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How to Choose and Work With the Best Freelance Copywriters

by Richard Pelletier  |  
July 22, 2008

I've lost track of the number of times clients have said to me, "I've never worked with a freelance copywriter before. How's this work?" I've also heard, "We hired a freelance copywriter once before. It didn't go too well."

To the first I usually say, "It all depends." And to the second, "I'm sorry to hear that."

Given how critically important effective content is right now and how important copywriters are to the creation of same, it might help the cause of world peace and mutual understanding to shine a little light on things.

How do you choose a good freelance copywriter and how do you increase the odds of getting through a successful project?

This topic could fill a book, but we will spare you that. The goal here is to provide you with a few ideas to help you make better decisions that can pay real dividends.

A Zillion Scribes in a Million Places

Type "freelance copywriter" into Google and watch what happens. Almost half a million results. You'll see stuff like "Persuasive phrases that deliver sales." "Psychological Copywriting That Helps You Legally Pick People's Pockets." "Killer copy. Will do whatever it takes." My all-time favorite is "Our copy grabs the reader and forces them to buy your product." Whoa, baby. That's some promise. Can we get fries with that?

I can't imagine what it would be like to have a genuine and urgent need for a really good, completely reliable copywriter only to have to sort through all of that clutter. I can hear Marvin Gaye signing "Mercy, Mercy Me."

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Richard Pelletier is a writer for business. He's from the East Coast but now lives in Seattle. He is principal conductor at Lucid Content. He is one charming cat living with two sometimes difficult kitties.

LinkedIn: Richard Pelletier

Twitter: @lucidcontent

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  • by Neil J. Squillante Tue Jul 22, 2008 via web

    We have found that interviews and writing samples are a waste of time. We barely even look at resumes. What works best is giving the prospect a writing test. This way, you can evaluate how someone will actually perform on the work you'll give them.

    The only caveat is that a prospect can obtain editorial help from a friend unbeknownst to you (until they turn in their first assignment and it's vastly inferior to their writing test). Back in the day, we used to have candidates come to our office to take the test, but that's no longer feasible since we now work with writers all over the country.

  • by Richard Pelletier Tue Jul 22, 2008 via web

    I sure can appreciate the dilemma that many businesses find themselves as they seek good writers to work with. I am sure that many writers would be willing to take such a test, but I wonder how many seasoned professionals, with a long list successful projects behind them would be willing to do so.
    Thanks for your comment, Neil.

  • by Neil J. Squillante Tue Jul 22, 2008 via web

    Richard, we find that lots of experienced people will take our tests. It might be the nature of the beast as we tend to hire people for long-term projects like writing a daily blog, white papers, etc. We never have one-off projects. Evaluating people it too time-consuming to work with them only once. If we like someone, we work with them indefinitely. I should not that we're an ad agency so we always have projects in the pipeline.

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