There is a huge amount to think about before launching a new website.
You have to decide how to promote and sell the products or services you’ll be offering, based on competitor analysis and first-hand knowledge.
You’ve got to prepare a plan for attracting an audience, possibly supported by new social media accounts and PPC advertising campaigns.
With so much to think about, webpage content is often an afterthought.
It’s easy to get carried away with the details, and overlook the fact that content remains king online.
Well-written text boosts your site’s SEO performance, by ensuring pages rank highly for recurring phrases. It creates subconscious positive associations with your brand, like professionalism and humour. Most of all, it drives sales by encouraging people to act – complete a purchase, make an enquiry or download a document.
The write intentions
Even with the best of intentions, it’s easy to end up leaving web content until the last minute, and uploading something purely to fill the space.
If you’re not a natural writer, it’s tempting to outsource the job to someone who is.
So should you hire a freelance copywriter? And what are the main things to be aware of if you do?
Copywriting is a thriving industry in today’s freelancer economy, and most writers will be happy to accept a one-off content production assignment.
You can also request their services for ongoing writing work, such as blog posts and news stories. Regularly uploading original content provides another handy SEO boost, particularly if each article contains a focus keyword or keyphrase.
These are the main advantages of hiring a freelance copywriter:
- It lets you focus on other things. Many people view a blank page as a challenge, whereas a talented writer sees it as an opportunity. Outsourcing website content production lets you play to your strengths, and tackle other tasks which come more naturally.
- The finished site will be more appealing. Potential customers instinctively know when they’re reading quality content. Since your website may form the only interaction they have with your business, the professionalism provided by a time-served writer can be invaluable.
- Writers know how to maximise SEO. This involves much more than using keywords. Good writers naturally strike a balance between brevity and depth to maximise site visit lengths, adding internal and external URLs and gently encouraging readers to complete an action.
- You only pay for what you need. A fee is agreed, the work is delivered, and both parties are free to move on. You can commission more work in future, but there are no ongoing costs or responsibilities to diminish a small business’s budget.
However, there are also pitfalls to commissioning a freelance copywriter:
- Some freelance writers aren’t very good. This is a congested market, and many people are better at self-promotion than content production. Some writers claim to be experts even though they’re not, so study their portfolios closely before offering anyone work.
- Even the best writers need guidance. Explaining what you want to achieve is tricky if you’re not naturally eloquent. It may involve trial and error before the optimal tone of voice is identified, though experienced freelance writers will quickly identify what you’re looking for.
- You may need a specialist. Don’t assume every freelance writer has experience of your specific niche, or your copy requirements. Focus on people with previous experience in your industry, freelance writers who’ve won awards, or people with wide-ranging portfolios.
- Setting budgets can be tricky. Asking someone to write a thousand words of copy for £20 will probably result in copy you could have written better yourself. Veteran freelancers may charge ten times this rate, though you generally get what you pay for.
Finding the right words
These are our tips for hiring a freelance writer to produce website content:
- Create a detailed brief. Specifics are important – how many pages, what sort of timescale, etc. The more detailed you can be at the outset, the easier it’ll be to recruit the right person.
- Look beyond search engines. Google is a good place to start, but also look at freelance platforms like journalism.co.uk and FreeIndex.
- Study the writer’s background. Is their own website well-written and regularly updated? Do they have a portfolio of work relevant to your industry? Do you like their writing style?
- Ask for quotes. A good freelance copywriter will respond to an unsolicited enquiry within 24 hours, and it’s encouraging if they ask for more details prior to providing a detailed quote.
- Commission a small amount of work first. This allows you to gauge a freelance copywriter’s professionalism, attention to detail and their ability to meet deadlines.