‘Oh, don’t use big words. They mean so little.’
Well, we think Mr. Wilde is on point here.
You don’t need flowery, lengthy words to make an impact. In fact, they can be a repellent.
Think about this: would you hire a copywriter with this Tinder profile?
‘It is of utmost significance to scour the vastness of London to find a romantic partner with an immaculate grasp of the dynamics of commitment, a penchant for the intricacies of grammar and punctuation, and a wholehearted appreciation of the non-mundane.’
Good luck getting a swipe right.
You see, big words don’t mean good copy. Big words can scare people off and break your connection before it’s even begun.
Good copy is relatable, concise and witty.
Take these Jack Daniel’s tube ads, for example. They’re part of the ‘Postcards from Lynchburg’ campaign launched in the 1950s, and continue to charm commuters today.
Using storytelling, their catchy ads draw customers into Jack Daniel’s world.
The brand voice resonates with you from the moment you read it, to when your train arrives and continues throughout your journey.
Jack Daniel’s becomes not just another whiskey brand, but something that connects with you on a personal level.
Esteemed copywriter, Ursula Brunetti was spot on when she said:
‘Their brand voice communicates the heritage, quality, and finesse of their whiskey, while conveying their brand values, and all with just the right amount of humour. Reading one of their ads literally feels like you’re being told a story at a Tennessee saloon by a Stetson-wearing cowboy.’
The brand message and copy has a powerful lasting impact.
Want a bit of this superpower copy for your brand?
I’ll show you how to find a copywriter who knows their stuff inside out.
But first, you have to make sure your brand is solid.
Take your mind back to high school.
Were you a huge fan of eyeliner, neckties and plaid skirts a la Avril Lavigne?
Did you dress in oversized shirts and baggy pants with an undercut hairstyle like the Backstreet Boys?
Your hairstyle, fashion sense and the type of music you listen to are all elements of your personal branding.
And the same goes for your brand.
If you want to slay your brand’s tone of voice, you need to imagine it as a real-life human being with a personality.
This blog post from us explains how to do this.
But for now, let’s say you have a make-up brand called ‘Aurora’. If Aurora was a person, she’d be in her early 20s. A regular at music festivals. Into bohemian fashion. Meditation is her thing. She’s low maintenance, so a multi-use stick for the eyes, cheeks, and lips appeals to her.
Aurora is hip, young and artsy. This should be reflected in the brand’s tone of voice. Then it must be used consistently in all of your communication channels, from the website to social media accounts to emails, etc.
Don’t fret, we have a super strategic process that will help you hire a copywriter who can take your brand and create engaging on-brand copy.
- Create a Killer Job Description to Attract the Right Candidate
When writing a job description, you need to get your brand across accurately and enticingly.
Infuse your job descriptions with the voice and personality of your brand. This will make you stand out and help potential candidates get a feel of your organisation’s culture.
Take a look at Julie Strickland’s job description tips for inspiration:
- Catch the reader’s eye from the beginning
- Know the difference between preferred and required
- Keep it short
- Put a human voice to in your job post
- Woo potential candidates
It’s crucial to make a good impression from the get-go, so get creative and make sure your brand shines.
- Catch a Specialist in a Sea of Generalists
You’re now flooded with a sea of applications.
And you’re overwhelmed.
How do you mushroom-pick the best copywriter to work on your brand’s voice?
It all comes down to what kind of work you need them to do. Do you want them to write emails? Web copy? Taglines? Blog posts?
What industry is your brand in?
Rather than having a jack of all trades, yet a master of none, it’s better to keep your eyes peeled for copywriters who have a niche.
Outsourcing freelancers for specific types of copy is a great solution to your niche-writer hunting.
This blog post by Lorrie Hart highlights the pros and cons of hiring a freelance or in-house copywriter. But remember, whichever path you choose to take, make sure that you get an expert.
A GOOD CV IS NOTHING WITHOUT A WINNING PORTFOLIO
So their credentials look promising.
But what about their work?
Once you’ve found yourself a specialist, you should see for yourself whether they can apply their writing expertise across different tones of voices.
Their portfolio will give you a glimpse of which brands they’ve worked with and how effective they were.
Look out for these:
- Does the copy conjure up the brand essence and personality?
- Do they have glowing proven results?
- Do they have examples for the type of copy you need? (Emails, web copy, taglines, etc.)
- Were they able to clearly convey the job, the challenge, the strategy they used and the result that they arrived at? If they can tell you WHY they created the copy a certain way, you could be onto a winner.
At this stage, it’s super important to have proof. Anyone can talk the talk, but you need to see the evidence for yourself.
GOOGLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
Before you even consider inviting someone for an interview and evaluating their writing skills on the spot, you need to get googling.
A lot of candidates look good on paper, but a simple google search could reveal what their social media persona is like.
Their search results can also reveal their own SEO skills. If the first results are their LinkedIn account, followed by articles they have written for credible websites, you know that you’re on the right track towards finding a copywriter with experience.
BUT BE CAREFUL…
Look out for signs that a candidate has ideologies that don’t fit with your brand values and culture.
Let’s say you’re a fashion brand that uses ethically-sourced materials. You google one of the potential copywriters you’re eyeing, and you find out that the majority of their #ootds on Instagram are mink and alpaca fur coats.
Or if your brand works with physics labs for your products, and then the supposed brilliant copywriter whom you had high hopes for is actually a flat-earther.
Googling saves you time and effort, allowing you to trim the fat and focus on the best options.
TIME TO TEST THEM
So, their portfolio is spot on, but are they as dazzling when asked to write on the spot? Giving them a copy test is the only way to find out.
A copy test doesn’t need to be complicated. However, it should gauge how they would approach prospective projects they’ll write for.
A two-part test will be ideal. The first part will contain a fictional project creative brief for an existing client, which they must write (see this example from Workamajig).
If you want to seriously test them, you could make them write 2 versions to see if they are flexible enough for A/B testing.
This second part will be an SEO test for them to use primary and secondary keywords within the text.
Is their writing style at the level of creativity and proficiency you’re looking for?
Can they incorporate any given keyword naturally into the text like a true wordsmith?
Can they express their train of thought in snappy, concise and catchy sentences?
If they tick all the boxes, then things are looking good for you.
MAKE SURE THEIR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE
In truth, you’ll never really know how they fit until you interview them.
How they present themselves in their CV, portfolio and social media accounts can be totally different compared to who they are face-to-face.
Besides questions that revolve around the job specifications, ask them other fun questions too. It might loosen them up and let you see who they are as a person.
Examples could include:
- What’s the perfect weekend for you?
- What do you do for fun?
- What’s your favourite season and why?
- What’s the latest book you’ve read?
Based on their answers, you’d be able to tell if they’re being authentic. You wouldn’t want to hire someone who just gives you statements you want to hear.
Someone who’s confident and authentic will always shine through.
If they’ve managed to charm you silly and performed well in the test, then you’ve got yourself a keeper!
AFTER ALL THIS, MAKE SURE YOUR COPYWRITER GETS YOUR STRATEGY
Finally, once you’ve found the copywriter you like in terms of skills and personality, there’s one more thing you need to work out.
Does your copywriter understand your brand strategy and write strategically?
You need someone who speaks your language to spread the word about your brand. Whose words can convert your leads. Make you trend on social media. Edge out your competitors. The whole nine yards.
How will you know for sure that you’ve got a strategic copywriter? According to Gary Spinks, a strategic copywriter will:
- Research you, your company, and your market.
- Know and understand your current marketing strategies
- Get clear on what you want
- Create a plan to make that happen
- Design and craft bespoke words to support your strategy
- Work with you to ensure everything goes out as it should, in a timely fashion
- Monitor and track results
Put simply, putting the time in to find the right copywriter for your brand is worth the effort.
It’s not as tough as the Hunger Games, but may the odds be ever in your favour.
Use the strategies and tips we’ve discussed, and the copywriter you’re looking for will soon be knocking at your (office) door.