I expect to get hate mail and backlash from some copywriters out there for this article. I’ve heard all the arguments before, and even had them compare their skills to mine as an ecommerce web designer. After all, anyone can create a website today right? Templated website builders now allow anyone to create their own website and sell online, so why should they hire me? Copywriters are in the same boat: this is something you can do yourself, so why should you hire someone to do it for you?
Here’s the thing: You are the expert on what you are selling, so it makes sense that you should write your own copy. I’m a huge believer in creating content – lots of content that your followers will consume. If you hire a copywriter to create all of your content, you are either a very large company, or you will soon go broke. Copywriters will try to sell you on their services using arguments like freeing up your time, or that you aren’t any good at it, so let them do it for you. Most of those arguments are rubbish. The fact is, you need to be producing your own content. If you aren’t good at it, then you need to learn to at least become moderately proficient. Weekly blog posts, social media posts and other ongoing content is best produced in house by you, the expert on what your business has to offer.
I read an article recently about why a certain web designer doesn’t let her clients hire copywriters, and I completely agree. The underlying reason why people think they should hire a copywriter is something that no copywriter can solve for them, and that is the ability to sell their product or services to their customers. This is something you MUST learn yourself. You can read the complete article here. If you have not given enough thought to your unique selling proposition and marketing strategy where you cannot clearly convey your message to someone else, you have a fundamental business problem. You absolutely must fix these issues first.If you have not given enough thought to your unique selling proposition and marketing strategy where you cannot clearly convey your message to someone else, you have a fundamental business problem. Click To Tweet
Once you have your business issues resolved, writing everyday copy should be pretty easy. Just pretend you are talking to a friend. Nobody likes to be sold to, so simply tell a story about your product or service as if you are explaining it to a single person. Use and active voice and be concise. Use the rule of three when listing features and benefits. Address any objections upfront. If you follow these few simple steps, you will produce your own copy that is better than what a third party person is likely to come up with, because it will be coming from what you truly believe in. It will be more authentic and will resonate with your audience.
Simple steps to writing effective copy:
- Explaining your product or service to a single person
- Use an active voice
- Be concise
- Use the rule of three when listing features and benefits
- Address any objections upfront
Still…I believe that you should engage a professional copywriter for your business. What? Here’s why… There are times when it not only makes sense to hire a professional copywriter, but you would be foolish not to. Think of it this way: You write emails and letters to your suppliers and customers all the time, but when it comes time to have a legal agreement, you get your lawyer to create it for you because it is too important. The same is true with your marketing. Routine tasks are something you need to get good at, but when you have a new product launch or special promotion, a good copywriter is going to make a big difference in your results. In those cases, they should be used for the entire campaign: emails, press releases, sales letters, advertisements, landing page content – all of it. They can put together a comprehensive set of materials for you that is going to greatly impact your bottom line. That is probably not someone you are going to find on Fivvr or a VA from the Philippines. When the stakes warrant it, hire the best professional you can.
I personally am friends with some great copywriters. These people have not paid for me to endorse them, but if you have a serious project, you should consider connecting with them:
So what about your website copy?
Should you hire a copywriter for writing your website copy? Look, my goal is to make you more successful on the internet and to help you sell more online. I strongly believe that routine tasks are best handled by you, the business owner. Forget about the crap that copywriters try to sell you about saving time – if you have resolved your business issues, you should be better at creating your own blogs, social media posts, and even email newsletters than they are.
BUT, remember what I said – when you have something important, hire the best professional you can. Static pages on your website, like a sales or landing page, including your home page content, can benefit from the skills of a good copywriter.
David Ogilvy , one of the original and greatest “ad men” once said “I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor.” He would try to write 20 headlines for every advertisement. He would never select the final headline without asking the opinion of others, and then he would do a split-run on a variety of headlines to see which worked best. He would edit his own draft 4 or 5 times before showing it to a client. This effort caused him to remark, “If the client changes the copy, I get angry—because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.”
The point here is this: Give your copywriter enough information that they can really capture your message and turn it into a powerful sales tool. You must give your copywriter lots of information so they have something to work with. Copywriters are not magicians. Don’t expect them to create something out of nothing. But if you understand your unique selling proposition and marketing strategy well enough that you can convey this to others, then find a good copywriter to test it and spin it into something even more powerful. Your home page and sales pages are a great place to start.