Given the ever-changing economy, outsourcing of marketing functions, and personal desires for a flexible lifestyle, more people are promoting themselves as freelance copywriters.
With so many freelancers to consider, how can you tell when you have found a good one, especially a freelance technical copywriter? Consider the factors below.
Quality of the work. Of course, the first factor is whether the writer is delivering the quality of writing skill and messaging needed for each project. Here's an easy way to evaluate: how much rewriting of the writer's work is necessary, especially after the second draft?
The "gets it" factor. Most experienced copywriters with basic skills can produce a document that is adequate for its purpose and audience. However, that document will be more effective if the writer truly understands your subject matter, your market, your audiences, and your communications challenges. This factor is especially important for tech marketing, where a technical copywriter can elicit better input from subject experts, then present complex information and concepts with greater clarity and impact.
Service professionalism. The quality of the writer's interactions with you and others is just as important as the quality of the writer's text. Consider these service factors:
- Timeliness of response to your phone calls and emails.
- Positive, sensitive, and professional interactions with you, your colleagues and customers.
- The writer always meets deadlines. If the due date is in danger, the writer gives you a warning as soon as possible, explains why, and offers options for proceeding.
- The writer understands, respects, and maintains the boundaries between being a "part of the team" and being an outside service provider. The writer doesn't become engaged in office politics and does not try to solve issues or negotiate changes that instead should be referred to you for resolution.
These questions can help you gauge service professionalism: Do you feel like you need to participate in all phone calls and be copied on all emails between the freelance writer and your colleagues and customers because you fear embarrassment to you or your company? Or, do you feel comfortable in turning the writer loose on a project to make contacts as needed and just give you updates?Adaptability. A good writer will respond calmly and constructively to projects with start-and-stop activity, changing project directions, or drafts that come back with extensive comments and new input. (Of course, you should be prepared to receive a higher estimate on the project fee to account for the additional time necessary to accommodate these changes.)
Independence. The writer can work independently, but knows when to ask for your help in gathering information, contacting input providers, or refereeing comments and input from document reviewers.
Offers new ideas as appropriate. One benefit of working with freelance copywriters is the fresh perspective and broad experience they can bring to your projects. But a good copywriter won't be a "show-off" with these ideas -- instead offering suggestions only when they can advance your project.
Finally, perhaps the factor that is most telling about whether you have found a good freelance copywriter is this: Are you willing to recommend him or her to someone else?
Which qualities do you look for in a freelance writer?Learn More