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Copywriting: How does freelancer really get the understanding needed to write on *this* topic well?

Active Member
j p Member Since: Jun 21, 2019
1 of 27

As a client with a lot of work that needs to get done and not enough time in my day to get everything done, and it is worth money to get it done, it seems like a natural fit to come to Upwork to find someone that can do some of my outsourceable tasks and pay them to do so.

 

One of those tasks is to take one of our websites up to the next level, with the metric of increased conversion (viewers converted to people that inquire, with a good enough fit that more end up purchasing).

 

One part of that is writing the words to go on the revised website.

 

I'm not looking for someone to just throw together some words that are good English grammar.  This is a specialty area and needs to say the right words that will convey we really know what we are talking about (and convey that reaching out to us will not be a waste of their busy time).

 

We already have a website.  We need to bring it up to the next level.

 

So, I posted a job and hired, and now things are not coming to a better result than I already had.

 

I am not experienced at hiring copywriters, so I want to understand how to do this right.

 

My most basic question is: Whose job is it to figure out the procedure to get the freelancer up to speed?  Of course we supply them with things like our existing website with many pages of content, a number of client success-studies/case-histories, and what we have figured out are key things to convey, also a proposed style and look.  That was done.  But how do we bridge the gap of them having no knowledge of the industry?   How would any copywriter come up to speed and write better than what we already have?  I would think that would be one of the most basic skills a copywriter would need to be extremely good at (or else they could only write well for topics they already know).

And then the next step is how to constructively respond when they submit a first-draft and it understandably is far from the mark in my estimation (but maybe they are almost there?  As ana analogy, I think of going a few miles to the next city is a big task, but when I'm in a jet going 550 miles per hour, I went that far perhaps while stirring my coffee -- the analogy is meant that things can seem far but a small change can sometimes make all the difference). 

 

Do I just not have the right person hired? Are there freelancers on upwork that really know how to do that, that know exactly what questions to ask me that are easy for me to answer, so they can write those magic words?  Or is it my job to basically tell them what to write, and /or how do I teach them what they need to know?

 

How have others made this work really well, for a client that is really busy?
I'd like to make sure my expectations are realistic, and everyone ends up happy.

Community Guru
Joan S Member Since: Mar 18, 2019
2 of 27

Your job is to say what you want to be done - and then try to find the person who will do what you want. It might pay to look at the kinds of jobs the freelancer has already done - and it just might take some trial and error. 

Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
3 of 27

As a client, you don't have to write the articles by yourself.

If your interactions with the freelancer feel like you are actually writing the content yourself, walking the writer every step as though (s)he was in KG, then you've hired the wrong person. Hire a highly intelligent writer that can find your business' pulse and feel it really fast.

 

Still, when you find the right person, the writer who gets you, expect to get only as much as you put in the relationship. This is how all relationships work. You must be willing to invest some time to get your writer up to speed. When you finally find that writer, and invest such time in that writer, you must also be willing to stay with that writer and continue to build the relationship, so you don't go through an unnecessary pain of starting afresh with another writer.

 

Active Member
j p Member Since: Jun 21, 2019
4 of 27

I completely agree with you.  Actually this is just a starter job to get a feel if they can do it, that if the freelancer works out and "gets it" and can write things after this without a lot of my hours needed, I would love to hire them for job after job every month.

 

I would guess I have invested at least 5 hours getting them material and in discussions (messaging back and forth).  (I wasn't running an hour meter on my end, coule be 3 could be 10 hours).

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
5 of 27

j p wrote:

As a client with a lot of work that needs to get done and not enough time in my day to get everything done, and it is worth money to get it done, it seems like a natural fit to come to Upwork to find someone that can do some of my outsourceable tasks and pay them to do so.

 

One of those tasks is to take one of our websites up to the next level, with the metric of increased conversion (viewers converted to people that inquire, with a good enough fit that more end up purchasing).

 

One part of that is writing the words to go on the revised website.

 

I'm not looking for someone to just throw together some words that are good English grammar.  This is a specialty area and needs to say the right words that will convey we really know what we are talking about (and convey that reaching out to us will not be a waste of their busy time).

 

We already have a website.  We need to bring it up to the next level.

 

So, I posted a job and hired, and now things are not coming to a better result than I already had.

 

I am not experienced at hiring copywriters, so I want to understand how to do this right.

 

My most basic question is: Whose job is it to figure out the procedure to get the freelancer up to speed?  Of course we supply them with things like our existing website with many pages of content, a number of client success-studies/case-histories, and what we have figured out are key things to convey, also a proposed style and look.  That was done.  But how do we bridge the gap of them having no knowledge of the industry?   How would any copywriter come up to speed and write better than what we already have?  I would think that would be one of the most basic skills a copywriter would need to be extremely good at (or else they could only write well for topics they already know).

And then the next step is how to constructively respond when they submit a first-draft and it understandably is far from the mark in my estimation (but maybe they are almost there?  As ana analogy, I think of going a few miles to the next city is a big task, but when I'm in a jet going 550 miles per hour, I went that far perhaps while stirring my coffee -- the analogy is meant that things can seem far but a small change can sometimes make all the difference). 

 

Do I just not have the right person hired? Are there freelancers on upwork that really know how to do that, that know exactly what questions to ask me that are easy for me to answer, so they can write those magic words?  Or is it my job to basically tell them what to write, and /or how do I teach them what they need to know?

 

How have others made this work really well, for a client that is really busy?
I'd like to make sure my expectations are realistic, and everyone ends up happy.


___________________________________________

You get what you pay for. You need to go for top end and pay a marketing copy writer to deliver what you are looking for. This would be an experienced, top rated  specialist who charges in the region of $100 per hour. 

Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
6 of 27

Nichola L wrote:


___________________________________________

You get what you pay for. You need to go for top end and pay a marketing copy writer to deliver what you are looking for. This would be an experienced, top rated  specialist who charges in the region of $100 per hour. 


While I'm pretty darn sure the OP isn't paying that writer $100/hr, it's also likely he isn't paying rock bottom rates either.

I think the issue is more than just pay here.

 

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
7 of 27

Abinadab A wrote:

Nichola L wrote:


___________________________________________

You get what you pay for. You need to go for top end and pay a marketing copy writer to deliver what you are looking for. This would be an experienced, top rated  specialist who charges in the region of $100 per hour. 


While I'm pretty darn sure the OP isn't paying that writer $100/hr, it's also likely he isn't paying rock bottom rates either.

I think the issue is more than just pay here.

 


_______________________

That is exactly my point. The issue is finding someone who is going to deliver what the OP requires. I do not think the OP is going to find this among well-meaning but inexperienced writers.  Good copy writers who know what they are doing do not come cheap. 

Active Member
j p Member Since: Jun 21, 2019
8 of 27

I have seen one person agonize for hours and not get something right.  The other day I asked another person about what to say, and in 15 minutes they had it pretty close.  To me hours are no connection to results.  The world will turn 1/24th of a revolution whether they are working hard or distracted or in a mental block.

 

An hour of what? Hard research that gets words they write? Mental meandering? writing then correcting?

 

To give another example, a business person I know (also top management of his company) told me the story of he hired people in India for 1/4 the cost -- and they took 4 times as long.

 

In another example, someone told me that the way they do business is stack several clients and bill them all for the time spent -- multiply the hourly pay!  (I hope no one thinks this is a great idea -- that group dissappeared from busniness as far as I know).

 

My conclusion is hours mean nothing.

 

Therefore the logical thing seems to be to hire at a fixed cost for the project, with milestones.  The result will be worth $__ to me.  And that is what I did.

 

If they are experienced, I expect them to figure out on their end how long it will take *them* and work out the price before we start the job.  And that is what we did.  That seems fairest to me.  If I did not have enough in the budget, then say so up front.

 

As to my style of working, there have been a number of projects (not copywriting) where when we got into it, we found the task was larger than originally understood by both of us, and I could see they were making good progress and the results were worth what they had done so far, so we increased the budget -- sometimes several times the original contracted price.  So I'm not one to hold one to the fire on that price if they are really doing a great job.  But to do that, I sometimes offer a bit lower up front, expecting that I will increase as needed.

 

But, I do wonder, how long should it take someone to write a web-page from unknown to fully completed? (answer of course is "That depends", but let's get a ballpark, just like the ballpark of $100/hr).

 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
9 of 27

j p wrote:

 

...But, I do wonder, how long should it take someone to write a web-page from unknown to fully completed? (answer of course is "That depends", but let's get a ballpark, just like the ballpark of $100/hr).


You say ballpark, I say benchmark. I use the rate survey from the Editorial Freelancers Association.

 

Having calculated that I perform the editorial tasks I offer at industry-standard paces, I can evaluate a client's needs, give them the right name for the kind of service they're looking for, and point them to its market price—whether they prefer paying by the word, the hour, or the job.

Active Member
j p Member Since: Jun 21, 2019
10 of 27

One that I hired says on his profile $80/hr.  But what does that mean?  Anyone can put whatever they want on their profile.
I can tell from messaging that he is definitely experienced, although not many jobs on upwork.

So it brings up the topic of experience does not equal ability on the task I need.

 

So maybe a better question I should have asked is for him to lay out in detail what his process is for getting a solid footing on understanding?

 

I didn't push for too lengthy a conversation up front about that detail because we talked at length about some other things, and at some point both the freelancer and the client can put only so much time into the pre-contract discussion.

 

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