about links?
Will writers be able to link to referenced sites? Are there any competitors they should avoid? And, if they interview thought leaders in your space, is it okay to throw in a backlink to that site? (Can the source pick the anchor text?)
How many revisions will there be?
Speaking of revisions, it’s best to determine how many times you might want a post rewritten. Does it have to go through multiple people? What if their feedback is contradictory? Sketching out a flowchart in advance can be helpful, not just for your freelancer, but also for you, in terms of determining deadlines and launch times.
Who will see drafts of posts, white papers, ebooks, or articles? Who will see ongoing correspondence via email?
Most people know that material will be printed out and shared during production meetings, but, cc:ing additional folks when providing critical feedback can sometimes come across as hostile. And, shared visibility–when not all people are aware of it–can sometimes make the users uncomfortable. Head this issue off by letting your copywriter know in advance that an email they send to a specific address will go out to an entire team, and that their work might be reviewed and commented on by random people who happened to receive a copy somewhere along the line.
Do you expect contractors to work nights and weekends?
Perhaps, it’s assumed around your startup or business that everyone will work every waking hour of the day (and then some). Most freelancers, though, operate on different schedules. If you expect someone to respond to your calls at dinnertime, your 9PM texts, or your revision requests at 1AM, you should make sure you’re on the same page in advance.
Will work be bylined?
Writers would want to know whether their work will have their name, someone else’s name, or no name at all. And if it doesn’t have their name, can they use the piece in their portfolio or mention that they wrote it on social media? Definitely, hash this out ahead of time.
How are they doing?
The best writers are open to feedback. If you’re satisfied with their work and would refer them to others, do let them know. Even if the relationship wasn’t as smooth as you’d like, it’s always helpful for them to know which areas of their work you did like, along with any criticism.
Answer all of these questions before you start a project, and you’ll be well ahead of the game–and spare yourself a lot of heartache in the process!