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How to Hire a Great Copywriter? Learn To Evaluate Their Skills

9 December 2014 Dmitriy Dementiy
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According to Content Marketing Institute, demand for copywriting services increased by 320%. Wherein, 32% of companies faced the problem of searching qualified specialists. One the main reasons of it is that owners and marketers of online projects lack competence in evaluating web-writers’ skills. Read this post to find out how to do it.

Joaquin Phoenix’s character in “Her” movie is a great copywriter. How to find someone like him?

Pay attention to the fact that we are going to speak about evaluating copywriter’s skills by their copies. These could be portfolio copies or trial assignments. We don’t explain how to understand if they are a good person. We are sure that you can study resumes, recommendations and get an idea of a copywriter’s personality by yourself.

Imagine that during a phone call or private meeting a copywriter makes a good impression on you. So, now you are looking at their copies. What should you pay attention to?

1. Scan a copy before reading it

Look at the screenshot below. You don’t have to read the whole post to understand that it’s probably a nice read.

While next post was likely written by an amateur.

If copywriter provides you with a doc like this – they are not a good fit

You see the difference. You can spot a nice copy without even reading it. It’s well structured: it has a headline, subheadings, bulleted and numbered lists, and paragraphs. If you also see images with captions, diagrams and graphs, then you’ve found an expert, for sure.

Of course, a copy’s structure doesn’t always show an author’s experience. Perhaps, it was an editor who worked with the material. It would be great to look at the original copy sent to the editor.

Perhaps, an amateur copywriter crafted a very poor, but well-structured copy. You’ll understand it after reading the whole post.

However, poor formatting is almost always a red flag showing that this copy requires additional attention. Perhaps, you read an MD’s article about self-diagnosis of a severe disease, written between surgery operations. An editor will turn this rock into diamond. Or, perhaps, it’s just a bad copywriter with a useless bunch of words.

2. See if they are great at grammar

It’s obvious that a copywriter should write correctly. It’s a very important requirement for projects without a budget for editors and proofreaders. However, don’t make a hasty decision if you happen to notice an excess comma or even an obvious mistake.

It’s ok for copywriters to make mistakes. All professional authors make mistakes from time to time: even famous journalists and writers. It’s not ok when there are too many mistakes. It’s not ok when there’s no editor to fix them. It’z bed wen you sea thet the aufor makes obvius mistakes beecoz he waz playing the wag dureeng his study and haven’t eva red a singl book.

Good luck. You are going to have a bad time

It’s impossible to find someone who doesn’t make mistakes, but you have to find a specialist who writes correctly and have some skills in proofreading and editing.

3. See if they understand a topic

Do you remember the example with the MD who wrote a very helpful but still badly structured post on self-diagnosis? You can forgive him almost everything: poor structure, bad formatting and even spelling and grammar mistakes. Why? That’s because his article provides a great value: he is the only one in the whole world who knows how people can suspect and pre-diagnose this severe disease.

You need a copywriter who is able to deep dive into unknown spheres and write expert copies. While browsing through writer’s portfolio, try to find a post on your industry. It gives you a great chance to understand their skills. If a copywriter has never faced your industry, but you want to cooperate, then you’ll have to risk.

Here’s a short checklist for you:

  • Ask them to write several copies
  • See if the copies are good
  • Ask them to write some more copies on the same topic
  • See a copywriter’s expertise got better. Watch you audience’s reaction. You’ll understand easily if a new author understands a new sphere, and if he is able to learn and research.
It seems that an author understands a topic

4. See if they write crystal clear

It means whether a copywriter knows how to compose his thoughts clearly and logically, use intonations, work with emotions and offer rational arguments. Read their copies and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you like this copy?
  • Did a copywriter manage to catch audience’s attention?
  • Would you like to read one more post by this author, leave a comment or share it?
  • Did you believe facts in a copy (if any)?
  • Was this copy too emotional or too phlegmatic?

We don’t doubt the quality of your engine valves but don’t hire an author who writes, “Our valves are so great, they were appreciated so many times by the most prestigious jury”. You should also say goodbye to anybody who writes, “Our socks are the part of a women’s wardrobe, they are made of 100% nylon and are able to complete all the aesthetic and hygienic tasks”. You must understand that lingerie can be described more emotional, while valves’ description should be more rational.

This copy is great to describe lingerie, but why do we see such copies describing constructional equipment, household appliances, and software so often?

5. Check whether a copywriter knows how to write commercial copies

It’s a very controversial point. Every audience and goods are in need of specific commercial copies. For example, if you sell remote server administration software or apartment repairing, then a plain informative post will be the best commercial copy. If you sell online courses on the magic loss of weight and money, then you’ll need an aggressive emotional copy implying an immediate response. And if you sell lingerie, cosmetics, jewelry or bijouterie, then you’ll need an ordinary commercial copy: reasonably emotional, persuading, informative, and calling to action.

You don’t want to hire a copywriter who sells water heaters with overly emotional copies with exclamation marks and “Buy” buttons stuffed everywhere. You won’t get a required result if a copywriter doesn’t know how to actualize needs of potential customers, stress product’s benefits out, explain profits, provide customers with a choice, and place a proper call to action.

The example of a good commercial copy. It sells viewing a video

6. Find out if a copywriter has a basic knowledge of internet marketing

If you liked copies and decided to hire an author then ask them the following questions:

  • Does a copywriter have a basic knowledge of search engine marketing? It’s great if a copywriter is familiar with functions of Google Search Console and knows how to work with Google Analytics. It’s awesome if a copywriter is familiar with search engines’ requirements for sites, and with the principles of ranking.
  • Is a copywriter familiar with SMM? You are lucky if your applicant has “pumped up” pages on popular social media. It’s great if a specialist takes part in professional discussions, knows how to attract attention, and how to defend their point of view with reasonable arguments.
  • Whether your copywriter is able to create visual content? It’s awesome if they know how to design images, use infographic tools, and make presentations.
  • Does your copywriter know anything about sales? The experience in a sales business helps when writing commercial copies.
By the way, do you think you’re a tough internet marketing guy? Take our quiz to find out!

Where can you find a professional copywriter?

You’ll be surprised but there are a lot of good copywriters in the world of internet marketing. You just have to know how to test their skills. Of course, there are always some situations where you’ll have to entrust responsible work to amateurs. Therefore, you will quickly realize whether you made a right choice or not.

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Автор: Dmitriy Dementiy

Copyrighter at Texterra online marketing agency. He writes articles, searches for interesting information and offers practical ways to use it. Dmitriy believes that with help of top quality online marketing buyers find sellers, not vice versa. Do you agree? Then send him a friendship request on Facebook.

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