You’re feeling frustrated and nervous. Why? Well, you’re looking for a direct response copywriter — you just aren’t sure where to start.
It’s a serious decision. Hiring a person to represent your brand is an even more serious decision. You don’t want to pick the wrong person.
The problem is, you’re not sure how to choose the right person.
You’re not alone. It can feel overwhelming to hire a direct-response copywriter.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. You can find a copywriter that’s a perfect fit for your business in one phone call. You don’t have to use trial and error or lie awake at night worrying.
Instead, you can keep your eyes peeled for five traits. These traits are intelligence, teamwork, reliability, attentiveness, and openness to learning.
In this article, we’re going to talk about each of the five traits. We’ll go over why they’re essential for a copywriter. Then, we’ll look at questions you can ask in each of the five categories.
Some of them are questions to ask the writer in the interview. Others are questions to ask yourself. Finally, some are things to keep your eyes peeled for, not only questions.
Here’s how you can separate your perfect direct-response copywriter from the rotten bananas of the bunch.
Table of Contents
First, a good copywriter will be intelligent. Now, you don’t need to hunt for a bona fide genius with an IQ to match Einstein. We’re not talking about someone with a lot of formal education, either. Someone can have a doctorate in business and still be a bad copywriter.
You’re looking for someone bright. You’re looking for a Hermione Granger. They’re sharp, and they catch on in a short time. Copywriting requires a lot of flexibility of thought. They’ll have to be adaptable and figure things out on their own.
In a business setting, you don’t have time to hold their hand. You don’t have time to generate hooks or angles for them. You’re running different teams and different projects. It’s essential to find someone capable of thinking for themselves.
Thinking is going to be a large part of their job. They’ll need to be able to think about how humans operate. They need to know what drives people to convert and what drives people away. They need to be able to get into someone else’s head.
They also have to be able to use logic and critical thinking. They have to analyze the market to know what kinds of copy to write. They also have to analyze the results of the copy they’ve produced. They even have to be able to judge their work to make edits through an objective lens.
Your copywriter needs to be intelligent. If they aren’t, you’ll be wasting time. Wasting time doing work for them. Wasting time explaining things to them. Wasting time hiring them and wasting time firing them after the dust settles.
You want to find an intelligent copywriter. Here are some questions to ask yourself during an interview:
An intelligent person will want to be part of the conversation, too. Here are some questions to ask your copywriter:
Here are ways to make your copywriting convert better.
Second, you’re looking for someone who can be a team player. Working with a jerk sucks. Working with a jerk in a marketing setting? That’s almost impossible.
Don’t hire someone with a superiority complex. Don’t hire someone who thinks of themselves as a hotshot who can do it all. If they’re too caught up in themselves, you’ll end up with a disjointed team. No one wants to work with a person who thinks too much of themselves. No one can work with a person who thinks too much of themselves.
When your team can’t work together, your business’s message splinters. Your copy will sound like it’s coming from different people who want different things. A disjointed message like that hurts conversions. People won’t trust a brand that doesn’t seem unified or consistent.
To combat this, you’re looking for a team player. You want someone who knows how to listen. They value the opinions of others and seek to understand different points of view. They thrive on communication.
This means you’re still hiring someone who can think for themselves. Remember where we talked about hiring someone who can contribute to a conversation? It’s relevant here, too. You want someone who has something to add to your team, not someone who will only smile and nod.
A good copywriter will give insights to your team and take feedback. They want to know what’s going well and what’s not. They care about being more than the only voice in the room.
Your perfect copywriter also cares about how their work affects everyone. This benefits the whole team. It also makes their copywriting more empathetic and well-written. They won’t turn in anything but their best work because they know shoddy work slows the team down.
When your copywriter is a team player, they help make the whole team better. They know copywriting is a piece of the puzzle. They want to fit into the big picture to boost conversions and hone their craft.
If they can’t do that, it’s time to let them go… fast. Better yet, you shouldn’t hire that writer at all.
When looking for a team player, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Now, here are some questions to ask them:
Next, you need your copywriter to be reliable. This one calls for a little flexibility. Good copywriters are creative. Creative types have a more challenging time with structure and punctuality than most. This means you may need to be lenient with your copywriter when it comes to timelines.
That's not to say a good copywriter won't still meet expectations. If they turn something in 5 minutes before the deadline, all good. They’ve met the deadline, even if it’s a little tight. Your job at that point is to set realistic deadlines.
With a realistic deadline, you have time to communicate with the rest of the team. Take any edits you may want to make into account, too. Don’t give your copywriter a day’s notice or less on longer projects. Don’t forget to take research time into account, as well. You’ll be setting yourself and them up to fail if you have unrealistic expectations.
Still, lateness can be a problem. For instance, if they’re so late that launches don’t go out on time. They might miss work or are late to a deadline and don’t bother letting anyone know. They might miss deadlines that have been set well in advance. These things tell you it’s time to let them go.
It's possible to find someone who's reliable, and it’s vital for your business. A reliable copywriter keeps things running without a hitch. You don’t have to waste time chasing them down or babysitting them. Instead, you can put copy out of your mind until it’s time to publish it and boost your conversion rates with it.
There are a few ways to avoid hiring someone with reliability issues. One is to give them a paid practice project before hiring them long-term. If they can’t make the deadline for the practice, you know it won’t work out.
You can also ask yourself:
You can ask your prospective copywriter:
Before we go on, here’s a quick word of warning about these questions. In the intelligence and teamwork questions, the response indicates how well they'd fit. Those were measuring communication skills. There’s more that goes into reliability.
A potential hire may respond well to the questions but struggle to follow through. These questions will help you weed out unreliable people, but some may slip through. It’s essential to use your best judgment and evaluate as you go.
Here are the signs that your copywriting needs work and might need the perfect copywriter.
Next, you’re looking for someone attentive. Attention to detail is crucial in any marketing position. Some mistakes are easy to overlook but too costly to make.
For instance, ads with the wrong price, different prices in different ads, or expired deals. These kinds of problems will lead to angry customers. Your brand will appear inconsistent or untruthful. The cherry on the banana split is a massive headache for your customer service team.
These mistakes cost money, time, and conversions. Too many costly mistakes like this mean it’s time to say goodbye to the writer making them. A lack of attention to detail makes for a bad copywriter.
A good copywriter will be on the lookout for consistency problems, though. They’ll be able to fix the mistakes before the copy launches, not after. Your perfect copywriter is going to be good at editing their work and others’.
Good copywriters are aware of the damage small mistakes can make. They’ll be attentive to the little things because they care about your brand’s image. That means attentiveness ties into being a team player.
A good copywriter isn’t attentive to avoid termination. They check for the little things for two reasons. First, because they want to help the team, not hold them back. Second, they’re always trying to perfect their craft.
How can you avoid hiring someone who lacks attention to detail? Again, you can have them do a smaller project to check for it.
You can also ask yourself these questions:
You can ask them these questions:
Know about market positioning here.
Finally, you’re looking for someone open to learning. This one's like being a team player. It’s important and distinct enough to warrant its own section, though.
If your writer thinks they know everything, they won’t be good at copywriting. Copywriting is a process. There are edits, there's trial and error, there are customers who disagree.
Arrogance will hurt the quality of the work and your relationship with your writer. You need to be communicating and training your writer. If their ego is too big, you’ll end up frustrated. The worst part is that their writing will never improve.
A good copywriter wants to know what they can do better. They’re always trying to improve their writing, and they’re humble enough to take criticism. The copywriter you want to work with will welcome criticism and edits.
Like anything, there is a line with critiquing your writer’s work. If criticism isn’t well-founded, you’ll frustrate your writer and yourself. A good copywriter will be open to hearing any criticism. They’ll ask follow-up questions and look for concrete ways to improve their writing.
When you find a writer who is open to learning, you’ll see your conversion rates improve. That’s because your writer will always be trying to improve on what’s already there. A real gem of a writer will do this with prompting and without it.
When trying to hire someone with an openness to learn, ask yourself these questions:
You can also ask them these questions:
Here’s a comprehensive list of questions to help you out. It’s important to remember, though, that this list isn’t a checklist. Instead, it should be a starting point. You want to spark a conversation with your potential writer, not interrogate them
Questions to ask yourself when hiring a writer:
Here’s the list of questions to think about asking your writer:
Learn how to use direct-response copywriting here.
Hiring a direct response copywriter is a big deal. After all, you’re not looking for another employee to show up and follow orders. When you hire a copywriter, you’re looking for someone to represent your business.
When you think of it that way, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t let it scare you, though. A professional copywriter can improve your ROI. This is their field of expertise, not just one of the things they handle.
You have to make sure that you don’t pick a copywriter who’ll lose conversions or give your business a bad name. That’s why you want to find out if they meet these five requirements.
It may feel impossible to find someone who checks all five boxes. Even though it feels that way, it isn’t the truth. There are hidden gems in the copywriting industry, you only need to know how to find them. Be patient and persistent. The perfect direct response copywriter will be more than worth it.
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