Finding the best writer for your project is not always easy. In fact, as a professional copywriter one of the most frequent questions I get asked by clients is, “How do I find a good writer?” My response is that they should be asking is, “How do I find the best writer for my project?”
There are many good writers out there, but not all are suited to do the best job for you. Following is a list of topics to consider when looking for best writer for your project:
- Working chemistry
It is important to keep these in mind when contacting a writer. A professional writer will be more than happy to spend some time to go over these topics with you. Having this list handy will help you quickly find the most qualified writer for your project.
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The first step in your search for the perfect writer, is knowing what final results you want from your writing project. For example, do you need a press release to help promote a new service or product or do you need to advertise it on your website. This will make a difference in the type of writer you are looking for. A press release will not require Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that website content requires. Once you are clear on your goal then you can start the search for the appropriate writer. It’s important to know what the goal is because it will help you make your expectations clear to the writer regarding your writing project.
The second step is to have a mutually clear understanding with the writer on what you expect. It’s best to have a written agreement so that you and the writer have a clear understanding of content needed, deadline and pay. The agreement can also include a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This is important if your writing project involves sensitive material or information you want to retain rights to. This is a very common request by clients so most writers are fine with signing them. From time to time you may also encounter a writer who may want you to sign an agreement on their end. Most of the time these agreements involve privacy issues regarding pen names and royalty concerns. If you have any questions about an agreement, contact an attorney before signing.[i]
When speaking of experience I am not only referring to any specific length of time but also the type of writing the writer has experience working on. Obviously, the more experience the writer has, the better. But that is assuming the writer you are considering is a strong writer. It’s better to hire a strong writer with less experience than a mediocre writer who boasts a lengthy experience in writing. After all, this is where skill comes into play.
It’s important to understand what your expectations are when it comes to your project. Are you looking to increase your sales? Then you will need the services of a skilled copywriter. Do you need a grant? Then your best option is to find grant writer that has written a grant that was approved. Looking to update your law firm’s website? Then hire a legal copywriter who has written the content, newsletters or Ebooks for a lawyer or a law firm.
For more information on legal copywriting see www.writergirl.biz/index.php?p=1_7_Legal-Copywriting As you can see, every writing project has specific needs to be handled by a certain type of writer. Be wary of writers who claim to be able to write grants and can write fiction as both require two very different writing skills.
Most professional writers have website. At the very least their website should include a summary of their skills, education and experience. These websites are a great way to get an idea of the writer’s voice and writing expertise. The writing should flow and not have any spelling errors. After all, if the writer did not take the time to carefully write their own website, then you can expect the same for your writing project.
A good example of what a writer’s website should look like is www.sabrinassiracusa.com
It should contain the information in an easy to read format and provide plenty of writing samples so you can get a feel for the writer’s voice and style.
References are fine if you can get them. References are not always available especially if the writer takes on mostly ghostwriting projects due to NDAs. It is advisable to place more emphasis on the quality of the writing and working chemistry between you and the writer. Any writer worth his salt will have a website where you can view writing samples and learn about their
background. If you still have doubts after viewing the website and speaking or exchanging emails with the writer, then I suggest you keep looking. Sometimes it just comes down to a gut feeling.
The main concern here is quality over quantity. Do you want to pay little and get little in return? While it is understandable to have clear and reasonable budget in mind, you need to consider that the quality of the copywriting will make a direct difference in the bottom line In other words, hire cheap and most likely get poor results. Things to avoid regardless of your budget are:
- Outsourcing foreign writers. The main problem with hiring a writer who is not a native English speaker is that most don’t have a firm grasp of the proper grammar, idioms, slang and the culture of English language. You will end spending many hours editing poor language skills.
- People who think they can write. Many people think they can write. Unfortunately, most are wrong. Writing is a skill that some are born with while others have to work extra hard to attain. Either way, not everyone can write. The best way to avoid these people is to always ask to see recent writing samples.
- Poor writers. I am referring to the quality of their work regardless of how long they have been writing. Again, the best way to avoid these people is to always ask to see recent writing samples.
- Cheap writers. There are many good writers out there that underprice their services for one reason or another. But many writers who charge a small fee do so because they are cut and paste artists. They will cut and paste content from various sources and present it as original writing. Not only will you end up with stale material but also with useless content as you will not be able to use due to plagiarism and copyright issues. Buyer beware!
As a former Human Resources employee for over 16 years, I learned that one of the main reasons people get fired is not the inability to do the job, but rather poor communication skills
and personality conflicts with managers and co-workers. This is the same for writers and clients. Many times lack of clear communication or clashing personalities halts a project or ends up producing less than satisfactory results for the client. The key here is for the client to have clear expectations with the writer. See the section
Expectations for a review of the importance of having a mutual understanding between you and the writer you choose for your project.
I highly recommend a brief interchange between you and the writer on the phone or through a few emails. With the ease of Skype and the Internet this should be very easy to accomplish regardless of where you live. I have clients all over the world thanks to the Internet.
Although the contact may be minimal at first, it will give you an idea of the writer’s customer service skills and interest in your project. You want a writer who takes the time to listen to you and seems genuinely interested in your project. It is important to establish clear communication from the get go with the writer working on your project.
And last but not least, when contacting the writers be respectful of their time. Please remember that until you hire that writer or are willing to pay for consultations, you are keeping them from working for paying clients. Most writers only get paid when they complete a project.
A Final Note
While there are many considerations, keeping in mind expectations, experience, skill, portfolio, references, budget and working chemistry will help you manage your writing project.
There are many good writers out there, but only one great writer for your writing project!
About The Author
Sabrina S. Siracusa has worked as a professional copywriter since 2007. She has created content for digital and print media for a variety of clients. Her portfolio is available for viewing at www.writergirlbizportfolio.wordpress.com
Contact her for projects and consultation at email@example.com
[i] Please note that the information provided in this Ebook is not intended to replace legal advice. If you have any questions regarding NDAs and other legal issues regarding a contract, contact an attorney specializing in contract law.