Before you choose your copywriter, here are some of the questions to ask (with our answers):
- How long have you been a professional copywriter?
I have worked as a full-time copywriter since 1983. I project manage a handpicked team that I have personally trained and mentor every month. I’m a generalist, and they each have niche expertise in specific markets. My copywriting approach is underpinned by a psychology degree, NLP certificate and recent qualification in neuroscience.
- Can you provide samples?
Having been doing this for so long, we nearly always have relevant examples we can show you. We don’t do free pitches. That is, we won’t write a free paragraph so you can see our style. The reason is that writing the first paragraph takes the longest. We need to do ALL the thinking before we can write the first few words. We’ll do a paid trial if that’s what you need to convince you. That also benefits both parties, because we can each be sure the fee is pitched at a fair level.
- What other clients have you written for?
Having launched my freelance business in 2001, I’ve written for hundreds of clients. Many of them have kindly written personal recommendations on LinkedIn. You can read them here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackiebarrie (Also see the answer to Q7 below.) You’ll appreciate that we can’t ALWAYS name names because some jobs are confidential, but we can usually tell you what other work we’ve done in your sector.
- Are you insured?
Yes, I’m covered by both Professional Indemnity insurance and Public Liability insurance (for when I run training workshops).
- How many iterations are included?
We include three versions as standard: draft, revised and final. Because we do so much preparation, sometimes the draft version IS the final version.
- Do you offer a satisfaction guarantee?
Yes. In 20 years, we have only had two complaints. In both cases, we refunded the deposit in full immediately, no questions asked. Our T&Cs allow us 28 days to make any changes.
- Do you have any testimonials?
Yes, over 500. You can read them here:
Alternatively, tell us what type of work you want us to do and we’ll send you a link so you can read the relevant ones.
- How long do your clients typically stay?
A few jobs are one-offs. Many web copy clients come back every couple of years for a refresh. Some blogging clients have been with us for more than a decade. For those, we are often proactive about suggesting content ideas, sourcing free and copyright-free images, and uploading the draft copy into WordPress.
Hopefully, this reassures you about the quality of our writing and levels of customer service.
- What’s your availability / turnaround time?
It depends on the job. I am usually booked for at least two weeks in advance, but my team generally have more availability than that. If something is urgent, we can turn it around quite quickly. To give you an idea, for five pages of web copy, we usually ask for two weeks from initial go-ahead / receipt of the 50% advance payment to the first draft, and deliver it in one week.
- What does it cost?
Our fees are based on the quality of your input – the brief – not the quality of our output. We’ll provide you with a custom quote after the initial discovery call. Or tell us your budget, and we’ll tell you what we can achieve within it. Note that we charge by the project, not by the hour/day, or word/page. That’s because writing something short takes longer than writing something long. It’s standard for professional copywriters to charge this way. For the full rationale, see here.
- What are your payment terms?
50% in advance, and 50% on completion. If the project lasts more than one calendar month, then it’s 50% in advance, 25% after one month, and 25% on completion. If it’s a small fee, new client or startup business, we might ask for 100% in advance. We ask for payment in 15 days from the invoice date. In most cases, we’re happy to be flexible – just ask. (By the way, our T&Cs are so simple they’ve been used by a contract lawyer as an example of tone of voice in their training.)
- What do you need from your clients in order to be able to do a good job?
As a starting point, we ask you to complete our standard questionnaire containing 20 standard marketing questions. This is followed by a phone or video call to fill in the gaps and ask supplementary questions. Clients tell us they find it a useful thought process and it gives us all the information we need to quote and do a good job.
For more advice, sign up for our monthly Writing Without Waffle tipsheet and read the Buyers’ Guide to Copywriting. You’ll find the link on the home page (scroll down).