The Complete Manual for Hiring a Copywriter


More and more of my customers are first-time consumers of a copywriter, and this trend has been noticeable for the previous 18 months or so.

This post is the result of my having repeatedly explained the method.

What follows is a brief overview of the process (at least how I work) so you know what to expect if you decide to hire a copywriter but aren’t sure what to expect.

I want to make a few points clear before I begin:

You’ll need to participate because it’s a group effort.
Your copywriter will need specifics and instructions from you.
Even if your writer comes well-regarded, he or she isn’t a mind reader or magician, so you will still need to provide the bulk of the information they need to understand your company, market, and clients.

Informing your author

After you’ve decided on a writer, the first thing to do is to provide them with a thorough brief.

It’s not enough to say, “We’re a financial services firm that deals with professionals.” You need to be completely honest with your writer:

How your company helps others
Who does it serve?
What makes it one of a kind
What you sell, how it works, and what sets you apart from the competition
Your company’s history
Reasons why consumers should buy your wares
Why they haven’t bought from you before, and what’s holding them back?
What exactly are you willing to negotiate?
How would you like your site’s visitors to behave?
Knowing your target market and their wants and needs
After you’ve done all that, you need to consider the tone of the writing: do you want it to be friendly and casual or formal and authoritative? It’s a good idea to include links to samples that hit the tone you’re going for.

Oh, and hold off on the technical jargon until further notice. Your copywriter will avoid using industry jargon. Instead, they’ll employ straightforward language because it gets results.

Be patient with your writer as they gather all the information they need and gain a thorough understanding of your business; doing so is in everyone’s best interest. Believe me; nothing is more disheartening to a copywriter than getting to the first draft and then being told they left out information to which they had no access.

Also, if you despise a specific writing style, be sure to give your writer several samples of it.


You might expect they’ll take your request and reply with a draft in a day or two.


At this point, they leave and investigate your sector and company independently. In addition, a lot of planning is involved; it takes time to develop compelling writing.

They won’t start planning and structuring the first draft until they have all the necessary information.

Initial Draft Evaluation

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: this is not the final draft; it’s the first draft.

Don’t expect your copywriter to immediately succeed where your site or graphic designer may have failed.

It may take some time to ‘get it’ because writing is highly subjective, and this copy is written specifically for your customers. Many clients have difficulty accepting that the text should focus on the benefits to the reader rather than the writer.

So many customers have read the initial copy and said, “Oh no, our website is there just for information; we don’t want to sell through it,” that I’ve given up trying to keep track. Websites are meant to generate revenue; otherwise, why have one? Secondly, the writer you’re working with has likely been doing this for quite some time, so have faith that they know what they’re doing.

When you finally get your hands on that first draft, read it multiple times to understand what it’s like. If you spot a typo or two, restrain yourself from correcting it with a red pen; those errors will be fixed in the final draft. Remember that this is just a test run, a first draft.

I’m often asked to write in a conversational tone, but when the customer reads the finished product, they tell me it’s too casual. Everyone has their sense of what a style should represent, and judgments as to whether or not it is the proper approach can only be made after it has been seen for the first time.

To offer your writer a clear picture of how you want to proceed, it is recommended that you go through the copy and highlight both the parts you like and the parts you don’t. This is also the moment to double-check the content and facts to guarantee that the brief’s requirements have been met.

Your writer should have enough information to prepare a second draft based on your comments, provided they are clear and constructive.

Version 2.0

Your copywriter will consider all of your comments and then develop a new draft.

Your feedback on the tone, substance, and layout will be incorporated, turning the draft into something you can be happy to put on your website (or brochure, case study, or anything else you plan to use it for). Now is also the time for careful proofreading to eliminate any remaining spelling or grammar mistakes.

You’ll get the updated version back to you as soon as it’s done. If the finished product meets your expectations, you may rest assured that you have an excellent copy. However, if you still need to make some adjustments, we can quickly modify those and send you a third draft to approve.

As you can see, the process relies heavily on communication between you and your writer.

You shouldn’t be startled if the tone or content is off the first time because the odds of it happening are low. Contact me via phone or email if the first draft is not satisfying. You can’t expect people to cooperate if you avoid them.

Briar Copywriting’s Sally Ormond is a skilled copywriter who has worked in the business-to-business and consumer industries.

Send an email to or give her a call at +44(0)1449 779605 to discuss how she can assist you.

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