Hiring the Right Copywriter the First Time

8 min

Table of Contents

Share the knowledge on social media
Person looking at table plant

A good copywriter can make or break your content marketing campaigns and add a huge amount of internal value through helping out with messaging, documentation, communications and more. 

The problem that many companies face is that it can be difficult to find one – and even when you do, it’s then difficult to know what to look for and how to tell whether they’re any good. 

That’s why we’ve created this article to give you a helping hand. Let’s take a look at what you need to know to hire the right copywriter the first time round.

Types of Copywriting

There are dozens of different types of copywriter, and the most important thing you need to know before you start hiring is what kind of copywriter you need. It’s all well and good hiring a copywriter who specialises in writing blog posts, but that’s not going to help you out when it’s time to write a speech or the script for a video.

Because of that, the first step to hiring the right copywriter is to understand the different types of copywriting that are out there. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Blog writer: Blog copywriters are primarily tasked with writing blog content and so generally excel at medium-length copywriting jobs and at writing with an informal tone of voice. They often also have prior experience of CMS management and working with SEO teams to evaluate the success of their articles.
  • Brand copywriter: Brand copywriters work closely with your brand’s tone of voice and are typically responsible for things like taglines and evaluating marketing copy. They’re particularly common at marketing and advertising agencies.
  • Ghostwriter: Ghostwriters are a specialised type of writer that write on behalf of other people. They’re typically used to create longer form content, such as writing a book on behalf of a company’s CEO.
  • Marketing copywriter: Marketing copywriters are used to create copy for product packaging, direct mail and other marketing assets. They often work closely with SEO copywriters or have some sort of SEO training themselves so that they can write optimised web copy for company websites.
  • PR copywriter: PR copywriters specialise in public relations, typically writing things like editorial pieces and press releases that can be sent to news outlets in the hope of securing press coverage.
  • Scriptwriter: Scriptwriters specialise in writing scripts for videos and animations and are the marketing equivalent of screenwriters for movies and television. 
  • SEO copywriter: Search engine optimisation (SEO) copywriters work with keywords and other SEO best practices to create optimised web content that’s designed to be indexed by search engines and to rank towards the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Social media copywriter: Social media copywriters specialise in writing for social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. They’re well-versed with best practices for social networking and will typically also research hashtags and brands and public figures that can be mentioned.
  • Speechwriter: Speechwriters specialise in the spoken word and are typically used to create scripts for public speaking engagements, webinars and podcasts. While they can be useful for business purposes, they’re particularly popular with politicians, and so don’t be surprised if a potential speechwriter has a political background.
  • Technical copywriter: Technical copywriters specialise in writing technical content like help centre articles and product documentation. They often have a background in writing for web hosting companies, software-as-a-service companies and others that operate in the technical space.

What Makes a Good Copywriter?

Now that you know what your options are, you’re ready to take a closer look at your company’s needs and how your new copywriter is going to fit alongside your team. You’ll want to consider everything from seniority level to specialisation and the type of contract that you want to offer. 

Here are the main factors for you to consider:

  • Type of Copywriter: Based on the list that we shared above, identify the kind of copywriter that you need. Note that many copywriters can work across multiple fields, although they’ll usually only have one specialism.
  • Industry experience: Which industries do they have experience in? If they’ve worked in the same industry as your company or in one that’s related to it, they’re going to do a better job than if they have to learn everything from scratch.
  • Salary: What are the copywriter’s salary expectations, and do they align with the amount of money that you have available? If not, are they willing to negotiate? Be sure to familiarise yourself with the typical salaries for copywriters in your country and industry.
  • Experience Level: How experienced is the copywriter? This covers the industry experience that we talked about earlier, as well as the longevity of their career as a copywriter. The longer they’ve been working in the industry, the better their performance is likely to be.
  • Seniority: How senior will your copywriter be? Will they need experience of leading a team or will they be working autonomously? And will there be scope for them to grow with the role?
  • Contract Type: Will you be looking for someone to join your team on a full-time basis, or would you prefer a part-time writer? If so, will there be scope for them to eventually switch to a full-time role? Alternatively, consider hiring a freelancer if you don’t have enough work for a full-time hire.
  • Billing Method: If you decide to go with a freelance resource and to tap into the gig economy, be aware that different copywriters charge in different ways. The two most common ways for copywriters to bill for their work is per hour and per word. Paying per word helps you to know exactly how much you’re going to spend, while paying per hour is fairer to both the copywriter and your business and can often help you to save money when projects don’t take as long as initially expected. Many clients prefer to pay per piece, which is generally calculated based on the writer’s per word rate.
  • Cultural Fit: It’s always important to hire people who fit your company culture, and this is just as true for hiring a writer as it is for any other hire. Spend some time figuring out whether a potential hire is going to be a good fit or not.
  • Extracurricular activities: Many writers carry out extracurricular activities around their writing, such as publishing books or keeping a blog site. See whether a potential hire is doing anything above and beyond their day-to-day work and, if so, whether it showcases skills that they can put to work for you.

Need a little help figuring out what criteria your dream hire needs to meet? It’s better to do the work up front so that you don’t get caught out when you’re further along the process. Book a consultation with CJAM today so that we can help you to draw up your job specs and to match you with the talent that’s right for you.

What to Look for When Hiring a Copywriter

When you’re hiring a copywriter, your search will be dictated to a certain extent by the structure of your inbound marketing team and whereabouts you plan to place the copywriter. If you have a marketing operations team (and you should), they may want to have a say, too. 

As for where to look, that will depend upon whether you’re hiring a full-time employee or whether you’re using the gig economy. Freelancers can be found on sites like Upwork, while if you’re looking for an in-house copywriter then you may want to use LinkedIn and to advertise wherever you’ve traditionally advertised for job roles. Entry level copywriters can often be found by contacting local universities.

You’re going to want to have an internal shortlist of desirable attributes that are based on your responses to what we talked about in the previous section. It can also be a good idea to offer the copywriter a paid test with an active job for your organisation so that you can get a feel for how they perform in the real world.

As well as looking for the basics (i.e. a good grasp of spelling and grammar), you’ll want to see whether a given copywriter is able to work with your brand’s tone of voice and evaluate the work that they deliver.

Ultimately, you know your company best, and so your job here is to read the work that they present to you and to determine whether they’ve done a good job with it. Your gut will tell you whether it’s any good or not, so if all else fails and two candidates are as good as each other on paper, go with the one that your gut tells you is the most likely to be a success.

And if you don’t trust your gut, trust ours instead! At CJAM, we do all of the hard work for you, vetting hundreds of professional marketing creatives and copywriters and helping you to find the freelancer or the agency that’s right for you. Contact us today to learn more!

What’s Next?

y now, you should have a good idea of what to look for when you’re hiring a copywriter, and if you apply what you’ve learned today, you should give yourself the best possible chance of hiring the right copywriter the first time round.

Bear in mind that while most copywriters will do a pretty good job straight out of the gate, you may need to also hire an editor. Their job is to ensure that all of your copy is free of spelling and grammar mistakes and that everything you publish uses a consistent tone of voice. 

Even though most copywriters will proofread their own work, it doesn’t hurt to get a second pair of eyes, and ensuring that consistent tone of voice becomes incrementally more difficult as your copywriting team continues to grow.

On top of that, you should ensure that your copywriters are supported by graphic designers, marketing analytics executives, strategists, web designers, and anyone else that you think is appropriate. It’s rare to publish copy without accompanying visuals and other assets.

Need a little help?

At CJAM Marketing, we work hard to match people just like you to the right digital marketing agencies and consultants after just one meeting. We were established because our founder was sick of spending hundreds of hours searching for top talent, and our network of pre-vetted strategists, marketers, analysts, creatives and developers is on hand to save you a ton of time, too.

Our goal is to make the search easy so that you can spend less time searching for copywriters and more time servicing your clients and getting paid. We work with companies of all shapes and sizes and across a variety of different industries, and we’d love to welcome you to the CJAM family. Contact us today to find out more!

Sign up to our newsletter

Stay ahead of the game by building your foundational marketing knowledge and finding the best marketing partners.

Written By
Picture of Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi started CJAM Marketing after realizing that most business owners don’t know how to evaluate the value of a marketing agency or assess their own needs. Since every business is different not only in their needs but where they are at in the growth process, it isn’t a one size fits all. In the past 5 years, Behdad (or Bee) has met with and assessed 800+ marketing agencies and vetted them down to a lean 100 preferred partners across all marketing niches. After pairing hundreds of businesses with the right partners, he’s found his skillset lies in the matchmaking process. Featured in MarketWatch, Bloomberg, National Post and the Financial Post, Bee’s unique background in marketing, engineering, consulting, leadership, sales and strategy, has allowed him to serve as the conduit between business owners and the marketing teams they need.
Related Articles:
Looking to build the right marketing team?
We help you find the right partners

Every businesses owner must ask these 10 questions when hiring a marketing agency

Stop sacrificing growth by hiring average marketing agencies