There are so many pieces & parts to content marketing, it’s often difficult to keep up.
Here’s Part II of answers to some content-related questions we get asked all the time.
How do I choose a copywriter?
You’ll find that copywriters ask a fair amount of probing questions — that’s our job. In order to create interesting content that’s targeted to the right audience and moves them further down the marketing funnel, we need to REALLY get to know your business.
That means personalities have to mesh. You need to feel comfortable sharing significant details about your business, your audience and your products/services/back story with this person, so you need to feel 100% confident they’re the right fit. A solid rapport and similar mindset can mean the difference between a home run and merely ho-hum copy.
Second, are they experienced in the type of content you’re looking to produce? There’s a very different approach to researching and writing a technical white paper versus an ad campaign. A caveat: Your chosen copywriter doesn’t necessarily have to have experience in your specific field. Skilled writers can get up to speed fairly quickly on the nuances of your industry. Further, it’s often more valuable for the copywriter to have a completely fresh perspective and no preconceived notions. Remember, familiarity breeds contempt.
A second caveat: Great copywriters tend to book up quickly. Like an accountant or an attorney, it’s wise to have a relationship in place before you actually need it. Start shopping ahead of time so you find the right fit with the availability to meet your schedule.
What is the copywriting process?
Yet again, this is not a one-size-fits-all answer because it depends on the type of project. Copywriters can help you clarify and articulate your overall brand positioning. Or, if you’ve already got a solid messaging strategy, they’ll use it to craft the specific piece of content you need, whether that’s an email nurturing campaign for new leads, a downloadable asset such as a checklist or white paper, or blog posts to keep you on a regular cadence with your audience.
In terms of the actual steps, once you’ve engaged a copywriting agency they typically do a kickoff call to gather information. In this meeting be prepared to share any existing marketing materials, as well as information on your target audience(s), their challenges and buying triggers, and how your product/service solves those challenges. We also ask for a list of your closest competitors so we can review their positioning and look for opportunities to counter them as needed.
The agency should provide a timeline for giving you a first draft and the most efficient way for you to provide your feedback. Most copywriting contracts include an initial draft and a set amount of revisions before incurring further expense, so be sure to review your contract carefully before signing.
What do I ask a copywriter or content agency when interviewing them?
Assuming you’ve done your due diligence — gotten referrals, looked at their websites and Google reviews, read their blog posts and LinkedIn profile — your interview should include questions along these lines:
- Can you provide samples of copy you’ve created that are similar to what we need?
- Have you done work in our industry? (As noted above, this is often not as important as you’d think.)
- How do you onboard new clients? (This will give you a sense of how process-oriented they are.)
- What type of lead time would you estimate to take on a new project like ours? (Be wary of any potential strategic partner with immediate availability. If they’re not in demand, it doesn’t speak well of their skill level.)
- What’s the typical turnaround time for a first draft?
In essence, you’re looking to get a sense of alignment — that their mindset and processes align with yours.
Next time…the various types of content you can incorporate into your content marketing program.