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Four Major Reasons You Should Hire a Copywriter

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Let's get something straight. You're not a copywriter.

Do you have qualifications and/or training in writing? Have you spent years writing for brands? Do you spend every day of your life writing? Can you justify every point, word, and punctuation mark in your writing? Do you constantly research how you can improve your writing?

If not, you're not a copywriter.

Now that we've cleared that up, here's the No. 1 rule for creating super-effective copy: If you're not a copywriter, don't write copy.

You wouldn't code a website if you're not a coder, you wouldn't build a car if you're not an engineer, and you wouldn't fly a plane if you're not a pilot.

So if you're not a writer, please stop writing.

Recently, I went on a self-indulgent rant about this strange phenomenon where everyone and their dog thinks they can write, but I neglected the following important questions for the sake of brevity and wit. What is the actual value a copywriter brings to your business? Should copywriters really be a priority for small businesses with small budgets? How can a copywriter write about your business better than you can?

To answer those questions, here are the four most important reasons you should hire a copywriter to handle your copy.

1. Copywriters know how to talk to people

You know when you say things like "Our trustworthy staff provides a professional, high-quality service at an amazing value so you can't afford not to choose us"? That makes people want to punch you in the face. Is that how you talk to your friends in a bar or at a dinner party? No, because if you did, you wouldn't have any friends.

And writing is more than just talking to people like they're real people. A good copywriter knows what motivates audiences and what their pain points and their needs are. Copywriters can use all that to write effective, personal copy that sells.

2. Copywriters know what sells

Did you know there are certain words and phrases in the English language that, when written into headlines and Web pages, will exponentially increase the selling power of a piece of writing? A copywriter knows that.

Do you know when to use long copy and when to use short copy? A copywriter does.

Do you know to analyze your competitors' copy to see how they're selling? Yep, you guessed it... A copywriter does.

3. Copywriters know how to stay objective

If you're writing for your own business, everything is important to you. It's your baby. You've built something, and you want to proudly talk about every single part of it.

Your audience probably doesn't give a damn about half of that stuff. Your customers just want to know why they should give you their money. Decent, disciplined copywriters are brutal toward their own work and cut away anything that doesn't matter, focusing on what really resonates with your audience.

4. Copywriters know how to manipulate language

Language can be fast-paced and exciting. Or language can meander slowly yet purposefully through detailed thoughts and extensive explanations about a tremendous number of things. There are all sorts of techniques you can use with the English language to give your words selling power. You can get your customers excited with a burst of emotion and then slow them down at exactly the right point.

A copywriter knows how to take your audience on an emotional journey by using different sentence structures and word play. Structure, punctuation, and rhetorical devices come as naturally to a copywriter as tax calculations come to an accountant.

Moreover, a copywriter has the skills to considerably grow your audience and increase conversion rates through the power of copy. But when you do the copywriting yourself, without the years of experience and without the formal training and qualifications, you're just "pissing in the wind," as an old boss of mine would say. You'll have copy, sure. But it won't work. Best case scenario, you're wasting an opportunity. Worst case scenario, you're actively damaging your brand.

* * *

Copy is essential to almost every business. It's needed on websites, apps, brochures, ads, email campaigns, and pretty much everything else.

Unfortunately, so many businesses try to tackle it themselves rather than hire a professional. The result is the equivalent of drawing a crude stick figure rather than hiring an illustrator.

The good thing is that copywriters pay for themselves. Once you get some effective copy going, you'll start to see more visitors, more downloads, more page views, more inquiries, more investment, more engagement, more, well, everything.

You're not a writer, so hire a professional, as you would for anything else.

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Jim Compton-Hall is a freelance copywriter at Jim Writes Stuff and specializes in helping smaller companies find their voice.

LinkedIn: Jim Compton-Hall

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  • by Ford Kanzler Thu Feb 4, 2016 via web

    Completely agree Jim. Problem is and will continue being that others are (mostly) literate, ergo they write. I didn't say write effective marketing copy. But they write. And the criticize. And they change their minds about communications direction. Oh, and they pay our fee, so they control the game. Did I mention a few are control freaks?
    Establishing your professional expertise from the outset can be helpful to the above challenges. Having an agreed upon communications strategy is also essential to clearer direction for tactical execution. Even then it may not be enough.
    Best story on this was a client CEO who liked re-writing his high-powered, well-respected (award-winning) agency's ad copy. At a very costly, all-hands team meeting the ad agency principal pointed out the CEO's copy nit-picking as unhelpful, demoralizing and perhaps not a great use of a CEO's time. Going a step further, he said to the client CEO in front of all assembled, "If you ever want a copy-writing job, come and see me." Pretty ballsy but it worked. :)

  • by Loverly Thu Feb 4, 2016 via web

    Huh. Sounds like you're pissed off because people aren't hiring you. So why bother chasing and berating them? Maybe your copy's not as good as you thought.

  • by Jim Compton-Hall Fri Feb 5, 2016 via web

    I think you're right. I don't think it even occurs to a lot of small businesses to hire a copywriter because they can write, right?

    Once you've got the client then it's a different story, of course. Establishing your expertise is a good way to go. Love that story about the CEO.

    Haha, I suppose it does a little. But it's less about berating anyone, or asking them to hire me specifically (it's my job to pitch my services and if I can't convince someone why they need a copywriter then that's my fault, not theirs) and more about trying to educate people that there's a world of difference between amateur copy and professional copy.

    I think Ford hit the nail on the head when he said that everyone can write but not everyone can write effective copy. The problem is that often, small businesses don't even think about this and I think they suffer for it.

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