I have been commissioning B2B copy, internal and external, since the dawn of the PC and up to the present social media content frenzy.
In all my roles as marketing manager, director, and CMO, I have received crap copy, I have missed deadlines, and I have busted budgets by using the wrong writers for the job.
Copywriting jobs are certainly not all equal: They require different skills, different types and levels of experience, and different styles that come at very different prices. Finding the right fit is difficult, but it is possible to reduce the risks of wasted time, money, and (in my case) hair.
Analyzing the jobs that went wrong for me over the years, I find three common issues:
- The writer was incompatible.
- The writer category was incorrect.
- The writer selection process was incomplete.
Many writers come as a result of recommendations from colleagues; but, as with restaurants, opinions can be subjective (one man's meat, etc.). Copy requires close working relationships, so personalities are important. The wrong match can make the process painful.
I've learned to avoid—at all cost—three types of B2B copywriter:
- Enthusiastic Amateurs—lovely people who haven't got a clue about B2B. They may be great at restaurant reviews or describing jewelry, but they can't cut the mustard (sorry...) in business.
- Budding Bards—just filling in until they write their bestseller, movie script, chartbuster... They write for beauty, not to drive engagement; and for them time is a nebulous concept, so deadlines stretch, a lot.
- Billy Big Nuts—knows it all; he is an expert in every industry and honors us with his presence, opinions, fees, and more opinions. Often, the most frustrating type of B2B copywriter.
Finding the right people is tough. Google search spits out thousands of them; associations, hundreds; and content mills have "experienced" writers willing to work for £10... yeah, right!