Attention all entrepreneurs and business owners! If you’re looking to hire great copywriters, this post is for you!
Without a doubt, this is the #1 question I get from my entrepreneur friends and mastermind members.
Unfortunately, most business owners are pretty tight-lipped when it comes to revealing who writes their copy, because once you have a good copywriter you don’t want to lose them…
Which could explain why asking for a referral as a hiring strategy often doesn’t go very far… Or why copywriters seem like magical little leprechauns at the end of a rainbow.
Other marketers just don’t want you cashing in on their pot of gold!
But I promise great writers are out there and they are looking for you too! So hopefully this post helps both you entrepreneurs looking to hire writers AND you freelance writers looking for amazing clients…
Whichever side of the rainbow you fall on, be sure to hit subscribe over on my YouTube Channel so you don’t miss a single video from me. Every week I release a new copywriting tutorial for those of you looking to grow your business with crazy good copy.
Alright, now here are my 6 steps for finding a great copywriter.
Step #1 – Get Clear on What Type of Writer You Want To Hire
Not all copywriters are created equal! In fact, all good copywriters, like Doctors, have a speciality.
If you don’t know what type of writer you need, you’ll end up swimming in a sea of applications and creating way more work for yourself. And anyone you do end up hiring will be a shot in the dark.
So, first things first, determine the writer you need based on the following 4 criteria:
Niche – You want to hire a writer with relevant experience in your particular niche. For example, personal development, weight loss, real estate, finance, parenting, pets, business, coaching, nutrition.
Writing Style – Determine if your brand voice is fun, educational, professional, authoritative, cheeky.
Type of Copy – Are you looking for content writers or copywritiers. Will they write emails, sales pages, video script, social posts or all of the above?
Skill Level – You want your writer’s skill level to match the revenue potential of what they are writing. So, if you are just getting started, haven’t made any money yet and your budget is tight, and you don’t want to write your own copy, I’d recommend you start with a greener copywriter who can learn and grow with your brand.
But, if you have an established offer and a pre-existing benchmark to beat, hire a more experienced writer. You’ll be able to quickly gauge if that writer can increase your current conversions and what you can afford to pay them.
Ok, once you’ve gotten clear on what type of writer you need, it’s time to move onto…
Step #2 – Write A Very Specific Job Description
It’s no surprise that to find a great writer, you need to have a great job description and you want this BEFORE you start your search.
Hiring for this specific of a role in your business means hiring for quality over quantity. It is not a numbers game. So, if you put the effort into writing a great job description, you will attract the right people.
In your job description, include everything you defined in step 1, the niche, style, type and skill level of copywriter you’re looking for. This will help weed out the writers who are not a fit for you.
In your job posting, be authentic and real. Describe your company culture, mission, vision and vibe. Copywriters are excited by purpose and personality!
We want to feel like we’re a part of something bigger and not just “creating offers that convert”. So many business owners underestimate the power of this.
The most important thing to remember with this step is to set very specific application deadlines.
If you don’t do this you’ll have a bunch of unqualified leads and a lot of extra work on your hands digging through trigger applications with canned responses.
Always ask for a cover letter that explains why the candidate wants to work with you and why they think they’d be a good fit for your team. And ask to see writing samples or a portfolio of work.
I also like to include a small instruction like, send in your application with the subject line: Copywriter Application – Your Name
This comes in handy later when you’re weeding through applications and want to see who actually followed-instructions and read the entirety of your job description.
If you want a sample of a job copywriter job description I wrote, comment below and I’ll send it your way.
So once you have your job description written, post it publicly on your website so you can easily shoot the link over to candidates.
Step 3 – Find Prospects
This is where you go fish!
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to ask friends or colleagues for copywriter referrals. That’s a good place to start. But if it’s a dead end you can try a few different things…
Post to local job boards or at colleges to find fresh English-major grads looking for work.
You can also search Facebook for public copywriting groups full of writers looking for clients.
LinkedIn is also a popular resource for hiring. Just search keywords like copywriter or freelance writer and send messages out with a link to your job posting.
I’ve also stumbled upon a lot of writers on Instagram by searching hashtags like #writersofIG or #Freelancewriter. If you’re unconventional you just might find a gem where no one else is looking.
And, of course, you can and should post your job on popular freelancing sites like UpWork. A lot of freelance copywriters will already have an UpWork profile so if you get a contact outside UpWork you can always invite them to the job there if you want to manage everyone in one place.
Also search through UpWork’s freelancer database and invite specific people to apply for your job.
Once you’ve collected a handful of candidates, move onto step 4.
Step 4 – Filter Candidates
This is where you put on your reading glasses and get to work narrowing your candidate pool down to the top 5. I’m a big believer in going off first impressions here. You don’t have time to read every single word in an application or review every single portfolio.
The easiest place to start is to weed out anyone who didn’t follow instructions and apply with the proper subject line. That way you’re axing literally 90% of applicants without even opening the email or message.
Out of those who followed the application instructions, read only the cover letters. If they didn’t include cover letters, they’re gone. And if their cover letter isn’t written well, bye…
Afterall, you’re hiring a writer.
I’ll then look at the writing samples of no more than 10 writers and pick out who I want to interview from those who show promise and creativity.
Next, I do video interviews on Zoom with these candidates, more to gauge personality and fit than anything else. I only hire people I actually enjoy talking to, regardless of their calibre of writing.
I’ll be honest, I hardly look at CVs names of random companies or financial institutions really tell me nothing valuable about them as a person or their writing experience. I’d much rather ask about it in person over a video call.
After the interview process I narrow down my candidate list to my favorite 5. Hint: usually at this point you have a pretty good idea who your Ace will be, but I don’t decide just yet.
Once you have your top 5 writers, move on to step 5.
Step 5 – Hire Them All
Yes, I know you’re probably only looking for one writer, but at this point it’s nearly impossible to know which one will fit your business and brand best without doing a test.
So, come up with a short, simple copywriting project and HIRE THEM ALL to do it. Give every single one the exact instructions and deadlines.
For example, once for a client of mine, I hired 5 writers at the same time and had them all write a cart abandonment sequence of 5 emails.
Sure, while we did spend a bit of money testing them out (and each writer had a different price, BTW) after it was all said and done, once writer clearly stood out from the rest and now I have an awesome writer on my team!
When comparing writers, look for creativity first. If someone can write a great hook, they are 80% of the way there in my opinion. It’s really easy to tell the difference between creative and persuasive writers and those who just know the common sales tactics and buzz words.
Another option is letting the data speak for itself. If you have enough traffic, why not split-test all 5 piece of copy and see who comes out on top.
The writers you don’t end up hiring long term are happy because they’ve been paid for their project. Simply thank them for their time and effort. Then move on to step #6…
Step 6 – Hiring Your Ace
Once you’ve found the writer you want to hire, it’s time to negotiate bringing them on board.
I highly recommend paying them on a project-basis or monthly retainer – not hourly. This is beneficial to both the writer, who is getting consistent work, and the business owner who can properly budget and plan ahead.
Also, I don’t recommend offering commissions as a percentage of sales – mostly because it’s hard to track in complete isolation and sales can be unpredictable.
A writer should be fairly paid for their time. That way, if you don’t get traffic to the offer right away, you won’t run the risk of your writer being unhappy because they were promised a percentage of sales… which is completely out of their control.
Also, copy conversion rate is highly dependent on other factors like design, page load time, quality of traffic, shopping cart conversion, etc.
With than being said, once a writer you hire becomes an indispensable member of your team and a part of your overall brand voice and business, a bonus structure based on sales is something you can revisit.
Okie dokes there you have it! My 6 steps to hiring a great copywriter. Please comment below if you found this post helpful!
Watch This Instead
And be sure to check out my video on the differences between copywriting and content writing as that will help you massively in your search for the perfect writers.
I’ll see you next week with a new post.
Ciao for now!