Recently we covered 6 reasons that hiring a copywriter can benefit your online lingerie store.
Hiring someone in-house may not be financially feasible however, or even really necessary depending on the amount of writing work to be done. That’s where freelancers come in.
A freelance copywriter can be hired for a one-off project, or may be someone you end up working with regularly and long-term. It’s rarely necessary for them to visit your store – copywriters will typically work from home. You just send off your requirements and wait to receive an expertly-crafted set of words back – simple, right?
Here are eight steps that you should take to be sure you’ll not only maintain a good working relationship with your freelance copywriter, but also, receive copy that is what you want, need and expect.
Choosing your freelance copywriter
1. Pick someone who understands lingerie
From side slings to gussets and gores, lingerie comes with a lot of niche vocabulary. You’re much more likely to get great-quality copy if you work with a freelancer who understands – no, loves – lingerie. You could look for a specialist lingerie writer, or someone with experience in related topics such as fashion and beauty.
2. Look at their portfolio
Make sure your freelance writer can write! Ask to see examples of their previous work, ideally showing a similar format i.e. ask to see example press releases if it’s a press release you’re hiring them for. You could also check their website for references or feedback from previous clients.
However, don’t ask them to complete an unpaid ‘test’ piece. No one wants to work for free, and it tells your potentially freelancer that you don’t really value what they do. If you’d really like to see how they’d write for your brand specifically, propose a small, initial test piece and ask for a quote.
3. Check their writing style
When reading through a freelancer’s portfolio of work, ask yourself, “is this the right style for my brand?”. Many copywriters can tailor their tone of voice to different clients, but others have a signature style such as humorous or youthful and ‘cool’. Especially if you have a strong brand identity, you need a copywriter can match it.
4. Remember that you get what you pay for
Rarely is this old adage wrong. You may be tempted to hire someone from overseas who is offering rock-bottom prices, but don’t expect stellar results. You may not even get basic grammar and spelling! Weigh up your freelancers’ prices with their portfolios to decide who will give you the best copy within your budget.
Working with your freelance copywriter
1. Define your exact requirements
Speaking of money, your freelancer needs to know exactly what’s expected of them in order to provide a quote. Whether you’re hiring for blog posts, product descriptions or email newsletters, state the word count you’re expecting. For blog articles in particular, be clear about who is responsible for providing images. If you need copy that incorporates SEO, say so.
If you will be paying your copywriter per piece rather than per hour, check if that fee includes revisions or if requests for edits will incur an additional charge. Don’t forget to discuss deadlines too, and try not to spring last-minute work on them that you need urgently – writing well takes time, and they have other clients they’re working for too.
2. Consider creating a style guide
A style guide explains exactly how to format and style the copy. It will cut down on revisions or editing, and if you’re working with multiple writers, is essential for maintaining consistency between them. The guide can include everything from your preferences on British vs. American spelling, to whether sentences and paragraphs should have a maximum length.
Be sure to mention tone of voice too. Do you want your brand to sound playful, professional, provocative…? You may even want to include ‘personas’, descriptions of the typical person that you’re targeting. Your freelancer should know if that blog post they’re writing will be read by 20-something students or by 40-something housewives.
3. Ensure they have everything they need
Copywriters may be wordsmiths, but they’re not magicians. They can’t just pull words out of the air that perfectly describe what is it you’re doing or selling. Make sure you give them the necessary tools for the job – in the case of product descriptions for example, provide images along with any key points you want them to mention such as fabric content and fit notes.
4. Give them some freedom
The key to a successful brand-copywriter relationship is to find that perfect balance between providing specifics and letting them take the lead. The style guide that I’ve mentioned above is a very useful tool, however aim to keep it short and don’t micromanage your freelancer’s output.
Remember that you hired them for a reason – because they know how to write! Let them pick the words to describe that fancy chemise you’re selling. Chances are, they know just how to make it sound even more attractive to your customers than you could yourself.
If you’ve ever worked with a freelance copywriter for your lingerie business, do you have any tips to add to our list?
Tags: E-Commerce Marketing