How to Save Money with a Copywriter

If you are planning to work with a copywriter, you’ll probably want to keep costs under control. Whether you are spending £300 on a sales page, or several thousand pounds on a website, there are a number of ways you can help to keep costs down. In this article, I talk about how to save money with a copywriter with these six steps. (If you’re still undecided about working with a copywriter, you might want to read these posts first: Does Copywriting Cost Money? The Hidden Costs of Copywriting and Copywriting Rates: What do Copywriters Charge in 2017?)

  1. Create a fantastic copywriting brief
  2. Share your tone of voice guidelines
  3. Share your research
  4. Share your content strategy
  5. Carry out your own keyword research
  6. Write the first draft yourself

How to Save Money with a Copywriter

1. Create a fantastic copywriting brief

Having a fantastic copywriting brief is a good first step in keeping your copywriting costs down. First, having a great brief, means that your copywriter is able to price your project accurately. Knowing exactly what the subject matter, deliverables and timelines are help a copywriter to plan. And knowing what’s in the plan helps the copywriter know what to charge.

If your brief is not clear, then guesswork comes into play, which means there’s a chance you will pay more than you need to.

Second, a good copywriting brief will set out clearly what the expectations of the copywriting project are. With these expectations set out at the start of the project, your copywriter knows what is in scope and what is out of scope; what is wanted and what is not wanted. This means that your copywriter is not wasting time (and your money) on work that is outside the scope of the project.

Third, if you have a good copywriting brief, it means there will be less back-and-forth between you and your copywriter, refining the end product. You will have probably agreed on the number of amends or revisions included at the start of the project. If something isn’t clear in your copywriting brief it means it is more likely that additional rounds of amends or revisions are needed.

A good copywriting brief will also help to cut down the amount of time your copywriter needs to spend on research.

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2. Share your tone of voice guidelines

Another way to save money with a copywriter is to send them your tone of voice guidelines in advance. Tone of voice guidelines are crucial to ensuring that your written branding applies to your new content.

The easiest way to explain it is to compare it to a logo design. If you were having a logo designed and you did not tell your graphic designer that your colour scheme was blue, do not be surprised if your new logo turns out to be red. Similarly, if you do not tell your copywriter that your tone of voice is professional, you shouldn’t be surprised to receive a piece of copy that is more informal.

One reason why you’ll be working with a copywriter is because they are skilled writers who can adapt their language to each business. So help them out a little. If a copywriter has to comb through your website to find out how you talk about your brand, this will take time (and cost money). If a copywriter has to schedule a call with you to find out how you want your brand to be spoken about, this will take time (and cost money).

This time (and money) can be saved by providing a thorough set of tone of voice guidelines upfront.

Now, suppose your regular copywriter can’t fit you in for your latest project, and you need to work with someone else. Your new copywriter will also have to spend time looking at your current content, or speaking directly with you to find out about your tone of voice. Wouldn’t it be easier all-round if you could just send a document?

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3. Share your research

The difference between a copywriter and a content writer comes down to their use of evidence and research. A content writer merely wants to put words on the page in order to keep your attention. A copywriter wants to drive an action, usually related to sales or leads, and will use all the research available to inform his/her copy.

The research you should share with your copywriter can include (but is not limited to): customer insight, product research, sales data, web analytics and keyword research. All of these can help a copywriter to know the audience, know the product, identify the sales funnel, and create the triggers that will make your audience take an action.
Without access to research, you could lose money through having weaker copy that doesn’t engage your audience as powerfully as it could. Or your copywriter may spend more time carrying out this research him/herself, at a higher cost to you.

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4. Share your content strategy

A common myth around copywriting is that it’s just putting words on a page. But this is simply not true.

'Your content will not work effectively in isolation.'Click To Tweet

In order to create copy that has the biggest impact, your copywriter will need to see the bigger picture. Where are the readers are coming from? Where does the copy needs to get them to? What other touchpoints will they have had with your company? What will they already know? What do they need to know?

Your content strategy will answer a lot of questions your copywriter will have. If you can share this at the start, then you will be able to cut down on the amount of time your copywriter spends on preparation work (and save you money with your copywriter).

This is another one of those do-once, use-often tasks, as you will be able to share your content strategy with every copywriter you work with.

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5. Carry out your own keyword research

Another route to save money with a copywriter is to carry out your own keyword research. Now, to be clear, not all copywriters will allow you to do this. SEO copywriting is a specialty in it's own right. But, if you are working with a copywriter that doesn't specialise in SEO copywriting, you may be able to save money here.

However, if you have an SEO strategy that you are working to, this can be a way to cut down the research phase of your copywriting project (and therefore save money). SEO copywriters generally have higher-powered keyword research tools than small businesses do, so you may lose out in keyword research quality.

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6. Write the first draft yourself

Now we're pushing it a bit with this one. Not all copywriters will allow you to write your own first draft. In fact, we're now in the realms of working with a copyeditor, not a copywriter. But working with a copyeditor would be a way to save money with your copywriter.

Because copyediting takes less time than copywriting, you could save a lot of money following this approach.

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By now you should have a few ideas about how to save money with a copywriter. A common theme that came up while I was compiling this list was preparation and research.

The options I've suggested have the least impact on the quality of the final copy – that does not mean there will be no impact.

Generally, the only way to save money with a copywriter is to cut down on the areas of the project where you can supply information, instead of your copywriter spending time finding it out.

Tone of voice guidelines. Content strategy. Research. SEO strategy. Get these in order and your can make your copywriter very happy (and save yourself some money).

Neal Brown
 

Neal is a freelance copywriter and consultant helping small business owners find their voice and be heard in a noisy marketplace.

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