Why read this? : Many businesses use their agencies to handle copywriting, but it’s not always the fastest or cheapest option. If you need it done quick, easy and cheap, there are other copywriting options. Read this to learn how to manage copywriting in-house or via a freelancer. This week, it’s all about quick and easy tips for quick and easy copywriting.
You have to make trade-offs with writing advertising and sales copy.
High quality copy takes longer to write and costs you more. It’s what most agencies recommend though, because they earn more by doing it that way.
Fine on high visibility projects like advertising campaigns, important public relations messages and on your most visited website pages. But sometimes you need to go fast. Sometimes, you don’t want to spend too much. And sometimes “good enough” copywriting is well, good enough.
There’s a ton of “small” copywriting jobs you need to do too, especially for your website and social media. Some copywriting jobs just need a writer, not a strategist, an executive creative director and an account management team.
Sometimes you want copywriting that’s quick and easy.
3 areas where you need quick and easy copywriting
Social media, product pages and website articles are the 3 most common areas where you can often get by without an agency. Depending on how your business works, you can do a lot of the day-to-day writing in these areas in-house or use a freelancer.
The objective of most social media posts is to drive sales (through trial or repeat purchase), or to improve the customer relationship (through consideration or loyalty).
You usually create sales driven posts in advance as part of an advertising or sales promotion plan. The sales copywriting job is usually part of the overall brief and done by the agency.
However, some sales posts are more reactive. Something happens in the market and you need a copywriting solution that’s quicker and easier than using your agency.
For relationship-building posts which inform or entertain customers, again, you want these copywriting jobs to be quick and easy.
It’s often better when you’re more directly involved in the social conversation with customers.
You know them better than the agency does, after all. They’re your customers. You also know your brand better. It’s your brand. So, you can write with a more authentic tone of voice, because it’s your voice.
You have more control over the copy when you go in-house or freelance. That makes it faster, easier and cheaper because there’s less people involved.
For example, you could ask your customer service team to write social media posts sharing stories and relevant content. That would show you listen to customers, and be relatively quick and easy to do.
Similarly, you know your product best. You know the benefits to highlight. So, in-house or freelance copywriting can be a quick and easy way to write product page content.
That could be copy for the page on your own store website. Or copy you upload to online retailers via their product management information systems.
As per our e-Commerce capability article, it’s important to test and learn different content on these pages. That usually means you need to write multiple versions of the copy to test. That’s quicker and cheaper if you do it yourself.
You usually brief your agency to write the copy on your most visited website pages e.g. your home page, the About Us and your FAQS.
As with getting them to write your advertising copy, this is high visibility content. You want high quality copywriting on these pages.
You’d usually suck up the extra time, effort and money and go through the agency for this.
But you’ll also have other less frequently visited pages like your blog posts and content articles.
You need these to keep your site fresh for visitors (and for search). But, it’d be slow, complex and costly to do all this through an agency.
For these type of pages you want quick and easy copywriting solutions, and that usually means in-house or using a freelancer. You create this content to show off your services or highlight your expertise. (it’s especially common in B2B businesses, for example).
Like the product pages, you know your services and expertise better than any agency. That’s why it’s often better to take more direct control of this type of copywriting.
The copywriting project triangle
Your choice of agency, in-house or freelancer comes down to the trade-offs we mentioned at the start of this article.
If you want to go faster or cheaper, you need to reduce the scope. You accept there’ll be a knock-on impact on quality.
If you want to raise the quality, you accept you need more time, or to spend more money.
For the quick and easy copywriting options, your options are to manage it in-house, or to hire a freelancer (without going through an agency).
In-house means you or someone on your team does the writing. For this article, we’ll assume it’s you. But if it’s someone in your team, the same lessons apply.
Like any skill, you need to learn it and practice it to get good at it.
Some find it easy and the words come easily, while others have to make a real effort.
It’s hard to judge the quality of your own writing. Ask yourself though how people react to what you’ve written in the past.
Do you get compliments on your clarity? Do people comment on how your writing made them feel? Can you point to positive feedback and show what you wrote made a difference to readers? That it was persuasive and had a clear impact?
Or, is the feedback you get more challenging? More questions than compliments. People ask you what you meant. They ask you to clarify your intent. What you wanted them to do. You find people paraphrasing what you wrote to check they understood.
With in-house copywriting, unless you’ve studied the subject hard, the chances are the quality of your writing won’t be as good as someone who does it for a living. You need to look at the objective and context of the work, and decide whether your writing skills are good enough for the job to be done.
Writing your own advertising copy
Writing your own copy costs less than hiring someone to do it. But remember there’s still the cost of your time. You need to invest your time to get good and build good writing habits.
As per our copywriting challenges article, it can also be hard work and frustrating.
Much of what you write you end up throwing away. That takes a lot of grit and resilience.
Everyone has an opinion on what you write. You need a tough skin to handle criticism and feedback.
You might see the value in good writing, but few others will. It’s unlikely anyone will thank you for it
You need to put your ego aside and listen to the feedback you get. What you write isn’t for you, it’s for the reader. If they understand it and it drives them to do what you wanted them to do, that’s what matters.
But if those challenges don’t put you off, doing it in-house can be a good choice for quick and easy copywriting jobs. It gives you lots of control. If you do go that way, there’s 3 things to remember.
Research what makes good copy
First, do your research. Learn what good copy looks like. Google “copywriting tips” and you’ll find many sites cover how to improve your writing skills.
For example, you should check out copyblogger and marketing examples.
Both give quick, easy and practical advice on copywriting, with lots of examples to learn from.
There’s also plenty of copywriting books out there. Over 3,000 on Amazon last time we checked.
If you’re looking for a good introduction to copywriting, we like Tom Albrighton’s Copywriting Made Simple. For those writing for websites specifically, Henneke Duistermaat’s How to Write Seductive Web Copy is also a good choice.
Of course, you can also check out our own guides to advertising copy and sales copy where we go over key copywriting lessons we’ve learned.
Get comfortable with less than perfect
Great copy takes time to write. It takes many drafts to craft a perfect message and story.
Get used to the fact that sometimes your copy won’t be perfect.
Build processes to help you improve the quality of writing, but which still keep you feeling motivated.
Professional copywriters build processes for editing and approvals, for example. You need to do this too.
Get your writing proof-read. Make sure you edit it.
Ask people for feedback. Keep thinking how much feedback helps you become a better writer.
If you don’t commit to those things, then your copywriting won’t get better. If it’s good enough for the job at hand, that might not matter too much. But there’s almost always ways to make your copy easier to understand, and to improve the call to action.
Some copywriting jobs are functional and low risk.
You can test Facebook ads with a $10 daily budget, for example. Those can be a quick and easy test for your copywriting skills. You quickly learn what works and what doesn’t.
Go on Twitter and test out some Tweets. What do people react to? What gets ignored? There’s so much noise on Twitter anyway, most content is quickly forgotten.
Look for examples
Finally, keep an eye on what copywriters do. Use their good work as inspiration.
Sign up to the newsletters on copyblogger and marketingexamples (and others) to get regular examples of good copywriting.
Look at why some copywriting works, and others doesn’t. Use what you learn to improve how you write. You don’t want to copy, but look for inspiration and ideas. You learn good copywriting by reading and recognising it.
Check on your competitors. Analyse their copywriting to see what you can learn.
Check their social media posts and blog articles, for example. See what they do that gets the most reactions. Which ones drive comments and encourage new likes and followers?
They’re going after the same customers. Ask yourself if their copywriting works, and if so, why? What’s good about it, and what isn’t? If they write something you like, what lessons can you take from it?
Once you learn what good copywriting looks like, it’s easier for you to do quick and easy copywriting yourself.
You need to build good writing habits. Write down and review what you’ve learned on a regular basis.
However, if all this sounds like too much hard work, or if this doesn’t fit how you like to work, there’s another option. You can hire a freelance copywriter.
Hiring a freelance copywriter
Hiring a freelance copywriter is a halfway house between doing it yourself and using an agency.
Less expensive and faster than going through an agency. Using a freelancer will usually get you a higher quality of writing than you can do yourself.
You can source freelance copywriting services on sites like Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork.
As per our value of writing article, you find different levels of expertise and fees from the freelance copywriters on these sites.
You make a trade-off again. The better the quality of writer, the more they normally charge. Beginners charge less, but their skills aren’t as well developed.
You need to look at their profiles and reviews from other customers on these sites. Test them out with small, simple briefs before you give them anything more challenging. Look at how they communicate with you to ask about the job. Are they clear? Are they helpful? Do you feel you’d work well with them, that you’d trust them to do a good job?
Clear communications and quick responses are a good sign. Unclear communications and slow responses, suggest you want to keep looking.
For quick copywriting jobs, you need the freelancer to be available when you are. There are freelance copywriters all over the world. Check what time-zone they’re in, as if it’s different, it can take longer to interact with them.
Set a budget and stick to it. Agree it with the freelancer up front, and when they do they work, be prompt with the payment. You want to build a good relationship with them, and paying on time helps a lot.
Build a relationship when you find a good one
If you find a good freelancer copywriter who produces great work for you, consider how you’ll work with them longer-term.
It’s a good idea to build a direct relationship with them, rather than keep going via the freelancer site. (these sites take a commission on every job).
The more they work with you, the better they understand your brand. They’ll get better at understanding your needs and your tone of voice. They’ll make less mistakes.
The quality of the writing will get better over time.
It comes back to that trade-off. The freelance copywriting option is often a good way to find a balance between quality, time and cost.
Conclusion - Quick and easy copywriting
For big copywriting jobs like advertising campaigns, it’s best to handle those via your agency.
But for smaller jobs like social media relationship posts, product pages and website articles, you often want quick and easy copywriting options.
You can manage it in-house, or hire a freelancer.
In-house copywriting is the simplest, and usually the cheapest and fastest. However, quality can be an issue. You need feedback processes and to commit to learning and improving your copywriting skills.
Research what good copywriting looks like. Look at other copywriting work for inspiration. Practice and learn.
If you hire a freelancer, the quality should be better than writing it yourself. But there’s a lot of choice out there. You may need to test out a number of freelancers with small jobs until you find one you’re happy with.
Once you do, build a longer-term relationship with them. Use them for those copywriting jobs you can’t do in-house, but don’t want to pay an agency for.
Check out our guides to advertising copy and sales copy for more on this. Or email us, if you need help with how to do quick and easy copywriting.
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Woman writing on a Macbook : Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash
Frustrated Man (adapted) : Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash
Person typing on a Macbook : Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash
Bored in front of computer : Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash
Eye : Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash
Handshake : Cytonn Photography on Pexels
Thumb up (edited) : Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash