If you’ve never worked with a copywriter before, you may have questions about how this works and what to expect. In this article, I’ll aim to answer those for you.
Before we start, here’s a basic outline of the process:
Stage One — Getting started
This is where you get in touch with me.
You can contact me via my contact form, email, phone or social media. Here you can tell me what you’re looking for or what problems you’re having.
There are typically four ways we can go from here.
The discovery call
A discovery call is the most common next step. It doesn’t have to be a call, we can also do it by email — whichever is easiest for you. This is your chance to tell me in more detail about your project and the kind of help you’re looking for.
The call will help us to see if we’re a good match and if we want to work together.
We can then decide how we want to proceed, whether that’s a paid consultation, a paid action plan or straight to a quote for your project.
Let’s say you’re having problems with your website. Maybe you’re not getting enough visitors, or the visitors you’re getting aren’t converting into customers. And you want to know why.
So we set up a consultation, which you pay for upfront.
You give me your web address and access to your Analytics and Search Console data, if you have it. I’ll spend some time looking into the problem for you. We’ll then arrange a phone call so I can tell you what I’ve found.
When I can see where the problems are, I’ll suggest a course of action to help put things right. This may be something you need to hire a web designer or SEO expert for. Or it could be something I can do myself, like a more in-depth web audit or website rewrite.
If it’s work you need me for, I can put together a quote for you.
Paid action plan
Let’s say you’re having a new website built and you want to get better results from your organic SEO.
One of the best ways I’ve found to achieve this is to use an SEO keyword strategy to guide the configuration of the site. By doing this, we follow the money — structuring the site to prioritise higher volume keywords with less competition from other websites.
Creating an action plan like this takes time and skill, so it’s not something I can do for free. But when the plan is complete, you’ll have the most lucrative website blueprint all planned out and ready to go.
When you’re ready to move to the next stage, I’ll put together a quotation for the work based on this blueprint.
Your quotation will outline the scope of the project and the work that will need to be done. And it will give you a complete upfront cost.
Once issued, your quotation will be valid for one month.
Before accepting the quote, it’s important that you read my terms and conditions. These set out all the important details, like timeframes, payments and copyright.
If you accept the quote, I’ll invoice you for a 50% upfront deposit.
This is standard practice when working with a freelancer and there are a number of reasons why it makes good sense. It shows your commitment to the project and keeps you invested in it. And it keep my cashflow flowing.
Some of my package offers allow you to pay in three installments rather than two, if this is more helpful.
Stage Two — Client input
We begin Stage Two by taking a deeper dive into the project — usually with a more in-depth phone call or Zoom. This is my chance to ask you the questions I need answers to so I can customise your copywriting brief.
I’ll be asking you a lot of questions during this stage to help me understand your business and who you’re selling to.
With the information I have so far, I’ll be able to customise a copywriting brief for you.
The standard brief covers your:
- Audience/customer base
- Existing website — if it’s relevant and if you have one.
At the end, I’ll add more specific questions that will give me the information I need for your project.
When the brief is ready, I’ll email it to you so you can complete it.
Sometimes the completed copywriting brief can bring up even more questions, so I’ll ask about anything I’m not clear on before we move on to Stage Three.
Stage Three — Writing
By Stage Three, I’ll have all the information I need to start my part of the process.
Many people think the writing takes the most time, but they’re wrong. In actual fact, the majority of my time is spent on research.
There are numerous elements to the research side of a project. They comprise:
- Customer/voice of customer
- SEO keyword (for SEO copy and content).
To write effective copy, I need to know who I’m talking to.
You’ll have given me some information about your customers in your brief and this will be my starting point.
Some of the other things I’ll want to know include:
- What problems and stresses they’re having
- How they’ve tried to solve their problems
- Why what they’ve tried so far hasn’t worked
- What’s important to them when choosing a product or provider
- What’s likely to stop them buying from you (objections).
These are the things I’ll be looking for when I do my own research.
Voice of customer research
Voice of customer research is really important — especially for SEO projects.
Here, I look at the language your prospects are using to search for things. Matching this language to your SEO search terms helps you draw the right kinds of prospects.
Subject research is where I learn more about your industry and the terminology you use. This helps me to write confidently and authoritatively about what you’re offering.
Researching your competitors helps me see where you fit into your market. This is important because it helps me to differentiate you from them and make your offer sound better and more appealing.
SEO keyword research
This is where I look at what your customers are typing into Google when they need what you’re selling.
Writing the first draft
When I have all my research done, I can start writing the first draft of your project.
I usually start by creating a skeleton outline, which lists all the important points I need to make. I then flesh this out into a proper written piece.
When I have a first draft I feel reasonably happy with, I put it to bed and sleep on it.
Editing the first draft
For me, the editing part of the process is where the magic happens.
Having slept on it and given myself some distance, I can come back to it with fresh eyes. This helps me to see what’s working — and what isn’t. Some — okay, most — of the copy will probably be rewritten and improved.
By the time it gets to you, your first draft will have already been through a number of rewrites and edits. The intention is to give you something that’s as near to perfect as it can be on the first attempt.
In some cases I might decide the copy needs a second edit, but most often I go straight on to proofreading it.
Proofreading the first draft
I start with a spellcheck. This won’t pick up all the spelling mistakes because some typos just create other valid words. But it’s a start.
When I proofread, I like to understand how the copy sounds and flows, so I always read it aloud. This also highlights parts of the copy that might have missing words or need more punctuation.
When I have a first draft I’m totally happy with, I’ll send it to you for your feedback.
Client feedback — first draft
If you’ve never worked with a copywriter before, you may not be familiar with the process of giving feedback.
To help you, I’ve prepared this handy guide:
This should cover everything you need to know, but if you still have questions you can always ask me.
There are three things to remember when reviewing the copy:
- This is a collaborative process
You’re the expert in your industry. I’m the expert in communicating with your customers. We need to work together to get the copy right and we need to listen to each other.
- The copy hasn’t been written for you — it’s been written for your customers
Your copy is intended to communicate with your customers. It will address your customers’ needs and will mirror the language they use.
- Feedback must be agreed and consolidated
This means I need one set of feedback on which everyone must agree — because I can’t possibly please several people who all want different things.
Want to make changes?
Some projects go straight through on the first attempt. But most will need some minor alterations.
When you receive your project, you’ll have five working days to read it through and request any changes. There are a number of ways you can do this, which are all detailed in my guide.
If I don’t hear from you within the five days, I’ll presume the copy has been approved and send out your invoice.
When I receive your changes, I’ll get the amendments made as soon as I can and return your second draft.
Unless otherwise stated, your project will include a first, second and final draft. These revisions are complimentary and are usually more than sufficient to get the project to a finalised state.
Client feedback — second draft
Your second draft will have the changes from the first draft made.
But if you’ve asked for a change that seems unwise, I’ll let you know why and explain my reasoning.
The final decision will always be yours, but it should be an informed decision.
Want further changes?
When you receive your second draft, you’ll have three working days to make any further changes.
If I don’t hear from you within the three days, I’ll presume the copy has been approved and send out your invoice.
This will be the second and final set of amendments and will give you your third and final draft.
If you need further changes after you receive the final draft, these will be chargeable.
Would you like to work with me?
If you have a copywriting project and would like to work with me, it’s easy to get in touch.