Which writer’s right for you?

How to choose the best copywriters for the job

You probably expect we’ll instantly say “choose Blackad!” But, no – we’re not right for every job (and not every job is right for us).

Timescales, areas of expertise, working processes and – of course – cost are all factors in choosing a copywriter. Here’s our guide to getting it right.

First, write a wish list

Before you contact any agencies, it helps if you know what you’re looking for.

If you want a new website or brochure you might want to approach full service agencies who can see the whole project through from start to finish. Then again, if you already have in-house designers, you might just be looking for some well-written copy.

Naturally, budget will come into it. Full service agencies tend to be more expensive than copywriting alone. But – as with every service - it’s always worth asking for a quote.

Find some contenders

Once you’ve decided what you need, it’s a good idea to compile a ‘longlist’. Ask your business contacts, send out a call for recommendations via LinkedIn or simply go to Google. If you’re using Google, it’ll help to tailor your search, perhaps by looking for agencies in your local area or with specific terms such as ‘digital copywriting’ if it’s for a website.

It’s also worth noting that many websites will have the name of the agency that created them right at the bottom of each web page. So, if you see a site you like, you can find out who built it straight away.

Make a shortlist

The length of your long and short lists simply depends on how much time you have to research and talk to each agency. As a rough guide, a shortlist of 3-5 agencies is probably about right.

At this stage, scrutinise the agencies’ own websites. Look for basic things like spelling and grammar, but also the overall site design – does it feel professional to you? Most agency sites should have examples of their previous work (if they don’t – run), so see if you like what they’re doing for other clients. Don’t worry too much if there aren’t any examples from your sector – it’s more about the tone of voice. Look for examples where the copy reads in a way that sounds like your business.

Pick up the phone

When you’re happy with your shortlist, give the agencies a call. Of course, your own common sense and instinct will tell you a lot, but it’s also worth asking some direct questions (a good agency won’t be fazed).

Tell them what you’re looking for and ask them how they’d deliver it. You want them to ask about taking a brief and whether or not you have brand guidelines. Any copywriter can throw some words on a page, but the more questions they ask, the more informative the copy will be.

At this stage, for larger projects a good agency may be willing to provide you with some sample copy free of charge (this may just be a few paragraphs, to illustrate the tone and style they’ll use for your brand). If so, be prepared to give a detailed brief – we only get the copy right if we know what clients are looking for.

The write price

As you’d expect, agencies have different pricing structures (and every client a different budget). What matters is that you get clear costs up front. But remember, the agency can only give you an honest price if the size and scale of the job is clear. (Projects that grow arms and legs also grow in cost, so be as prescriptive as you can from the start.)

As a general rule, if a quote seems dramatically high or low, consider why that might be. If it’s low, does it mean the writer isn’t very experienced? If it’s higher than you were expecting, it may simply be that the cost includes briefing time, any research the copywriter will have to do, and subsequent amends.

Whatever the job, a good agency will always find the time to discuss what you need.

Want to know a bit more?

Call Alan on 0203 603 7740, or email copywriters@blackad.co.uk