7 Traits of a Valuable Freelance Copywriter

You’ve decided to hire a freelance copywriter. There are many reasons you’ve come to that decision:

  • Your internal staff is swamped.
  • You lack an in-house resource with experience on the topic.
  • You're simply looking for a fresh voice and perspective.

What should you consider as you seek the person that is going to solve your problem quickly and effectively?

Here are seven key traits to look for as you conduct your search:

1. Writing Skill – This one seems obvious but you’d be surprised at the wide variety of writing skills that are out there. The person you hire needs to deliver compelling, consistent, and coherent copy that hits the mark with limited intervention from you.

2. Reliability and Dependability – Woody Allen once said that 80% of success is showing up.  No matter how good your writer is, if the copy isn't delivered on time, it's not going to be worth much to you. The person you hire will be a crucial member of your team. You have to be able to rely on him or her to be there when needed.

3. Flexibility – Your writer needs to be able to roll with the punches that inevitably come in the dynamic day to day business environment. That could take the form of last minute scheduling changes or requests for edits in the copy. You have enough problems without fighting your writer on changes you want to make or on deadlines that may shift.

4. Versatility – You likely have various writing needs ranging from editorial to technical to promotional. One writer may not have the background or experience to handle all of your requirements, but the more projects one writer can handle the easier your life will be. Once you develop a solid relationship, you'll be much more productive using that writer for as many of your needs as possible.

5. Strategic Thinking – You should be looking for more than a writer. You need someone with a broad business background who can understand the underlying issues you face and can offer ideas on how best to address them in your copy. You want someone with whom you can discuss ideas and concepts and who can help you develop the appropriate strategy to achieve the goals of each piece.

6. Natural Curiosity – Your writer should be genuinely interested in learning more about your business, product, and the project at hand without having to be led every step of the way. This trait becomes even more crucial if the project requires research or interviewing of an SME.

7. The Ability to Get “It” – You want a writer who is a quick study, knows who the target audience is, understands the goal for each piece, and delivers copy in the style and tone you require. And someone who can get it to you quickly without much hand holding on your part.

Do the copywriters you've been using match up?  What traits do you value most?