10 killer tips for working with a copywriter
05 / 07 / 2017
Many estate agents today outsource their content creation, whether it is for their website, brochure, or ghostwriting of their blog posts. A good copywriter is a great asset to your company, and will be able to connect and engage with your clients.
As the client in this scenario, you want to aid their creative process and not hinder it, so make a note of my 10 killer tips for working with a copywriter.
We are not precious; we know that one style of writing may suit your business better than another. Chris Watkin and I are both writers for estate and letting agents, but where his style is more Financial Times, mine is more lifestyle.
Only today I was approached by a potential client whose needs I felt would be best met by Chris, so I connected them. If you know exactly the style you want, make sure you state it upfront and the writer will be able to advise you.
If you’re unsure what style you want or need, speak to a couple of writers to get some ideas and see who you connect with. If you feel they ‘get’ you, they are more than likely the writer for you.
2. What’s their niche?
My niche is working with estate and letting agents, and because I stick to this industry I am up to date on what is happening. I understand how changes affect you because my clients tell me, and my knowledge informs and enhances the content I create.
Not all copywriters have a niche, therefore it is important to make sure you are confident that they can create the type of content you desire. Have a look through their portfolio – have they worked with anyone in the property industry who you can contact?
I’m always happy to give the names and numbers of past and present clients to those who request them – I want to work with agents who want to work with me.
3. We’re not mind readers
Before starting to work with each client, I undertake a good amount of research to establish their tone of voice, and to build a concept for the project. All this takes time, and input from you; I can create the content you need, but my magical skills don’t extend to mindreading.
One of the documents I like my clients to complete is our ‘voice’ document. Many agents find it difficult, as it asks you to really think about your business and how you want to project it to the world.
They say a carpenter is only as good as his tools, so make sure that you give your copywriter all the tools they need.
4. We want to get under your skin
Show us who you are, your personality, your likes and dislikes. Don’t put on your posh phone voice or hide behind your professional persona. The most exciting content is produced when you can inject your unique personality into the mix.
One of my clients is a really strong character, although we haven’t been working together long, I know about him, his family, his social life. This is a powerful resource, especially when it comes to writing blog posts, as it is an open and ongoing source of great, personalised content.
You may find it hard to articulate exactly what it is you’re looking for, so grab some examples. Are there websites that you have seen where you liked the way the copy sounded, and you felt that there were similarities with your business? Have you read a blog post and thought the topic was just what your audience is looking for?
We love examples, but we are not ruled by them. We will soak in everything that we need, and translate it into something that truly reflects your agency.
6. Don’t ask us to steal
We treasure our craft, and we know how much time and energy will have gone into producing even a short blog post. Every piece of content I produce is bespoke to that client; I retain the copyright until payment has been made, at which point the ownership transfers to the client.
Just because something is on the web doesn’t make it free to use. I have been asked on numerous occasions to populate blogs with content I have produced for other clients.
Sorry, but no.
Do you think Google likes copied content?
7. Dedicate time
Your copywriter will give you an idea of the timescale within which they can deliver your content; bear in mind that this will need to fit into the rest of their schedule. Although you will be important to them, you won’t be their only client.
I find that major delays tend to happen when your feedback notes on each draft are as this has knock on effect on my schedule. The project should be a priority, otherwise it could lose momentum and you could find it stalling.
8. Honest feedback
My clients know that I will be completely honest with them, and I would rather a client tell me what they didn’t like than say the first draft of their website was spot on.
I see drafts as works in progress, I want to mould and shape the content with your input to produce a final version you’re incredibly proud of.
9. Central contact
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
It is important that all your key players have their say, but you also need one person as your central contact who is also responsible for making the final decisions.
There is nothing more frustrating that having one piece of feedback, editing accordingly, and then receiving several other comments from different people on the same paragraph. This wastes everybody’s time, as writers tend to have a limit of the number of revisions they will undertake before extra costs are incurred, you could also be bumping up your bill needlessly.
10. In the right order
If I had £1 for the number of times agents have approached me having finalised the design of their website, with their design company chasing them for content…
You might deem the design more important than the content, yet what will encourage your clients to buy? How your website functions, or the words that you use to highlight the benefits of working with you?
Anyway, just like designers need time to create and design your website, us writers also need time to do our creative thing. Sadly, we cannot magic fantastic bespoke content out of a hat in a matter of days.
Working with your designer as close to the start of the project as possible will ensure a uniform approach. Concept ideas can fly back and forth, and the final product will exceed your expectations.
Are you looking for a copywriter?
If you want to understand what is involved in outsourcing your content, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org