You’re not alone. I know exactly how tricky it is to find a great copywriter. Like you, I too am perpetually digging my way through
heaps and heaps of charcoal to get to a copywriting gem; those rarities unmarred by irreparable glitches such as prohibitive costs, arrogant demeanours and semi-interested attitudes.
In my previous post I promised to enlighten you on how to find a great copywriter. But before I do that, I figured it would be a good idea to cover exactly what you should be looking for in a copywriter.
With The WordWright being a copywriting agency, chances are fairly good that I spend more time than you mining for talent. So, I decided to share our list of 10 Must-Have Characteristics of a Copywriter with you. It is my recruitment blueprint, and I hope you find it useful.
10 Must-Have Characteristics of a Copywriter
A good copywriter takes the time to really understand your business and your vision
If your copywriter doesn’t bother asking questions about your business – both the tangibles and the intangibles – and fails to spend time on your website, it is a red flag. If your copywriter doesn’t understand your business, how on earth will he or she be able to articulate your value proposition to your clients? Quick answer: Not possible!
A good copywriter has a great character
Think of traits such as honesty and ethics. These are important. To give you an idea why: chances are good that your copywriter will have access to privileged business information; information you certainly wouldn’t want in the hands of any one of your competitors. Don’t underestimate the value of Values!
A good copywriter has an opinion and is prepared to share it with you
You need somebody who thinks and who – when necessary – is prepared to offer you an opinion based on their knowledge and previous experience. A rent-a-drone, who mechanically executes his or her assignment, is a wombat.
A good copywriter is prepared to go the distance
Hit-and-run is counterproductive. You need a copywriter who is prepared to stick around so that you can leverage the understanding they developed of your preferences, and build on the knowledge they gained about your business and products. You also don’t necessarily have the time to keep coaching one newcomer after the other.
A good copywriter wants to add value
Any copywriter worth his or her salt will add value to your business in one way or the other. It could be a fresh perspective on something old and tired or a brand new idea that could help you to improve traffic, sales etc. The bottom line is that any half-decent copywriter will spend some time thinking about your business and about your site. Does yours?
A good copywriter can think creatively
Creative thinking is essential. There is hardly a single topic that hasn’t been covered somewhere on the internet. If your copywriter regurgitates the same-old-same-old, there is a fair chance that what you have to say will be viewed as blah-blah. A creative copywriter has the ability to view your product or service from every dimension and every angle, and goes on to produce something nice, fresh and worth reading.
A good copywriter writes well
I actually saw a copywriter state in her blog that the ability to write is secondary. It would have been funny if it weren’t so horribly absurd. Obviously you want to have somebody who can write well. Customers don’t want to read badly written stuff and they certainly won’t return for more of the same. So, at a risk of stating the obvious, check that they can string together words in a meaningful and sufficiently entertaining manner.
A good copywriter is a consummate professional
A consummate professional delivers quality. Their work is well researched, well written and on time. They answer your e-mails and treat you with respect.
A good copywriter understands on-page SEO and knows enough about off-page SEO to help you there too
Having sound knowledge of SEO is no longer an optional requirement. Your copywriter must know how to please both your human and search engine visitors. The latter is really important for your business’ visibility. Have a look at Google’s SEO starter guide and read my two blogs: Web Content Optimization Part 1: The Search Engines and Web Content Optimization Part 2: The Human Factor. These explain what your copywriter should know as the barest of minimums.
A good copywriter trusts his or her own abilities sufficiently not to ask you for a retainer
If the copywriting turns out to be poor, you are going to have a tough time recovering your hard earned cash. Believe me. I learnt this the hard way.
A common sense thing to check before you hire a copywriter is his or her own website
- Is SEO evident?
- What does the writing look like?
- Does the site contain interesting web content?
- Is there evidence of social media activity?
- Does he or she blog?
Where to look for a copywriter
My next post will cover this. Be sure to check back in a couple of days’ time for the third and final installment in the copywriter series.
Let’s grow the list
I am sure that there are some of you who would like to add something to my list of copywriter characteristics. Share your thoughts with us in the comment section – we really welcome feedback!