In this extensive treatise on everything you need to know to hire an effective copywriter and why you need one, I’ll be reviewing the following key points:
- What is a copywriter
- How copywriters do what they do
- What qualifications matter the most when choosing a copywriter
- How best to utilize a copywriter in your team
- When copywriters double as content writers
- Why copywriters should be able to explain themselves to you/their clients
- The ways you can go about paying a copywriter
- When to fire a copywriter
- Unique skills to consider
What Is A Copywriter?
A copywriter is one who writes specifically to evoke the action of an audience—whether that action would be to buy something, join something, click on, like, or follow a social media page, vote, etc. In this modern era of the information age, copywriters are the key players that catch attention, drive Internet traffic, and thus sales for businesses in any market imaginable, making them one of the most valuable darlings of any marketing effort, or team. The new generation of copywriters can be used for not only writing sales copy, but content of any form for your company—whether it be for continual posts on your social media accounts, to linkable assets like blog articles that fill your website with content that engages your audience while taking a huge load off of your shoulders for whatever you can think of.
How Copywriters Do What They Do
It takes a lot of skill to be a professional copywriter; it, believe it or not, requires one to have knowledge of psychology, and even neuroscience. Copywriting in itself is a discipline that can take years, if not an entire lifetime to master, if ever completely at all—for we’re learning new things about how the human mind and brain works every day; therefore, the copywriter’s journey of mastery never actually ends. A marketing campaign could have always been written a little better, a little cleverer, more succinctly, or creatively. Nothing’s ever truly good enough in the eyes of a copywriter who’s passionate about their craft—nor should it be. Copywriting requires the same amount of mental effort, daily practice, and training as martial arts; thus, there is always a higher level to be reached.
Demonstrable basic knowledge of psychology and neuroscience should be a staple for any copywriter that you’re looking to hire, because the entire process of what makes a copywriter effective is their ability to jump inside of the brain and mind of their target audience, knowing what combination of words should be grammatically structured or emphasized just so, how the power of specifically chosen denotations and connotations in the rhetoric they use to engage your audience, playing the emotions of the target audience like the strings of a violin, in order to ultimately persuade them to do what you want.
It’s both a science and an art.
What Qualifications Matter The Most When Choosing A Copywriter
When deciding which copywriter you should choose for hiring, they should ultimately have all five of the following, what I like to call: the pillars of eligibility.
- Demonstrable and/or certified knowledge of SEO (search-engine optimization)
- Demonstrable and/or certified knowledge of Neuroscience
- Demonstrable and/or certified knowledge of Psychology
- A knockout portfolio
- Personal expertise and experience in the niche that your business pertains to
In the first pillar, competence in SEO is an absolute must if you plan on using the Internet at all for your business. To a copywriter, SEO is the understanding of the science of how the text-based content that they create for your business helps or hurts your website’s rankings on directories like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. If the copywriter can’t provide certifiable or demonstrable proof that they have a respectable level of knowledge in that field, then it means that they won’t be able to control elements such as keyword density, which greatly affect how digital indexing bots crawl your site and determine its value that would drive traffic to your website, and thus sales, votes, conversions, etc.
In the second pillar, a competent copywriter should have a basic academic understanding of the human brain and how it works, the two types of systems of neuro-marketing and how writing to appeal to either of those systems will influence specific demographic or psychographic groups that you’re trying to engage with your marketing campaign, and thus sales, votes, conversions, etc.
In the third pillar, a skilled copywriter should have a good grasp on psychology for the same exact reason that they should have knowledge of neuroscience. The entire concept of copywriting is to write in a way that stirs the emotions and/or logic of the audience in a way that compels them to act in a desired fashion. That can’t be done if the copywriter doesn’t have any idea of how human beings think.
Considering the first three pillars, note that I say: “Demonstrable and/or certified knowledge of…” The reason why I worded it in this way is because I understand how certain businesses have different budgets to work with, regarding what salaries they can afford for varying levels of skills and experience in their staff. For example, a copywriter with certifications in all of the aforementioned from Ivy League universities is obviously going to be expecting higher pay than someone who’s merely been self-educated with textbooks they got from the library. There’s also the fact to consider, that sometimes self-education is actually the best education there is, so simply because your copywriter may not be a certified psychologist or neuroscientist doesn’t mean that they don’t have a keen intuitive understanding of how the human mind works because of their own due diligence in reading or unique personal experience.
So how do you know who is capable and who is not?
…their portfolio, interview questions, and/or a test that you could give them that would prove them to be qualified or disqualified. This makes it so that you’re able to reasonably bargain for the best possible copywriter for whatever budget you can afford for your marketing efforts, because not everyone is a Fortune 500 company. This is entirely understandable, but know that you do indeed need the best copywriter you can get if you want to have an effective marketing campaign, whether you have the flexibility of a multi-million dollar budget to work with, or if you’re utilizing the principles of guerrilla marketing. It doesn’t matter.
If you’re unsure about the right questions to ask, or what test to give, here are five to give you an idea:
- How do you keep your skills sharp?
- If you were to have an apprentice, what reading materials would you recommend to them in order to learn copywriting?
- How did you develop your skill?
- How did you overcome your failures in copywriting?
- Why hire you? What can you do for my audience?
The fourth pillar is pretty self-explanatory. We are, all of us, what we do. A copywriter writes copy; therefore, if a copywriter doesn’t write copy—they’re not truly copywriters. Any potential hire that wishes in any way, shape, or form to be taken with even a modicum of seriousness should have a portfolio of work they’ve already done in the past.
What if they don’t have any work experience, you ask? Simple. Then their portfolio should be hypothetical in nature. When I first started out with my copywriting career, I wrote the copy for an Apple commercial that wasn’t actually used or acknowledged by Apple. I created user-generated content that demonstrated that if I would have actually been hired by Apple at one point, this is an example of the kind of work that I would have done for them, which reflects work that I can do for you, your business.
This is an actual hypothetical example that I made myself; you can view more here.
Examples like this will do just fine; ergo, there is absolutely no excuse for any copywriter, regardless of their level of real experience, to not have a portfolio of some kind. If they don’t have one, forget about them. Move on to someone who does. The truly passionate copywriters, even if inexperienced, will be writers by nature; they should be able to show something of what they’ve written in the past, even if it was for school.
In the fifth and final pillar of what makes a hirable copywriter, they should have an inner mental database of knowledge and experience pertaining to specifically the niche that pertains to your business, or whatever it is that you’re campaigning for. For example, it would make sense that a website about pollution would hire a copywriter who has a background in fighting pollution, perhaps a degree in solar-mechanical engineering or some other field of the relevant sciences—it may make a huge difference in how they approach writing for your business, drawing from their unique experience(s).
Just so happening to specialize in the same niche of your business would be ideal, but don’t be so hasty to brush them off if they don’t. So long as they have strong foundation of the first four pillars, the fifth can be negotiated with, based on the kind of research the copywriter is willing to do for the sake of the job.
Copywriters can hail from a myriad of different backgrounds with degrees that have nothing to do with writing. This isn’t a disadvantage; on the contrary, it’s actually advantageous because it means that the copywriter would have sectoral expertise in niche areas. If they so happen to hail from your business’s sector, great; if they don’t, then that can still be okay, so long as they’re willing to put in those extra hours to become sectoral experts of your field, at least enough to write effectively for you.
How Best To Utilize A Copywriter In Your Team
In general, any copywriter hard up for work will jump at any chance they can get to prove themselves and earn a salary, regardless of what stage of your marketing plan you go about seeking to hire them; however, few people in your team or staff are going to need to have a clearer vision of what your marketing campaign is trying to achieve than the copywriter. Ergo, it’s best to hire a copywriter at the beginning of any given campaign, so that they can be a part of the brainstorming sessions, both giving their input and gaining intellectual traction that may greatly change the outcome of the results.
The more breathing room you give your copywriter, the better the results will always be. Even the most skilled copywriter in the world could and would benefit from being among the brainstorming sessions at the very beginning.
When Copywriters Double As Content Writers
Have you ever heard of the adage, for Internet marketing, that goes: content is king? Well, there are many different forms and variations of content.
Textual content is the #1 driver of the Internet. That’s irrefutable. Plain and simple. Though images and video most assuredly play their roles, the efficacy of search engines is based first and foremost on the text of any given page or linkable asset, whether it be in the front-end (what the user sees), or the back-end (what the server sees, like coding).
Even images are indexable with “alt=” tags, and meta-coding that tells bots how to measure the value of them. It’s all text. Even videos, like those found on YouTube, aren’t categorized and findable by the video data itself, but by the textual tags and title that those whom upload it designate it to have.
Take this very article for example: what you’re reading is a combination of both content and copywriting, structurally optimized for SEO. You’re reading a text-book example of quality copywriting for Internet marketing right now at this very moment.
If you’re a Windows user, hit “ctrl” + “F”…
If you’re a Mac user, hit “cmd” + “F”…
… and do a word count of how many times what SEO specialists call “head terms”, such as:
…show up in the text, along with how other words are skillfully interweaved in between them so that they don’t sound inhuman, as well as what SEO specialists call “tail terms”, such as:
hire a copywriter
hiring a copywriter
Now, there are different ways you can split up the formula for varying specific inferences; it’s not quite as simple as this, but in general: the amount of the targeted or tag words that you count, divided by the total amount of words in this article, gives you a percentage-based number that equates to what’s called the keyword density. When the bots of search engines crawl this page, they’ll be able to tell by those percentages how to categorize this content, page, etc. (whatever you wish to call it), and how to index it.
By now, I’m sure that you’ve realized that by the very nature of me explaining all of this in such specific detail is, by all means, deliberate. You, being involved as a decision-maker in business, politics, etc. who may be looking to hire a copywriter have been targeted and the match has been made either by paid or organic reach, to read this.
Nothing has been by accident.
Impressed yet? No? Don’t worry, neither am I; that was barely scratching the surface of the basics, because it takes much skill to be able to write like this, henceforth the discipline and training required as expressed earlier in this article.
My point is: you have been chosen to read this because you’re most likely looking to hire a copywriter.
I’m a copywriter.
So, while this article is meant to advertise my services, drive conversions of my own, building my list of clientele and increase my own company’s revenue…it is, at the same time, more than simply a long-form sales letter; it’s simultaneously and legitimately meant to empower you with valuable knowledge you’ll need to know in order to make the best decision possible when hiring a copywriter—even if it’s not me that you choose.
That means that even if you don’t convert, there’s still value to this article that could make all the difference in your business or marketing campaign, which makes it both a matter of content writing, and copywriting.
Hence, the header of this section of the article. A company’s blog can be a key element in virtually any imaginable Internet marketing campaign, since content is what makes or breaks an Internet marketing campaign to begin with.
Copywriters need to be able to not only write for the sake of sales, but to also create legitimately remarkable content that positively brands the company they work for, earning customer trust and loyalty. To write copy that’s always about selling something would turn the target audience off, thus stimulating the opposite effect. This is what spammers do, but in contrast: truly disciplined, talented copywriters understand that in this day and age, the only way to effectively retain a large following online that ultimately leads to revenue for the company they work for (even if it’s their own) is to create great content (which is one discipline), that drives the audience to act in some way, shape, or form (which is another discipline).
You can have one without the other, and get minimal results—but find a copywriter that’s skilled in both, and you’ll have the team member you need to build you an incredible one-of-a-kind blog that generates you the income you’d like to see with your business.
When you observe their portfolio, make sure you see examples of both for the ideal person or team to hire.
Copywriters Should Be Able To Explain Themselves To Their Clients
When StrataGem Internet Marketing was first stretching her legs on the now-defunct Elance.com (before it was bought out by Upwork.com), I had a client from England that wanted me to do an e-mail campaign for them, targeting executive-level people to physically attend an annual fundraising event for the homeless. She was looking for a copywriter who could help boost the attendance of such an event, because it had been low for too long at that point.
There was a miscommunication between what I delivered and what the client was expecting.
This occurred because of two reasons:
- The client didn’t fully understand the psychology of the very audience that they desired to reach out to in a realistic way.
- I failed to communicate why I wrote the way that I did, resulting from my more accurate assessment of the target audience’s psychology.
She thought it best to try to get the audience to attend by appealing to their benevolent sense of altruism without any incentive in return; I thought the opposite, that she would get a higher turnout if I wrote to appeal to the target audience’s sense of self-interest by marketing the event as a great networking and business opportunity to meet and connect with other execs, coupled with the vanity of benefitting their public image for having attended such an event which could affect their sales, as well as the appeal to their ego—making them feel like they matter more by specifically pointing out how the event positively affects the world by bettering the lives of the homeless. Attending such an event and donating money to it would mean that they did something that truly and greatly influenced the life of at least one other person for the better, meaning that they mattered to the world and would leave a lasting mark upon it.
To sum it up in my own words, the client’s approach was very non-materialistic and Buddhist; my approach was very materialistic and Ayn Rand—polar opposites. I questioned what made not all, but most executive level people and CEOs what they are to begin with: drive, determination, etc. fueled by self-interest and the subconscious desire for power and influence.
To the vast majority of people like that: time is money. Time is not only money but a special form of money that they’ll never be able to get back. And to appeal to their sense of altruism would mean that they would be losing time and money by attending and donating to the event, with virtually nothing as a return on their investment. This is just the harsh reality of how most high-level corporate people think, often not having so much respect for the homeless to begin with, for not working to better themselves in the form of getting jobs or creating their own—therein, explaining why the turnouts and donations to the event that my client wanted me to market for were as low as they were before she had contracted me.
I failed to communicate my harsher but more realistic and results-oriented understanding to my client, which caused the disagreement.
It’s not that I thought all high-level business people can’t be self-sacrificing; that would be flawed inductive reasoning. They absolutely can be, but we’re talking about numbers, the majority of what would drive black and white results of greater value than what the client had hitherto been able to achieve with her approach up until that point.
QED: my writing challenged my client’s personal worldview, even though it was what was the most effective for attaining what she wanted. While the client herself, and the organization she represented, may have been very morally altruistic themselves in general: it was just cold truth that the entire reason why she sought to hire me, to begin with, was to raise more money and attention to the event—their own self-interest; whether or not it was for the homeless was irrelevant, and not how their target audience would see it, which is what mattered most, because target audience’s perception was the ultimate reality that would determine the end results of the marketing campaign.
Ergo, I saw a philosophical contradiction in what the client envisioned, versus the harsh reality of what would gain them the results they actually wanted and that was the flaw to her marketing…before she hired me.
Out of a 5-possible star rating, I only received a 4.1 from the client for my performance on that specific job, despite not seeing anything analytically wrong with my writing approach. And I take responsibility for that low rating. You may not think that 4.1 is low, but I constantly strive for perfection. Out of 5 possible stars, if I don’t get a 5.1, then I’m not satisfied.
My mistake was not in figuring out all of this about the psychology of her target audience—that was wonderful of me, yielding perfectly usable and effective copywriting; my mistake was in how my lack of communication prevented the client from understanding why I chose to write the way that I did—which is why she didn’t give me the perfect 5.0 score for my performance.
What I should have done instead, was communicate with the client more thoroughly in a free consultation discussion before she contracted me, as a brainstorming session before I began the actual writing. This way, the client and I would have been on the same exact page with a unified vision, thus leading to better appreciate the work that I did accomplish for her.
From that point forward, I made two things mandatory when engaging clients:
- To discuss and/or debate the answers to specific questions in order to ensure that we share the same vision
- To provide a short report recapping the points from the initial consultation that explains, once again, why I chose to write the way that I did, why I believed the approach that I took in my writing would be the most effective, after I turn in the final product to the client
The moral of the story?
When deciding to hire a copywriter, or an Internet marketing firm for that matter, they should always be prepared and willing to do/provide you those two crucial things. They should be able to share with you a professionally respectful informed opinion delineating why you, the client, may be wrong or have an inaccurate assessment of what would be effective for whatever it is that you’re campaigning before you contract them, and then after they turn in their work to you, they should provide a short report re-explaining and re-verifying with you the method to their madness.
You could have the most academically distinguished copywriter with all of the awards, certifications, and degrees under the sun applying for the position, but if they’re not willing or able to fully communicate with you, then don’t hire that copywriter; move on to someone else who will, even if their resume isn’t as flashy. Transparency is the child of trust and communication, which is key for any healthy relationship, be it romantic or business—and it is ultimately a relationship that you’re establishing, if you haven’t yet thought of it that way.
You should know and understand what your copywriting business partner is doing, how they think, etc. and how those aspects benefit you so that you can trust them with the freedom they need to do their job as creatively as possible…so that you’re not forced to “divorce”, otherwise, so to speak.
The Ways You Can Go About Paying A Copywriter
There are two major ways that you can/should pay an outsourced copywriter that you’re looking to hire.
- On a per job basis
- On retainer or salary based on contracting
What options are available depends upon the copywriter in question. What options you should choose are based upon three things:
- The sort of budget you have to work with
- How much/often you’re going to need their assistance
- What the copywriter thinks of the workload you’re presenting to them in your best interest
You should think in terms of bulk when hiring a copywriter.
If you hire on a per job basis, the copywriter will tend to charge you a certain rate per word, depending upon the project. This may be a short-term money saver for you, but keep returning to the copywriter with these kinds of contracts and you’ll find yourself losing out on a great amount of money you could have otherwise saved for the long term.
If you own a medium-sized website that needs continual scheduled updates in the form of blog posts, social media account posts, etc. then you’ll save a fortune if you just contract the copywriter on retainer. Instead of paying anywhere between a penny to a dollar or so per word that the copywriter writes, you could instead just pay the copywriter $200, $500, $1,000, $2,000 per month, etc. based upon the workload that has no actual word-count limit.
Whether or not the retainer fee can be negotiated depends entirely upon you and the individual copywriter in question. Remember, it’s up to you to do the math of how many words on average, per month, that you think the copywriter (or team thereof) will have to produce for you. Because it’s not just writing that takes the copywriter’s time; it’s also the thinking, the planning, the research, the discussions and brainstorming sessions, etc. that rack up hours and remarkable quotients of effort that aren’t initially seeable because they occur behind the scenes of the presentation of the finished product.
Just five words that could make a historically noteworthy marketing campaign could take months to come up with. Perfect example, one of the greatest copywriting campaigns in history was by McDonald’s: the “You deserve a break today,” campaign. Those five words became a mental virus that spread like the plague that boosted the sales of McDonald’s in record numbers. They seem easily strewn together, but in actuality, it probably took a team of professionals that analyzed how these five words would go viral with their psychographic audience.
So, sometimes, it’s about the quantity of the words (when the copywriter you’re looking to hire doubles as a content creator for your blog/website, social media accounts, etc.), and sometimes, it’s about the Leonardo da Vinci-like simplistic genius of just a few that spark a chain reaction of sales.
So, when seeking to hire a copywriter, how much you should pay them and which payment option you should choose will vary, depending entirely upon what your expectations/desires are, how skilled and experienced you’d like them to be, etc.
…and because a healthy relationship is a two-way street, it’s just as vital for you to communicate with whom you’re hiring to be your copywriter about what your vision is, while being completely honest with them about what their impending workload will be.
Otherwise, they’ll break the contract with you if they entered the relationship with you under the ruse that they’d be writing a certain amount worthy of a $200 retainer agreement, but you really give them a $2,000 retainer’s worth of work. It’s also vital that you’re respectful of the copywriter’s work-hours and humanly limitations; don’t call them at 3 in the morning with an order for a 25,000 word APA-sourced and cited white paper that you need published on bio-molecular engineering that you want due in two hours.
I mean, c’mon.
And do be kind in your publicly-posted reviews of them. On websites like UpWork.com, a single review can make or break whether or not they make money, whether or not they’re able to put food on the table for their children. Remember, these are people you’re doing business with; they’re not machines, or your toilet to defecate on.
Unless…they truly deserve it, which leads me to the next section of this article…
When To Fire A Copywriter
Ah, now here’s an interesting one you don’t see every day. Writing about this aspect of the work is counter-intuitive, but you need to know it nonetheless—so that you don’t get screwed over by a bad hire that you may think is good, but isn’t. Because copywriting is both a science and an art, it can sometimes be difficult to say when a copywriter is doing a bad job for you and deserves to be canned, or to decide not to renew their annual contract and not to refer to them again.
You should fire a copywriter (or copywriting team) when they:
- Continually fail to meet deadlines
- What they write for your social media accounts hurts your branding efforts
- Fail or refuse to take responsibility for their actions and mistakes
- Fail or refuse to perform due diligence in their marketing research for your niche
- Fail or refuse to do revisions of their work before publication, if needed at all
- Continually fail to communicate with you, leading to unexpected disappointments
- Fail to deliver black and white results
- Fail to show proof of annual training and sharpening of skill
- When your gut feeling tells you that you could find a better relationship match
Tenet A is pretty self-explanatory. When you design a content calendar for your business’s Internet marketing strategy, if your copywriting team fails to make deadlines, I consider that a breach in the integrity of the relationship between you two. If your copywriter or copywriting team can’t deliver on time, then that could consequentially affect the revenue of your business in a massively negative way.
Get rid of them.
Tenet B is also relatively self-explanatory. Social media is here to stay; it’s where the vast majority of Internet marketing happens, and how most businesses retain their following or list of what Seth Godin refers to as “tribe members”, that continually buy from you, or vote for you. Your active social media following is your public support, is your core fan base and/or readership, your first line of consumers. This means that every single post that your copywriting/Internet marketing team makes must be on point and congruent with the branding strategy of your business. If who you’ve got providing your copywriting solution is posting things that are detrimental to the reputation of your business…drop’m.
Tenet C is just a matter of mature and quality sportsmanship and professionalism. Though the client is not always right (which is why they’d be seeking the support of professionals to begin with), that in no means grants the copywriter or the copywriting team room to place all of the blame for a failure or sub-par performance on you, the client. If you observe how I wrote above about the client that wanted me to do the e-mail campaign, note that even though I believe she was incorrect in her philosophical approach for marketing to her target audience, see how I didn’t vilify her; I stated how I believed she was incorrect in her logic, but also revealed with level and rational honesty what I did wrong as well, which is what led to me only getting a return rating of a 4.1 out of 5 for that particular job, along with an explanation of what I learned from the experience and what changes I made to my policy to make sure that such a mistake is never made again.
When having hired a copywriter, if they narcissistically put all of the blame on you—get rid of them, you can do better.
Tenet D regards just straight-up laziness and incompetence. Upon the initial interview before the contract is signed, a copywriter should be able to honestly assess whether or not they already have the inner body of knowledge they’d need to produce the quality content you need for your niche and target audience, or if they have the willingness within them to perform their due diligence accordingly. If they say they do in order to secure the contract and take your money, yet fail to deliver…they’re charlatans; get away from them immediately!
Tenet E reflects just another but different example of laziness and incompetence. Firstly and foremost, your copywriting/Internet marketing firm should be turning in exemplary work to begin with; unless otherwise agreed, I, at StrataGem Internet Marketing, have an assistant editor go over all of my work before I hand it in to you. However, I, like any other copywriter, am still a person.
People are imperfect or perfectly imperfect (whichever philosophy you subscribe to).
This means that, eventually, an error here or two every once in a while is natural. To counteract this, when hiring a copywriter or copywriting team, there should always be a guarantee that revisions should come at no extra cost to you should mistakes be made, within a reasonable span of time. At StrataGem, I offer free revisions of any content for as long as I’m contracted. Simple.
The example in tenet C also applies to tenet F, in that communication is key for any healthy relationship, be it business, friendship, romance, or any human-to-human relationship imaginable. Soldiers cannot effectively carry out their orders if their commanders fail to communicate them accurately; doctors cannot effectively cure their patients if their symptoms are not communicated accurately, and so forth.
As the client, you may be the commander and I may be your soldier, but the relationship is not quite as simple as just that in reality. Soldiers are trained to follow orders without thinking; copywriters are paid to do just that: to think creatively about the orders they’re given and how best to execute them with the highest artistic finesse. Whenever there’s a business transaction related to creative work, it’s imperative that discussion and debate happens between the client and the copywriter(s) for the sake of the best possible outcome. If the copywriters aren’t willing to commit to that, move on to someone who will.
Tenet G is just about whether or not your copywriter can deliver the black and white numbers, the bottom line. The numbers don’t lie. How do you quantify how good your writer is doing? There are multiple ways that vary, far more than what can be explained in this simple article, but for one example, consider a PPM (paid-per-milli) ad campaign on Facebook.
PPM ads involve more than just copywriting (graphic designers and a person trained in ad campaigns, which could be all one and the same person, or it could be a team). You’re paying your copywriter a retainer of $500 per month, plus another $500 for the actual budgeting of the ad itself (paid to Facebook, not the copywriter). It runs for three months with a 1% conversion rate. You think it can do better, but your Internet marketing/copywriting team says that they’re doing the best they can. You pay a little money to a different copywriter to redo the same ad, and it instantly runs at a 4% conversion rate, and your copywriter says that he should be able to do even a little better with some tweaking.
Obviously, at that point, the writing is on the wall; fire the old Internet marketing team and hire the new one.
Tenet H is actually one that most copywriting/Internet marketing firms don’t actually adhere to, but I do. Like I said earlier, copywriting is both a science and an art, a perishable discipline not all that unlike martial arts. There is no actual point of complete mastery; a copywriter should always be up-to-date on reading materials relevant to their craft, or be able to demonstrate how they may have progressed in their knowledge of psychology, neuroscience, etc. They should be able to provide some kind of proof that they’ve been actively working to level up in skill and keep sharp so that you, as the client, know beyond the shadow of any doubt that you’ve got the best marketers available to you. StrataGem prides itself in education and makes it a mandatory part of employment that any official copywriter of StrataGem do each of the following every year:
- Pass a skills assessment test with an 80 or above
- Summarize at least three new things learned from any reading materials that they read throughout the year about their craft
- Provide at least three constructive critiques on what my competitors have been doing for their campaigns that I could have done better
I do this to make sure that I provide the highest quality expertise and service that I can to you. Your copywriter may not require this much discipline to stay employed, and that may be just fine for you. If it is, no worries; however, make sure that whomever you choose to hire truly does care about what they do, and it should be able to show in everything they have that represents them. If not, then it’s time to find yourself a new one that you actually deserve.
And finally, there is tenet I: no hard reason whatsoever. Follow your gut feeling; if you intuitively feel as if whomever you’ve hired isn’t doing a good enough job and that there’s better out there for you…go for it. Don’t even think twice.
Consider When Uniquely Remarkable Skills Come Into Play
Along with what was mentioned before, that copywriters can hail from all different sorts of academic and personal experiences that, at first glance, have nothing to do with writing—it would behoove you to always pay attention to the copywriters (and other marketers of the sort) that have unique skills that they can mix into their own signature equation. Like linguists, for example, whose main selling points are the languages that they can translate. Each language itself is a market on its own, with its own cultural nuances and that each need to be treated separately in order to tap into them as a source of revenue, or votes, or what have you. Look for copywriters that have the potential to expand your reach to multiple audiences, not just one.
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