Often when a business reaches out to me, they’ve already talked to one or two other copywriters.
And these businesses are very confused.
They thought all copywriters were the same.
It was a shock to find out we’re all quite different.
Choosing the wrong copywriter can be catastrophic for a business. It can cause costly miscommunications, project delays and increased workload.
BUT. Choosing the right copywriter can be a business driver. It can improve your marketing results, take work off your plate and help you produce better content, faster.
For B2B businesses, it’s even more critical to find a good copywriter. Because 52% of B2B buyers look at 2-4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision.
Your B2B copy and content mean the difference between making the sale and losing it.
So how do you pick the right copywriter? How do you know they can do a great job for your B2B business?
Look out for these four things.
A Proven Track Record
Make sure your copywriter can do what you’re asking them to do.
If you are hiring someone to write your company’s blog, talk to them specifically about that during the initial consultation. Don’t just ask about their writing experience, ask them about their B2B blogging experience.
Every writer needs to start somewhere – but you don’t need to let them start with your project. Don’t hire a newbie (or a discount copywriter from Elance, for that matter) for something that impacts your business! Hire someone qualified for the job and you’ll see ROI quickly – whether that’s in dollars or saved time.
Many copywriters will have work samples on their website. But many won’t. I’m actually part of that latter group. Nearly all of my work is ghostwriting – in other words, I write it and the client puts their name on it – and I value my clients’ privacy. So I don’t post my work publicly on my website. I do have a testimonials page that is public, however.
No matter what, every copywriter should have work samples (a.k.a. clips) that they can send to you upon request. Some might even be willing to provide you with references.
BONUS POINTS: When the copywriter sends you work samples, it’s a good sign if some of the samples are related to your project and/or your industry. This makes it clear that they have the exact experience you’re looking for.
Ideally your copywriter should have some experience with your industry. Either writing for others in your industry, or writing for businesses that sell to your industry. In either case, they’ll have a foundation for understanding your business and your clientele.
That said, a good B2B copywriter can still do a great job if they just have tangential experience. For example, if you’re a financial management firm and the copywriter has experience writing for accountants or investment management companies. That copywriter can obviously write about numbers-based topics pretty successfully. They might be a good fit for you.
A big benefit of having industry experience is that the copywriter will speak your language. Every industry has their own terminology (and jargon!). It’ll save you time and frustration if you don’t have to explain it to your writer.
How quickly did the copywriter respond to you when you asked them for more information about their services, or requested a consultation?
How quickly did they send you those clips you asked for? Or the proposal they promised?
If you assigned them a paid test project, did they get it to you on or before the deadline?
Pay attention to these things when you are talking to a potential copywriting partner. If you hire an unresponsive B2B copywriter, you will not only end up extremely frustrated, but your own project timelines could be adversely affected. And time is money in business.
Sadly, responsiveness can be tricky to determine. Sometimes it’s not until you’re actually working with a copywriter that you get a sense for their reliability and communication. So set your expectations up-front.
Set your boundaries, too. If you won’t respond to emails on the weekend, don’t be afraid to say that to your writer.
Remember, though, that your responsiveness will determine much about your copywriter’s responsiveness. If you don’t send that information they requested in the timeframe they requested it, their timeline gets spoiled too. Responsiveness – and project success! – requires a two-way relationship.
Experience With Your Target Market
Experience with your target market is another “nice-to-have,” and it will be a HUGE boon to your business, but it is not required for a copywriter to do a great job for you.
A great B2B copywriter will spend the time to get to know the businesses you are selling to. If the writer happens to have worked with those types of businesses in the past, it gives them a huge leg up – and unique insight they can share with you.
Yes, in this way, sometimes your copywriter will also be your business coach. If they have experience with your target market, listen to what they have to say. You might learn something important (and game changing) about the buyers you are trying to sell to.
A copywriter with this experience will be able to more genuinely write copy and content that really speaks to and engages your buyers. This is exactly what you want! Your copy shouldn’t be about you, it should be about your buyer. The copy will ring so much truer when it comes from a place of experience, and not just research.
When you find a copywriter with this experience, hold on to them!
Every Copywriter Has a Unique Skill-Set
These are just a few ways you can identify a great B2B copywriter. I hope you’ll talk to a few of them before you decide on who you want to work with, because every writer is unique. We all have different expertise and experience.
And please, for the love of Pete, don’t just go for the cheapest option. Effective copywriting – writing that engages your audience and persuades them to buy from you – is not a commodity. You should budget for your copywriter the same way you budget for a new website. Both are your public-facing “shop windows,” and both are responsible for sharing your message with your target customers – very important jobs, and critical to your business’s success.
Have you had a poor experience with a copywriter? Or a great one? Tweet me at @horizonpeak — I’d love to hear about it (and help you through if you need it).
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