There are lots of brilliant reasons for using an external copywriter rather than doing all of your copywriting in-house. The ones you hear most often talk about us having a different perspective on your business and the really obvious one – our writing skills.
And there are lots of other reasons.
Here are 7 benefits of working with a freelance copywriter you might not have thought of:
1. You’ll save time
Several of my recent clients have all had one strong motivation for coming to me – to save time.
Large companies have someone, or a team, whose responsibility it is to write all of their marketing copy and even small companies often have a keen marketer who’s a great writer. People in your company will know it inside out, they understand the services you provide and your target market.
But they’re so busy doing 2963 other things, sitting down to research, plan and write ends up getting rushed. Or, even worse, it doesn’t get done at all.
A faster turnaround
We all have those things on our to-do lists that we move from one list to the next without ever actually getting them done. And unless someone is clamouring for last week’s blog, the web pages for the new website or the copy for the next white paper, you don’t get to them.
When you outsource a copywriting project you agree the deadline with your copywriter and they stick to it. I’ve been doing this for several years and I haven’t missed a deadline yet!
In the zone
As much as I’m able to, I don’t let more than two projects overlap as it takes a while to ‘get into the zone’. If possible, I prefer to focus on just one until that stage of the project is complete. That means I can concentrate on the writing but it also gives me the time I need to dedicate to the process and research.
There aren’t any shortcuts that I know of when I’m at the research stage so I put in the time. An employee doesn’t have that luxury because they have so many other jobs to do.
In December I wrote two ebooks with a very tight turnaround. The client asked me to have the first edit done by the end of the Friday before Christmas so they could go on holiday knowing they were done.
In the run-up to working on them, I finished all my other work, cleared my desk and inbox, then focused on the ebooks exclusively for a couple of weeks.
It meant having to reschedule other client work for the new year but it allowed me to concentrate on getting them done in a very short space of time given the amount of work they involved, which would be virtually impossible in-house.
2. … and money
It’s a cliché but if you save time you save money too. You can expect to pay a copywriter a higher day rate (the average day rate for UK copywriters is currently £339) than you’d pay an employee but you only pay them when they’re working on your project.
Only pay for time on the project
You don’t pay them for their time off sick, holidays, days when they decide to sack it off and play in the snow, or when they’re doing anything that isn’t working for you – reading, learning, editing their website, networking, attending conferences, talking to their accountant, writing their own content,
wasting time making connections on social media…
Anything that isn’t directly related to a project is on my time, clients only pay for the work I do for them. An employee, on the other hand, has to be paid for all the time they spend at work performing all sorts of different functions.
So a copywriter’s rate might look higher but if you work out how many days, weeks or months you’d need to pay someone to be at work to get the same project done, it generally works out a lot cheaper to outsource it.
3. You’ll get a different perspective
The different perspective argument is a good one too. We – freelance copywriters – are outside your business so we see it differently.
Recently I wrote NPR‘s annual review and that’s one reason they cited when we first chatted about working together. They have copywriters and marketers and people who could do the work no problem but they wanted to work with someone outside the organisation.
Being more than 3000 miles away across the Atlantic in a different country certainly makes me an outsider.
And why is that good?
It might be good because we see your organisation differently. We don’t see all the history, the internal politics, the row you had last week with Ken in accounts, the “way we’ve always done it”. And we don’t have the boilerplate text that you’ve used on every piece of marketing since 1999 etched into our brains!
We see your company with fresh eyes just like a client or customer does and we ask the same questions they do:
- What does “We provide unique solutions” really mean?
- Can I trial what you do without having to commit?
- How will your services help me or my business?
- Are we going to be a good fit?
- Why are you better than the competition?
- Why should I stick with you?
We’ll ask lots of questions and do heaps of research to get to know your business so that we can talk about it like we’ve worked with you for years but we won’t get sucked into using jargon or insider knowledge that can alienate people who aren’t in the know. Not having heaps of industry experience can actually be a bonus.
4. We can help to develop your tone of voice (and keep it consistent)
It’s not unusual for lots of people to contribute to a business’s blog and it can work really well, especially if you feature each person’s bio and a nice headshot with their work, it can give your blog authenticity and lets different specialists share their unique knowledge with readers.
But having lots of different voices across your marketing won’t work and will end up reading like the company has a split personality.
By outsourcing the work to a freelance copywriter you can get consistency in all your marketing. We can help you develop and define your tone of voice, or use your existing tone and guidelines, then we’ll stick with it to give your brand a familiar voice.
It’ll make your readers feel like they’re slipping into a pair of comfy slippers every time they read something you put out there rather than feeling a jolt from the inconsistent writing.
5. We’re writers
With any luck, the copywriter you choose to work with will be a good writer. Yes, we sell stuff, we might be SEO experts, or conversion experts or particularly good at one thing or another but at the very least we should be able to write.
We haven’t had copywriting shoe-horned into our job role or been forced to take over the blog since Natasha got sick of it and left, we actually love this stuff!
We read and learn and get better at it every day. We eat, sleep and breathe articles about copywriting and marketing because it fascinates us and because we always want to get better at what we do. And we never get bored of learning about grammar, spelling and punctuation, then showing off our superior knowledge on Twitter.
Early on I learnt to be ruthless about checking my work when I sent several web pages to a client having forgotten to spellcheck then. I’m sure (I hope!) I’m not the only one who’s ever done it and I promise I haven’t done it since.
Turning out accurate, well-written, as close as is humanly possible to typo-free copy is what you’re paying for. And we’ll do everything we can not to send you writing littered with errors.
6. … and copywriters
We never forget to include calls to action. We read loads about our craft and we’re always learning. We know about writing headlines. We’ve written all sorts of content for years. We get how marketing funnels work, we know when to use different formats, different lengths, different tones. And we know how to use words to create the desired effect on the reader.
We have to keep our clients happy of course but we write for their target markets, not the CEO or a committee of people who all have different ideas about what constitutes ‘good writing’. And if they don’t like what we turn in we argue our case.
7. We have thinking time
One of my favourite projects last year was spending three days naming a new corporate social responsibility programme for a massive paint brand.
It was three days of researching, writing, thinking, playing with words, looking at a Thesaurus, talking to employees – and one second of inspiration while I was driving across Nottingham one morning.
Having the time and space to absorb everything about the programme and submerge myself in it for all that time meant that I was able to have an ‘aha’ moment. And that aha moment is now the name of a national youth development programme, which is pretty cool.
When you outsource to a freelancer you can get that time the brain needs to do its thing and come up with a great idea that couldn’t be forced out consciously.
You’re also paying for your copywriter to take the time to let your copywriting marinate before they send it to you. I tend to finish what I’m working on, check it, sleep on it then look at it again the next day or even later, and I can always improve it.
I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out
– Oscar Wilde
The brain has two systems for thinking and decision-making: fast and slow. And we use each one in the writing process.
The first system is instinctive
You’ve done your research and planning then you sit down and write something not worrying about the details, typos or layout, you just get it onto paper or screen at this stage and it feels like it’s writing itself.
The second one is more considered
Then you go away, ideally overnight, and when you come back you use the second slower system, the thinking bit. It’s less intense, you’re more critical about your work and you apply what you know about structure, SEO and layout, correct those typos and do any fact-checking.
I can’t do one without the other, they’re both essential parts of the process for me. Phase 1 gets everything down roughly how I want to say it and phase 2 finesses it until I’m at the point where I’m happy enough to send it to the client.
So, there are heaps of reasons for outsourcing your copywriting. It’s not simply that we see your business differently from the way your staff do, or that we bring our writing skills to your project.
We can help you save time and money because we can focus solely on your project. We can help you develop your brand’s tone of voice and keep your copy consistent to keep you on-brand and create warm, fuzzy feelings in your readers. We get the copy thing and write to create a feeling or reaction in the reader, and we have the time and space to think, let our thoughts marinate, improve our work, play with your copy and send you the best work we’re capable of.
If you can think of more reasons for outsourcing let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!