AKA: why you may not be able to write your website yourself, in a spare hour, with one eye on Britain’s Got Talent.
Copywriting is way too important to skip over – and a lot of us are guilty of doing just that.
Being able to write and being a writer are different things
You’re no fool. You’re good at a million things, which quite possibly include running your own business. But would you call yourself a writer?
Here’s how to work it out: do you spend the majority of your day writing? Do you read books about writing? Do you go to courses and events focused on writing?
If you answered yes, you’re a writer and you don’t need me to tell you why copywriting costs money. Good luck to you.
If you didn’t, you can see why it takes rather more than being literate to be a copywriter. Compromising on the quality of your words is one of the easiest ways to turn off prospective customers.
What a good copywriter is good at
Being a copywriter demands a lot more than being a good writer. Branding, sales, SEO, design and a million other things float about in a copywriter’s head, ready to be put into your project. You don’t just get their time; you get their years of knowledge, experience and creativity.
Here’s what you get from investing in a copywriter:
- Project planning
- Content structure that works with buying psychology and user experience
- Useful information winkled out of you
- An x-ray understanding your audience
- Content that sounds like you – your best you!
- Techniques that convert readers into customers
- Efficient reviewing and editing
- Vast experience of what works and what doesn’t
- Protection from embarrassing mistakes in tone, intention and wording
Why copywriting shouldn’t be a last-minute consideration
Copy should inform design – organisation, feel and even dimensions. It’s the foundation of any ad, website or email. It’s what persuades humans to do something.
Bringing in a copywriter to fill in the gaps with words is a good way to make sure what you’re doing ends up at 70% instead of 100%. Even a truly talented writer will have to compromise on what they wish they could write for you, so do consider getting a designer and a copywriter to work together on the planning and structuring process.
Then, at review, the same again – because any change a designer makes (even something as small as splitting a paragraph) could affect how well your piece of copy reads. And that affects your bottom line.
Speaking of bottom lines…
How to work out your budget for copywriting
I’m a member of the Professional Copywriters’ Network. Every year, they run a survey to assess average rates, freelance vs. in-house split and so on. In 2017, the average freelance copywriter is charging £339 per day – but the range is MASSIVE.
It’s interesting to note that copywriters haven’t really increased their rates in the last year – we’re not a greedy bunch and often undersell ourselves. I’ve heard from more than one copywriter that they feel guilty charging clients money for doing what they love!
You’ll also find that the best copywriters don’t charge by time anymore (and CERTAINLY not by word!); they’ll give you a project quote like pretty much any other tradesperson. Because that’s what they are: not a poet, not a novelist. Just someone who will give you a handmade product that will benefit you, for cash.
Look at it this way: your new ads would look very pretty but be 100% useless without words. And if you totally expect to pay £X for design but way less for copy, you may as well go for no words at all because you’re likely to get the same result either way.
Ads with no copy sometimes work. Websites with no copy NEVER work. Everything you do with your marketing works better when words and design combine for great user experience, emotive branding and strong conversion.