Whether you need content for a website or for your offline communications, it’s always best to outsource the work to a copywriter.

But once you’ve decided to turn to a professional, how do you make the right decision? There are thousands of copywriters in the UK alone, so choosing the right one can be a time-consuming, laborious task.

Many copywriters will offer specific industry experience and expertise; others will offer general copywriting services. While most are excellent at what they do, only a few will be suited to your particular project.

So before you take the plunge and hire a UK copywriter, do your homework.

1. Take a close look at their website

Every copywriter or copywriting agency has a website, so take a few minutes to explore them. If you want a quick and easy way to ascertain the copywriter’s style and talent, the content on their website will certainly give you a decent indication.

2. Does the copywriter have relevant experience?

If your project requires a high level of technical understanding, it might be best to choose a copywriter with relevant knowledge and experience.

It is impossible for a copywriter to create content about a subject they don’t understand. Copywriters with an in-depth knowledge of a complex subject are relatively rare. They will possess an innate understanding of your project, but they will charge you appropriately.

There is another school of thought, however. The process of learning about a technical subject often makes it easier for a copywriter to write for the layperson. In my experience, technical copywriters often talk to industry professionals, rather than the general public.

3. Talk to the copywriter

Search for ‘copywriter’ on Google, and you’ll probably come across a lot of ‘content mills’. Sites like Freelancer and Copify offer copywriting services for budget prices, but they don’t give you the opportunity to develop a relationship with the person writing your content.

Copify signs up writers on the basis of a short writing sample. Their writers then fight over scraps on a jobs board, and some of these scraps pay just £3. The only way a Copify writer can make a decent living is to fire off dozens of these small jobs a week – and that promotes corner-cutting. Moreover, procuring your content this way means you will never be able to speak with your copywriter. Instead, your communications will need to take place via a well policed messaging system.

Call your copywriter and have a chat. Ask about their experience and their specialities. Ask about how they work, and see if you can both strike up a good working rapport – which will be crucial to the success of your project.

4. Check the copywriter’s work history

If you want an indication of a copywriter’s suitability for your project, take a good look at their portfolio. Is their writing style suited to your industry, your brand and your target customer?

Also, take a close look at the copywriter’s client base. Have they written copy for companies and organisations similar to yours? If they’re claiming they have written for large corporations, can they back up these claims with a wide and varied client base?

5. Assess the copywriter’s level of professionalism

You should be able to gauge a copywriter’s suitability from your early communications. A good professional will always insist on an initial telephone conversation. This should then be followed up with an email detailing the particulars of the project at hand.

If you’re given a quick quote, proceed with caution. A copywriter needs to spend time researching every project, and preparing content in detail. Only after fully assessing your project will a copywriter be able to give you a price.

Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to pay a deposit, as this is standard practice for new clients. However, don’t pay more than 20 percent. I ask my new clients for 10 percent, which simply demonstrates that they’re serious about hiring my services.

A good copywriter will always be at the end of a phone. In addition, they’ll work collaboratively with you throughout the project. Personally, I like to offer my clients unlimited rewrites, as I’m passionate about giving them perfect copy. However, each copywriter has their own approach, so make sure you nail them down on terms and conditions before handing over any cash.

6. Cheapest isn’t always best

OK, so you can get 300 words for less than a tenner on Copify, but you can’t really be sure what you’re paying for until it lands in your inbox. Approach a professional copywriter and ask for their best price. Cheaper content could end up costing you money if it alienates readers or fails to deliver the right message.

Think of your copywriting needs in terms of the return on investment it will deliver. While you might pay more for quality copy in the short run, it will increase your bottom line over time.

I’m a UK copywriter with experience in many commercial sectors. If you need web content, blog posts, marketing copy or journalistic pieces, call me on 07450866948. Alternatively, get in touch via my contact page.