Sweat beaded Anish’s forehead though it was January and his office thermostat was set at 64 degrees—another cost-cutting measure from HQ.
The heat emanated from an email.
He reread the memo again trying to focus on numbers that didn’t add up: Double the company’s marketing content. While slashing the budget by—the copy manager scrolled down to recheck the figure—half?
Massaging his temple, Anish let go a long exhale. Maybe it was time to throw in the towel. Contact those spamming Twitter copywriting services. Or lob the work over to a cheap content mill.
Or maybe not.
Before you outsource to a content mill—stop.
Because Anish—and you—have another choice. An option that guarantees terrific, targeted content. Across all media and formats. On or under budget.
Hire an expensive copywriter.
Now don’t get worked up. By “expensive,” I mean an experienced copywriter who charges living-wage fees. A seasoned professional who delivers dead-on, on-deadline copy.
While an ace copywriter charges more per hour or project, he immediately saves you money.
10 ways an experienced copywriter saves you money
Let me explain. A skilled marketing writer…
- Frees up your time. When you partner with an adept copywriter you immediately gain precious hours and days: She quickly wraps her head around your project. Helps you strategize. Handles project communications, interviews and research. And meets deadlines every time. Hiring a competent copywriter is like getting a project manager. For free. But the biggest bargain? An accomplished copywriter delivers great, “surprise-free” content that doesn’t need huge overhaul and revision. Time = money.
- Understands your medium: Website content isn’t catalog copy. Email isn’t feature writing. Corporate newsletters aren’t blog posts. Does your bargain-rate “content provider” know the difference? A solid copywriting professional does. If he can’t master your project’s medium, he’ll tell you from the get-go. And likely recommend another copy pro who can. More time-money savings.
- Writes to sell. Effective copywriting isn’t about creative expression. It’s about selling your product and building relationships. A talent for stringing words together or spewing hipsterisms doesn’t cut it. Good copy drives action toward a specific conversion goal. Could be a direct sale. Or a phone call, repeated website visits, white paper download, mailing sign-up, visit to your store, or word-of-mouth. Before you hire a newbie writer, ask yourself if her words sell. Because the ideal copy jockey…
- Doubles as a marketing strategist: A capable copywriter thinks like a marketer. She looks at your copy strategically and tactically. With the ultimate goal of building your business and boosting your bottom line, she takes a big-picture view of marketing tools. Where do they fit into your sales, fundraising or conversion cycle? How do they integrate with existing—and future—tools? What worked in the past? What failed? How can content support department and company goals moving forward?
- Tells you the ugly truth. What’s your company’s dirty little marketing secret? Maybe your CEO is a lousy writer—but he insists on “tweaking” sales copy. Or your existing marketing materials brag about your company and its products, instead of demonstrating value to customers. You see these weaknesses. And so does a good copywriter. He’s savvy enough to question business-as-usual and politely suggest new options. Honesty is a competitive advantage.
- Speaks customer. Why do customers buy your stuff? Because your product fulfills a need or solves a problem. It makes people feel thinner, younger and more attractive. Or it provides pleasure and fun. An accomplished copywriter understands the emotions behind buying decisions. Equal part psychologist and wordsmith, he engages and persuades with warm, conversational copy that sells.
- Studies your enemy. The market is flooded with goods and services—and they all look the same to your busy, distracted customer. Your product, remarkable as it is, needs to be polished and positioned to stand out. In addition to studying your offering, an accomplished copywriter scrutinizes your competitors. She scopes out rival claims. She looks for chinks in the challenger’s armor. Then she uses her findings to develop a unique selling proposition that positions your product as the only intelligent solution.
- Works with your budget. You’ve got big ideas—but a small budget. What now? A worldly-wise copywriter gives you options. He works with you to prioritize copy needs. He creates basic marketing tools that boost your bottom line now—and expand later. And he likely provides money-saving editing services—cheaper than from-scratch content creation—and copy package deals.
- Connects you to thrifty creative resources. Need cool graphic design, custom coding or quality printing services along with that killer written content? A connected copywriter hooks you up to terrific creative professionals—at a fraction of big-ticket agency fees.
- Costs less over time. The hardest—and most expensive—job your copywriter completes is the first. Why? Because first time around, a good marketing copywriter invests time researching your company, its products and services. She studies your competition. She meets with you and interviews your sales force. And that first-job investment pays off big time in future projects—when your copywriting partner passes on the savings to you.
When to hire a newbie
Should you always hire a copy veteran? Is it never appropriate to work with a newcomer? Of course not.
Sometimes a talented but less-experienced writer knows your industry well. Or her writing samples are just right.
So if Anish—or you—aren’t on a brutal deadline and you don’t mind doing a little hand-holding, the project may work out great.
And if it doesn’t, contact me. Because in addition to creating hard-working copy, I’m also pretty good at copy surgery.