Working with a Copywriter

‘Drown Your Copywriter in Data’

– David Deutsch from ‘Million Dollar Marketing Secrets’

The question of whether one should write their own copy is frequently asked.  The information for this post is provided courtesy of David Deutsch, author of ‘Million Dollar Marketing Secrets.’

The Care and Feeding of a Copywriter

First of all, drown your copywriter in data. Provide all the background you’ve got. Don’t hold back. All your promotional materials. All your competitor’s promotional materials. Every article you’ve ever clipped. Every relevant book on your bookshelf. Let them decide what’s important and what isn’t.You never know where they may find that spark of a fact that ignites a million dollar idea.

Don’t push for answers. Give them time to digest and sleep on things. It’s taken you years to get to know your business. Don’t expect your consultant to learn it overnight. If you have an overnight deadline for which you need copy, change it. If you find a copywriter who can also consult with you on marketing, this is an ideal situation since nothing is lost in the translation. If you find a writer who can do marketing planning or a marketing planner who can also write, treat them royally.

However don’t let the two functions merge into one. Insist on seeing a marketing plan before you see copy. It’s easy to let this essential step slip through the cracks under time constraints and in the excitement of getting things moving. Whatever financial arrangement you work out, make sure your copywriter or marketing consultant feels
they are being paid sufficiently.

The difference may work out to be a few dollars in your marketing budget, but there’s a world of difference in the results you’ll get from a copywriter or marketing consultant who feels they’ve been dealt with fairly. Be sure to pay promptly. Most consultants are on a very tight cash flow leash and appreciate promptness almost as much as quantity.

Pay something in advance to start things off whenever possible. This will endear you to them forever.

When choosing someone to work with, ask for references and do call them. Examine the evidence: Does this person return your calls promptly?  Do they send you what was promised? Do they answer your questions to your satisfaction? Examine your gut feelings. Do you feel good about this person? Do you learn something when you talk to them? Could add something to your marketing team?

Here are some questions to ask a copywriter that you’re thinking of using:

What projects have you worked on which are similar to ours in terms of the product or service itself, the target markets, or the approaches used to reach those markets?

Can you give me an idea of what your range of fees is? Do you have a minimum? How do you charge (by the hour, fee, etc.)? ! How long does it usually take you to complete a job like the one I’ve described?

Do any thoughts, ideas or questions come to mind on how you might approach this project?

Here are some questions not to ask:

What have you worked on that’s exactly the same as what we do? — It’s seldom necessary to work on a product or service that’s exactly the same.  Good copywriters are good learners. Some experience in your general field should be sufficient.

Can you tell me, right now, exactly what approach you would take with this? — Good copywriters don’t shoot from the hip. They may have a few initial ideas, but they will probably want to take time to examine many possible approaches and choose the best one.

What if you do an ad for me and I’ll pay you for it if I like it? — It shouldn’t get to that point. Copywriting is a collaborative effort between copywriter and client. You should agree beforehand on content and approach. You should know this writer’s work well enough to be able to trust their judgement. Good copy is not a matter of what you like or what I like. It’s about what makes the prospect take action.

A good copywriter can do more than write words for you. They can be a million dollar marketing partner!