Entrepreneurs and business owners are, by their very nature, shrewd, strategic, intelligent, creative folks. It also takes a strong serving of courage to go out and start up your own gig. Mix those qualities up and what do you get? You get an energetic powerhouse who knows the value of a dollar and isn’t afraid to fight for their bottom line!
Business owners don’t think twice when it comes to their early-days expenses, and they typically wouldn’t dream of rolling up the sleeves to do their own legalities, bookkeeping, HR administration or IT / Cyber Security. Yet, when it comes to the dark art of content creation or copywriting, many businesses see an opportunity to flash their DIY charms. Sure, why not? If it saves you some all-important euros and you have a few minutes to spare you’d be mad to outsource your content creation…
It’s only a bit of writing right?
I see this a lot; companies who manage their own copywriting in the beginning suddenly find they don’t have the time or resources to spend so content creation, refinement and improvement falls out of the priority list. This results in tired website content, ineffective sales material or (the worst crime of all!) a website that is not optimised for SEO.
When you start out, you may well be the best-informed to sculpt and build your product descriptions but as you grow, your language should get more sophisticated while maintaining the compelling edge needed to convert customers.
I have met many business owners who tell me “but I really enjoy writing, and I think what’s there is doing a grand job for me!” and I will always try to gently push them into a different way of thinking by asking them to consider some of the following challenges.
We all know the saying “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” and if you jump out of bed and dance your way to work every day then you can safely say you are a very enviable minority! It is doubly enviable then that you enjoy copywriting, but it should not be viewed as a pastime or hobby. The content you create serves a very practical purpose of connecting the products or services you offer with the market or customer you are targeting. Simply loving the task is not a strong enough reason to hold onto it.
On day 1 of owning a new business one of the first tasks you will undertake is to sit down and calculate how much you are “worth” per hour. It is this calculation that informs how much you charge customers for your time, or how much you are paid on a weekly / monthly basis.
Now ask yourself, honestly, how much time you spend writing copy for your business. Are you crafting website copy? Social media posts? Sales materials? Speeches? Product descriptions? Value propositions? Average that out, would you say it’s 3 hours a day? That’s 15 hours a week?
If you are “worth” €100 per hour that time equals €1,500 per week of potential revenue you are missing out on. Or put another way it’s €78,000 per annum spent just writing content for your business. I don’t know about you, but I would rather take that budget, cut it in half and work with an amazing copywriter to develop my content strategy with me, because that is easily doable.
The cost of hiring a copywriter exists across a huge sliding scale depending on experience and ability. By handing over this vital piece of work to an expert you will inevitably be investing your precious resources more wisely and opening yourself up to a wonderful world of available time!
So we can see now that hiring a copywriter can save you money & time, but have you considered the fact they may actually be able to do double your writing work in half the time?
Look at it this way; you’re an expert right? You can do your gig in your sleep, and nobody can do it faster or better than you? You spend all day, every day doing what you do and years of experience have made you all-efficient and powerful…see where I’m going here?
Copywriters and content creators haven’t just spent years honing their craft, but they work in environments driven by deadlines, fast-paced demands and last-minute changes. They will churn out your content before you have even poured your morning brew, because it is what they do best.
When you have built your business from the ground up, or when you are working on it day in, day out, it can become increasingly difficult to concoct creative descriptions for the products and services you offer.
Often you are simply too close to the subject matter and you can’t see the forest for the trees.
A copywriter will have that all-important bird’s eye view and will be able to take an objective perspective on what you are trying to communicate. They will see the opportunities you are missing, and are a step closer to your customer’s perspective of your company. Their insight and expertise is hugely valuable to you.
Why use 5 words when you can use 3…but do you know which 2 words can go without losing your compelling edge?! ’nuff said!
This comes back to being too close to your own content for comfort. Just because you know and love your specific industry jargon, you should not automatically expect your customer to feel the same way. You may be happy enough declaring “the as built model was fabricable and made good, therefore Company X accepts no accountability for the kinetic disassembly”, but will your reader have the first clue what you’re trying to get at?! A copywriter can translate your jargon into a language with more diverse appeal, without losing the meaning, sentiment or importance of what you are trying to communicate.
Once your website content has been created it needs to continually perform for you, which means it needs to be reactive and updated as required when there is an update to Google’s algorithms. What works for you today, may not work in 6 months and you may find your search ranking takes an unexpected nose dive.
Copywriters, these days, need to have a holistic understanding of Search Engine Optimisation and be able to translate their understanding into your creative output, without compromising on quality. It is a delicate balancing act and requires staying up to speed with the latest updates and shake-ups.
A company’s tone of voice is a key component in its brand identity, and you are right to be concerned by anything that potentially compromises or damages the way you are perceived and understood. However, a freelance copywriter can seamlessly be working for a corporate multi-national in the morning, a premium lingerie brand after lunch and a disruptive tech startup in the afternoon. They will adapt their tone of voice to suit. Put it this way, a great copywriter can be spotted in the fact that you will never spot their work. They will seamlessly integrate the tone, phraseology, repartee, humour etc. associated with your brand.
Now…I write this paragraph with extremely sweaty palms at the risk of having missed a typo, but it’s a valid point so I’m throwing caution to the wind and including it.
We all know them; the people out there who love nothing more than to point out a misplaced comma or ill-advised hyphen. Don’t let your content fall prey to the Grammar Snob! Copywriters are hawks for grammar, punctuation, spelling and sentence structure. Grammar is extremely important aspect of brand credibility, so a great copywriter is your (not you’re) lifevest in a sea of silent judgement!
When you outsource to a copywriter, not only are you availing of their expert language and writing skills, but you are going to be working with someone with exposure to a vast variety of marketing and sales materials. Their opinion and feedback could be hugely valuable for you and the success of your business. Often they will collaborate and partner with you to ensure your content is as succinct, effective and compelling as possible. Sometimes this means changing how things have been done and but it will often mean that you will start seeing better results. A copywriter will be one of the most important business consultants you can hope to work with.