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Complete guide to assigning tasks a freelance copywriter

March 7th, 2013 | | Posted in category Blogging Infographics Internet Marketing Writing

Using freelance copywriter's services is common practice now. Many Internet marketers are individual entrepreneurs and it is not profitable for them to have an in-house copywriter. Even SEO companies often use freelance workforce to reduce expenditure. But working with a freelance copywriter raises a very important question:

How to explain to a copywriter what you need

Yes, it is a very important question. You have a doer that has never worked for your company and hardly knows anything about it, and you assign him a task to write a perfect text for any of your business purposes.

I often hear people saying that they are not going to spend time on writing a task for a copywriter almost as big as the expected copy itself, as it is not profitable and they could have written the text themselves, unless they wouldn't turn to copywriters' services.

There is a good point in it. But let's face the truth: most people pay to writers not because they want to save time, but because they are not writers themselves. As we delegate work to developers and designers, we need to delegate writing to professionals.

We all can read and socialize through written language, so many folks think that it is easy to write a copy, and copywriters just get money for things everyone can do. Of course, this is wrong, and always will be. Maybe I’m telling some weirdly obvious things, but the truth is that most of my employers were not aware of that.

Being able to socialize through written text and being a good copywriter are the same things as being able to open Photoshop and create some random PSD file using favorite colors in comparison with creating a fully-featured web site design. So yes, a task, or a statement of work is vital. A perfect thing is to make a plan or a draft for such tasks and use it every time you need to order a copy. Here we do not cover the questions of deadlines and payment, as they refer to general management issues and are important not only for writers, but for all freelance doers you work with.

1. Define the type of the text. It may be:

  • Press release
  • Blog post
  • Website page text
  • Forum post
  • Social media post
  • Mail copy
  • Ads text
  • Landing page
  • Leaflet
  • etc

If you cannot define the type of the text correctly, pay more attention to other points. But normally this is the key point as it gives the canvas and initial understanding of the future text.

2. Define the aim of the text. For instance:

  • To inform the reader about new information, feature, piece of news etc
  • To convince to follow the account
  • buy a product
  • subscribe,
  • register
  • share the article
  • to comment
  • leave some personal data or thoughts on the subject

3. Describe the audience that will read the text. All in all I advise to have a draft that contains your targeted audience description, including  facts about occupation, age, interests, earnings, device and OS preferences etc. It is helpful on all stages of any Internet project, so you can share it with all of you doers.  Only remember that this information needs to be updated regularly, at least yearly, but better every six months. It is also important if you need to retarget your audience: say, engage more older users.

4. Describe the style of your future text. A good way to define it is to show a proper text of the same style. You may need a text that is:

  • Scientific
  • Classical
  • Casual
  • Journalistic
  • Official
  • Humorous
  • Mixed

5. If it is possible, show the location where the text will be shared. It may be a website page, a distributed PDF file, a mail. Also if you are going to publish it anywhere except for your site, it should be mentioned too. Do not make a mystery out of it, because this fact may influence the text to a certain extent. If you want to get the text for a project that is not opened now, give the writer any concept descriptions or prototypes for him to get the idea of the project.

6. Define the number of characters or words you want to get. This point is optional, as in case of an about page text you may have certain restrictions that come from the web design, and a blog post can vary from 3000 to 15 000 characters depending on the situation. So if you have any thoughts on that or any strong restrictions, do not forget to inform the doer.

7. Tell which title you want to get (a short, a long one, which keywords to use etc). Also do not forget about the presence of subtitles and their qualities.

8. Give any personal thoughts on the text. Name the facts you want to be mentioned, give the plan if you have it on your mind, even random associations will do.

9. Show the texts that you like and that you hate.

10. If you have competitors that are better than you (and you certainly do have them), show their texts to the copywriter. For example, if you need a landing page for organic traffic, find a link to your competitor's landing page and point out the things that can be borrowed or overlapped.

11. Give a list of keywords that should be used in the text, including the number and type of mentioning. This also goes to the links, if you need them, give the anchors or the terms of link usage. Remember that very often copywriters are aware of major SEO and Internet Marketing rules, but it is too much to expect deep optimizations knowledge from them. The best way to do that is to create a table with keywords, links, types of mentions, number of mentions etc.

If you do not have a list of keywords, build it with the help of Rank Tracker, using numerous suggestion tools and considering the keywords metrics to choose the best ones.

12. Mention html tags if they should be used (italic, bold for keywords etc)

13. Point out should the writer create meta title, description and keywords. If yes, give them ideas and terms for length, keyword usage. If you are not sure about their usage, go to WebSite Auditor and use its competitors research feature. It will give you suggestions based on top-10 competitors in SERP, and you may pass them to the writer.

14. Be precise and avoid general phrases. Try not to use words that may be interpreted in different ways. Adjectives 'beautiful', 'marvelous', 'perfect' and ‘dreadful’ are subjective. Your sense of beauty may vary from the one of a copywriter's, so be kind to explain what you mean by these words.

15. Give the information about your company. Again, this information is needed to be prepared to be used any time you need to tell the facts about your company to a freelance worker, not only a writer. It may be an about page of your company website, a presentation, a text description, a portfolio.

16. If you need a text containing certain facts or you need a compilation of facts then put the links to the articles or attach the information you want to be used. Remember that a copywriter is not likely to be skilled in your niche, and if you already have certain suggestions, pass them to the doer. In case you need a rewritten content include a link to the original text that needs to be rewritten.

 

Remember that a skilled copywriter will ask you if you have missed something important. But he is not obliged to do that, and he is likely not to ask in most of the cases. The more detailed the brief is, the more chances you get for your text to satisfy your business needs.



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  • PMG India

    This question is very difficult for me. but you have better described it.

  • Natiq Nazir

    The concept that we all get when the word freelancing comes to mind
    varies with individuals but what I think how it should be perceived is
    as a business opportunity and not in the sense of an ordinary job.