The Right Writer: How To Choose Your Next Copywriter

By: Barry W. Morris

So you've decided to outsource your next communications project!Great! By doing so, it allows you to devote more time and energyto doing what you do best: managing other projects and employeesand getting more value for your marketing dollars.

However, you'll soon discover that now you're confronted with aneven larger task than writing it yourself: finding the 'right'writer for the job.

Hiring a writer is sometimes a Catch-22 situation. At times,quality writers seem to grow on trees, but when you need one ina hurry to meet a rapidly approaching deadline, it can bedifficult finding one who understands your business, yourdeadline, and your audience.

While finding the "Right Writer" can still be a tricky business,we've developed the four following guidelines that will enableyou to locate and hire the most deserving candidate for yourproject!

Guideline One Look for a Writer with an Establish Web Presence

With technology becoming ever more affordable and user-friendly,designing and maintaining a web presence is becoming easier andalmost commonplace. A writer with her own registered domain nameis making a more serious statement than her counterpart whosematerial is hosted on a free AOL or Yahoo homepage.

Look for the most qualified writers to craft a personallybranded presence that included the following: &bullSample ofselected projects &bullA biography or resume &bullListing of servicesand areas of expertise

Guideline Two Look for an Effective Writing Ability

What's an effective writing ability? Think of it as a writer whocan easily adapt and rapidly get up to speed in your businessarea. Many business writing projects are better handled bywriters that have a broad range of business writing experience.The decision to assign the task to an in-house employee who isfamiliar with the project is almost always a mistake.

Why? The first reason is that the person chosen for theirfamiliarity is too close to the project. Writing requires anobjectivity that writers possess as an innate ability. A productengineer who knows the product inside and out will rarelypossess the skills of a professional writer.

How do know if your writer has the right mix of effectivewriting ability and project or topic distance? Return to theirweb site and look again at their samples asking the followingquestions:

&bullDoes the writer's past experience place them too close to thedetails of the work? &bullDo the samples posted online effectivelycommunicate a clear message? &bullIs the web site copy selling thewriter's ability and skills effectively? &bullIs there a diversityof industry experience in the projects posted?

Guideline Three Look for Creativity

Selecting a writer with a creative mind is essential to thesuccess of any writing project. A creative writer is a creativethinker.

Unless you have the time and inclination to micromanage eachstage of the writing process, you'll want a professional whowill ask the appropriate questions in the beginning get straightto work without the need for constant supervision.

Such writers are in good supply. How do you find them? Again,return to the all-important web site.

This time examine the site for appropriate use of:

&bullProper and orderly layout &bullAppropriate use of color &bullOverallpresentation of information &bullAnd above all, creative copy.

Chances are good that if a writer has difficulty with any ofthese on her own site, she's not the writer you're looking tohire.

Guideline Four The Life/Experience Quotient

This is a non-mathematical phrase we coined to describe thecollective feel one gets in evaluating writers for assignment.It involves several criteria:

&bullEducational accomplishments &bullCareer accomplishments outside ofwriting &bullIndustry diversity in their writing career &bullReferencesfrom past employers / clients

Once you get a feel for the type of work a writer has completed,you'll be in a more favorable position to select the appropriatecandidate.

If you feel that a particular writer is well-balanced on termsof life / work experience, exposure to industry diversity, andpresents herself well online and in person, then you've foundthe "Right Writer."

Conclusion

Selecting the best freelance commercial writer for your writingproject depends on many factors. Some of these include the typeof project, deadline issues, budget constraints, clientexpectations, etc.

Once you've narrowed the list of candidates down to anacceptable number, look for the writer with an effective webpresence as well as one who presents himself well in person andin print.

Select a writer who is a creative thinker and is able totranslate this into a fresh perspective for your piece. Finally,select a professional whom your feel is in possession of theright mix of life / work experiences that will bring the propertone to your project.

Using these four guidelines, I feel confident that you'll haveno difficulty finding the "Right Writer" for your next project.

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