How To Hire A Copywriter That Rocks! (And Avoid One That Sucks)

Abby Wood

Content is Queen Bee. You know it, I definitely know it.

But writing content is hard.

The role of a skilled copywriter has become more valuable than ever to digital agencies.

Since the beginning of the digital nomad age, there has been a serious influx of self-proclaimed copywriters in recent years.

Wow, that sentence sounds very “sitting in an armchair quietly mumbling about the failings of the younger generation” of me – I really don’t mean to sound mean.

The increased interest in writing professionally and content creation is fantastic. It really is!

But how can you tell the next copywriting Jane Austin from the ones who copy and paste their brief into Chat GPT and add a little chef’s kiss as a sign-off to try and pass it as their own?

Whether you’re looking to hire a freelance copywriter for a project or welcome an in-house copywriter as a full-time member of your team, it’s essential that you can recognize the signs of a great writer, as well as the red flags of a not-so-great one.

How to find the perfect copywriter for your digital agency

A great, experienced copywriter can effortlessly captivate, persuade, and convert your readers into customers through genuinely compelling and engaging content.

While there are tons of writers capable of just that, it’s still a challenge to find copywriters that make a good hire.

Why is that?

Every agency is different, and everyone has a unique way of working.

That sounds a little obvious. But something often overlooked in hiring a copywriter is finding one that is a good cultural fit for your agency, will be able to slot into your team naturally, and will be able to write in your brand voice and about your niche easily.

So, from a bottomless sea of professional copywriters, not only do you have to be able to pick out the ones who can write incredible copy but the ones that will work best for your agency too.

Let’s dive into what you can do to narrow down and identify who might be the right fit for your team.

1. Know what you want and need

Before you begin your search for a copywriter, you’ve got to figure out exactly what kind of candidate you’re looking for and what tasks and projects you want them to work on.

Whether you need them to write web pages, blog content, landing pages, social media posts, video scripts, product descriptions, sales copy, email marketing, or a mixture of everything, make sure you pinpoint what you’ll need to be written before you go looking for something to write.

Do you need a creative copywriter, an SEO copywriter, or a content writer specialising in content strategy? Understanding your content goals will help you identify the right skills and expertise you’re looking for in your potential copywriter.

2. Create a fantastic job description


Now that you’ve established what core responsibilities your copywriter will take on and what key skills you’ll be looking for, you can start writing a job description.

Just as any good copywriter will be writing to target your ideal audience, you should write for the type of copywriter you want to attract. Speak in your brand’s voice and outline your company beliefs while making it clear what kind of working environment they can expect to come into.

A great way to help you hire copywriters is to place the available copywriter position job post on LinkedIn and local job boards and plug it on your social media.

3. Review their portfolio and experience


Once you’ve sent out job posts and started getting applications (exciting!), you’ve got to carefully go through their portfolio of web content and blog articles and determine their capabilities.

Your copywriter must be able to adapt to different industries, target audiences, and writing formats, so look out for diversity in their work as well as the quality of their writing.

While a great copywriter can quickly adapt to various industries, having enough relevant experience will mean they’ll be better equipped to speak to your target audience, especially if you’re in quite a niche industry.

4. Assess their communication skills


A professional copywriter requires strong communication skills beyond writing well-crafted messages.

In a profession that often requires collaboration, they must be able to easily get along with your marketing team, designers, and clients.

This is that crucial moment when you need to ask yourself some critical questions, such as:

  • Do they seem like they’d be easy to work with?

  • Do they seem like a team player?

  • Can they digest complex ideas?

  • Are they asking insightful questions?

  • Are they friendly and respectful?

  • Are they prompt and responsive?

  • How do they respond to feedback?

5. Put their writing skills and process to the test


While reviewing their portfolio will indicate what kind of writer they are, it’s always best to provide them with a test piece to complete and see how they perform.

It’s a great way for you to assess their skills in marketing copy, search engine optimisation, and creative writing, as well as their writing style, writing process, and also get some insight into what it was like to work with them on a short project.

Take the opportunity to evaluate their:

  • Individual creativity

  • Attention to detail

  • Ability to meet expectations

  • Capacity to follow instructions

  • Time management

Copywriter red flags

Congratulations! You passed Level 1 and now know how to hire a fantastic copywriter!

But now it’s time to face the unsettling loud music in: Level 2 – How To Spot A Bad Copywriter And Run, I Tell You, Run!

1. Trust your instincts


As creative people, many copywriters can be a touch on the eccentric side (fully including myself here – no judgement.)

That can be a great thing if you’re looking for personality-driven content! However, if you have a gut feeling that they may be difficult to work with or a bad company fit, they probably are.

2. Freelance copywriters charging per word


Copywriting services require great skill and absolutely deserve fair payment. But if you’re looking to hire a freelance writer and they insist on charging per word, you’d be wise to question that.

Effective copywriting should be concise and to the point. So the last thing you want is to pay for excess copy that is damaging the overall quality of your content so that they can increase their fee.

Our talented copywriter Eithne recently completed a guide on how much a copywriter costs

3. They don’t have any references or previous work to show


Listen, we all have to start somewhere. But if an applicant has no proof of being a copywriter or at least proof of being a good one, then it’s probably best not to go any further with them.

You can absolutely take someone on with less experience who is eager to learn. Sometimes those hires can work out to be the best ones! But if they don’t have any kind of track record of them being a great worker, then you can’t trust that you can rely on them.

Don’t want to hire freelance copywriters or in-house?

That’s totally fair!

As a business owner, you’ve already got a lot on your plate, and if you don’t have a team of hiring managers on hand, finding a great copywriter takes a lot of time and careful consideration.

We can help! We’re a fantastic team of experienced professional copywriters. Hello!

Creating unique, compelling copy that makes your business shine and stand out from your competitors is our mission, and we’d love the opportunity to help your business grow.

Interested in hiring us for an upcoming one-time project, or want to partner with us long-term? Let’s talk about your copywriting needs 🙂


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