Some Thoughts on Hiring a Copywriter for Video Content

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe all write – most of us actually quite a lot, between emails, newsletters, content creation, text messages, and social media posts.

As we search for our business’ stories and best ways to share them, I wanted to call attention to the mechanism of actually WRITING down those stories. My advice throughout has been (and still is), that there are two positions to consider filling with professionals even if you’re totally bootstrapping your video marketing efforts: From a creative perspective a writer (also called CD: creative director, or copywriter), and from a technical point of view, an editor (who, incidentally also is a copy-editor, fining the story in the footage you shot.

1_StackofBooksI recently hired a company out of London Creative Copywriter to help me with some of my writing for the website (soon to be displayed in its full glory) and two introduction videos.

Although I do all my own writing when it comes to content creation (blog entries, email marketing, and workshops), I felt that the website and the marketing videos needed a copywriter for several reasons:

  1. Writing short-form copy is hard and when you are selling with CTAs (call to actions) you need to be very precise in your communication
  2. I was too close to my own material to see what potential customers would understand and what would make them seek more information about my business. A fresh set of eyes, or a fresh brain was very helpful
  3. I’ve been procrastinating on the home-page since January (!) – indeed… writing a brief, hiring a writer and paying (!) a writer was going to be my ticket to end the procrastination

But, with every “pro” list, come a few “cons”. To make sure your “cons” list remains super short, here a few things to look out for when hiring a copywriter:

  1. First and foremost: Writing for video is a specialty skill. Make sure you hire a writer who has experience and ask for completed video samples. If you don’t love them, don’t hire
  2. Allow enough time (and budget) for a copywriter to get to know you and your business
  3. To speed up the process, hire a copywriter who either has experience writing for your niche, or is your target audience
  4. Don’t be shy to interview several copywriters. If you go with a company over a freelancer, make sure you interview the writer who will be assigned to you before you make a commitment
  5. Set enough of your time aside to go through what the copywriter has written and give detailed and extensive feedback. Having someone else write for you is not necessarily a time-savings. It’s an outsourcing of skill not time
  6. Similarly, allow enough of your time to write a full brief to make sure your writer knows were to go with his or her copy
  7. Finally: Don’t be shy to redirect a writer. They want and need your feedback to do their job well, so tell them what works and what doesn’t
  8. Let the copy ‘marinate’ a bit. I like to sit on it for a few hours, or even a day or two to let it sink in. You might very well have some ideas or feedback that needs time to emerge

Incidentally Creative Copywriter just posted a blog on copywriting tips by 99 seasoned writing pros. My favorites are:

  • Cut the Bull Shit
  • Keep it short
  • What do we want the audience to do and what is stopping them from doing it?
  • Write in pictures, not words
  • Don’t speak at the customer, speak with them

Let me know what your favorites are, or if you have any tips of your own.

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