5 attributes of a good freelance copywriter

Like going out on a first date, finding a decent copywriter can be a daunting process. You want more than just a pretty face (one would hope) and you want a freelance copywriter who can do more than just produce technically precise copy; a good freelance copywriter will have other attributes that all add up to make a beautiful whole.

So, how do you know if you’ve found a good one?

1.    They can communicate

An experienced freelance copywriter will have a high level of confidence when it comes to communication. She will be just as happy chatting on the telephone or in-person, as she is at the end of an email. This is good for you as she may need to talk to people on behalf of your business.

However, writers are often introverts by nature – they wouldn’t be able to spend hours at a time alone at their computer otherwise, as such they are better at listening than talking, vital for understanding your needs and those of your customers.

A good copywriter is curious and will want to know as much as possible about the job you want her to do. She will ask questions until she’s satisfied. She won’t struggle with a frustrating problem but will ask you for help.

A good copywriter will get in contact when she says she will, is responsive to your emails, and uses proper grammar in her emails. A copywriter who is slapdash with her emails will likely produce sloppy copy, and this will come across to your readers.

One who works pro-actively to generate business, such as approaching you to see if you need a copywriter – is highly likely to be proactive in other areas too, such as getting results for your business.

2.    They have form

If she approached you for work, a good copywriter will be familiar with your industry because although she may not necessarily know the nuts and bolts, she will have done her homework. One who has a portfolio tailored to your sector is likely to be a good bet.

A good copywriter will understand the business world and business processes, will understand customer behaviour and basic concepts of copywriting, such as features and benefits.

3.    They are enthusiastic

A good copywriter is excited at the prospect of writing about your business, no matter what it is (yes, even if it is laser cutters). She’ll love writing, so to her nothing she’s writing about is dreary. A copywriter who sounds bored, unenthused or disappointed when talking about the job is unlikely to produce good copy.

4.    They have high standards

A good copywriter is self-motivated and will work efficiently and meet deadlines. However, she’ll probably have other clients so don’t expect her to jump when you say so.

The best copywriters will welcome constructive criticism – you don’t want to be walking on eggshells when feeding back. Although you don’t want her too compliant – this leads to mediocre content.

A good copywriter is one that wants to get it right. She wants you to be happy with the work she’s done because she wants your repeat custom. One who asks for feedback and testimonials will have high standards and will be continuously looking to improve the work she does for her clients.

5.    They’re not cheap

Like you, she has a living to make, and any copywriter worth her salt will not work for free. In fact, she’ll probably be more expensive than you expect because she does her job properly. If you’re unsure about her credentials, ask for samples of work with other businesses, or ask her to do a small job for you (paid) to give you the confidence that they can take on the bigger, more complicated jobs.

So, there you are – 5 signs you’ve found a great copywriter. If you find her, treat her well and she’ll always make time to do a great job for you.  But remember – no matter how good a freelance copywriter is, her work is only as good as the brief she’s been given, but that’s a topic for another time…