Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hiring a Copywriter: What Are Your Options?

So you need to hire a copywriter to bolster your blog, whip your website into shape or perfect your print marketing. Let's assume your business actually has a marketing budget, and that you actually have allocated some funding toward this solution. The next question is: How will your hire your copywriter? You can engage this essential marketing content creation specialist under whatever kind of working arrangement both of you find workable. Let's take a look at some common copywriter hiring options.

Per Project

I've almost always offered this setup. Most of the people who have contacted my for writing work express relief over the fact that they know exactly what they're getting a for a flat fee. It's just like making a purchase at a shop: Product X costs Y dollars, and that's that. Companies with skimpy marketing budgets can't commit to a vague estimate, so knowing exactly what they're getting for their money allows them to breathe easier. It's also a recommended method when you're hiring a writer for the first time. Is he a fast writer, or is he a pokey one? Are his estimates accurate, or will you receive an ugly surprise at the end of the job? flat per-project rates eliminate that uncertainty. They also eliminate some uncertainty on the writer's part -- if I know what I'll be earning on this project, I can plug that number into my earnings without having to adjust it (possibly to my regret) later.


Some projects and working arrangements can benefit from hiring a writer by the hour. If your writer has a track record of accurate estimates, or if he's willing to eat the extra hours on an underestimated job, then the client has nothing to lose. Large or ongoing writing needs are particularly suitable for hourly billing


A monthly retainer is a type of contract that "retains" your copywriter of choice for a specified amount of work or number of hours. For instance, you might retain my services for $600 a month. That $600 could buy you X number of writing hours, or it could pre-pay for X number of blog articles or web pages or whatever. Retainer contracts make sense if your business needs a steady stream of writing work and you don't feel like bouncing from writer to writer to get it. They're also handy if you're trying to reduce your administrative paperwork, because you're processing one invoice a month instead of a new invoice for every single project. Marketing firms and web development companies can really benefit from putting writers on retainer.

Permanent Hire

If you're a big marketing or advertising agency, it may be worth the investment of time, money and energy to hire one or more copywriters as full-time permanent staff. Or maybe not. The business world has moved away from the massive, megalithic corporate model of the past. "Nimble" is the new normal as businesses rely increasingly on outsourcing to minimize their payroll, overhead and HR headaches. Many companies, even the ones with a bottomless need for written content, find that a reliable bullpen of contractors can get the job done just fine.

Which option is right for you? I can't answer that question without learning more about your business, your marketing efforts and your writing needs. But if you'd like to talk about it, you know where to find me!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Don't Just Create Marketing Content -- Create Your Audience!

Ever think of starting a media juggernaut that exists solely to support your business? In the past, that idea would have been dismissed as vain, over-ambitious, or just plain laughable. These days, it's considered Smart Marketing 101.

Steve Jobs famously said, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them." In other words, it's up to you to create the demand for a product or service by introducing it to your target audience within the larger context of how this product or service can enhance their lives. Proctor & Gamble demonstrated this concept by creating a whole new form of entertainment as a marketing tool. The soap company (and that's pretty much all it was, back in the 1930s) needed a way to present its products to a specific audience -- homemakers. It did so by inventing the soap opera.

Daytime drama reached into millions of households via radio and eventually television, giving the lady of the house a daily feast of "stories" accompanied by, of course, commercials for detergent products. Proctor & Gamble had become more than a product manufacturer -- it was now a media producer. If you spent your afternoon doing the laundry, chances were you were also caught up in the latest brain tumor diagnosis, adulterous affair or discovery of an evil twin. Meanwhile, you'd hear about how and why a particular detergent got the job better than Brand X, more often than not from the characters themselves. If your favorite radio or TV character is singing the praises of a new dandruff shampoo day in and day out, eventually you're going to buy some just to see what all the fuss is about.

This same approach is alive and well today. We call it content marketing -- a combined delivery of advertising and other information that a specific audience genuinely needs or enjoys. An effective modern marketing campaign might achieve this in the form of drip marketing, a series of direct-mail or email "touches" that collectively build the reader's trust in your company until the urge to buy or at least contact you for more information becomes overpowering. And just as soap opera audiences come to think of the characters they see as living, breathing people, your target market comes to rely on you as the trusted resource for your industry of field of expertise.

Blogging can prove especially valuable for building an audience that relies on your expert point of view on the subject at hand. Say you're a tax attorney trying to establish your credibility and convert prospects who need what you have to offer. By posting authoritative, genuinely helpful articles on a wide range of topics related to taxes, the people searching for that information online -- who obviously need and want such information -- come to rely on you as their own personal guru on the subject. And who better to work on their taxes than someone they already trust? That's content marketing.

Now it's your turn to create your own business's media channels. Build your own buzz through the power of content marketing. Who knows? With the aid of a skilled professional copywriter, your product or service could become the hottest show in town -- with your target market serving as the town.