A copywriter can help you increase the size of your content footprint
A lot of people think that copywriters write website sales copy and nothing else. In fact, most copywriters offer much more than this.
Stop trying to do it all yourself. A good copywriter can lift the burden of writing effective content to support your business. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
A quick example of the diversity of my copywriting work
To help give the rest of this article some context, here’s an example of the list of projects I worked on in a two-week period towards the end of 2018:
- Website copy: X-ray cameras for scientists
- Website copy: Software testing products
- Website copy: IT asset management and licensing
- Website copy: Industrial label manufacture
- White paper: Online identity access management
- Article: Business automation in financial services
- Article: Costs of hiring an interpreter
- Article: Credit card authentication
- Case study: Lift engineering
- LinkedIn profile rewrite: Bearings supplier
It’s tough to sum all that up in a short description. The point is that a copywriter can do lots of writing tasks for you. Let’s look at some of them in more detail.
Hire a copywriter to write websites
Producing compelling website content is the staple business for many copywriters.
A good copywriter will be able to provide more than just words: they’ll know how to combine the right words with your design, influencing your audience to do whatever it is that you want them to. This is all to do with making a clear Call To Action (CTA).
The CTA – which usually takes the form of a button – could be to request a free quote, register for an online service, buy a product or download an ebook.
Yes, that button above is a CTA. Every part of the writing on the page needs to influence the reader to respond positively to the CTA.
🔍 Learn more: website writing & pricing
Hire a copywriter to write blogs
Producing regular, relevant content is a brilliant way of climbing up the search rankings. Blogging has helped me promote my technical copywriting business: since committing to a regular blog production routine, my site went from the middle of page 7 to the top of page 1 of Google.
Most business owners tell me that their teams don’t have time to create blogs. It’s understandable – especially when the benefits of maintaining a blog aren’t immediate.
If you don’t have the resource to write your own blogs, why not hire a blog copywriter to do the hard work for you?
Set up a retainer agreement to secure the copywriter’s time, and ask them to produce 2–4 posts per month.
The cost will depend on the level of research the copywriter needs to do to write the articles. If you want to produce long, thoroughly researched blogs in a specialised niche, that’s not going to be cheap. Keep in mind that good quality content can drive the right sort of people to your site, and they’ll become your future customers.
🔍 Learn more: blog writing & pricing
Hire a copywriter to write case studies
Case studies are like testimonials on steroids. They’re a great way to provide ‘social proof’ to your audience, encouraging potential customers to buy from you.
You have to know how to structure a case study so that it can have maximum impact. And, of course, the writing must be clear and compelling. Again, a copywriter’s skills will be useful in making the case study sound interesting and relevant to the target audience.
My colleague Kev Anderson is an expert at crafting great case studies. He’s put together a summary of what makes a great case study:
🔍 Learn more: case study writing & pricing
Hire a copywriter to write email
Marketers say that email is still the most effective channel for communicating with your customers. But how much attention do you pay to the messages your business sends out?
A copywriter will help you present your email updates in an appealing fashion. The words you use in your email could be the difference between making a sale and annoying your customers enough to make them unsubscribe.
If you don’t have a marketing department (or if you do but they’re really stretched), try hiring a freelance copywriter to bring some style and consistency to your email communications.
Hire a copywriter to write brochures
If you want to produce a brochure to convince potential customers to buy, you’ll probably want to invest in a stylish design. For print brochures, you’ll also want to use glossy material with a premium finish. These things don’t come cheap. But you’ll be wasting your time if the words inside the brochure aren’t up to scratch.
A copywriter can help you produce a brochure that will wow your audience and generate sales.
Hire a copywriter to write social media campaigns
Your business might already have one or more social media accounts. But who is writing your tweets, LinkedIn updates and Facebook posts? Are you sharing boring updates that aren’t getting any engagement?
Someone with a creative way with words should be able to help you make more of an impact on social media.
It might be too much of an ongoing commitment to entrust your social media updates to a copywriter, but if you have a one-off project or campaign to devote some budget to, why not ask a copywriter to produce a set of tweets and other social posts? You could agree a set price and then try to judge whether the results are any better than for your other social posts.
Hire a copywriter to write adverts
While blogs are the slow-burn of the marketing world, paid ads are the fireworks. If you’re going to spend money on an advert, make sure it’s written properly and is well suited to wherever it’s going to appear. For example, the writing style for a Google advert might not match the script for a radio or TV ad, which in turn will be different from how you write an ad for a newspaper or trade journal.
Even if a copywriter doesn’t write the advert, someone with an editorial eye should review the content before it’s published. Bad adverts have a tendency to go viral, and you don’t want to be on the end of that sort of embarrassment.
Hire a copywriter to write white papers
When you need something more weighty and serious than a blog, you may want to create something like a white paper. These are well-researched reports that are usually presented as PDFs, and tend to appeal to a very specific audience who might be rather better informed than the average reader.
You and your team should have the technical knowledge to provide the basis for the white paper, but you might need external help to fit the content together in a coherent and engaging way. In such cases, a technical copywriter would be able to produce the document for you, leaving you to get on with running your business.
Hire a copywriter to write annual reports
Nobody in the history of the universe has ever wanted to write an annual report.
And yet they need to be done – it’s a compliance requirement that most businesses can’t get away from.
A technical copywriter or editorial consultant will help you shape the content of the report so that the facts are clear and that readers don’t fall asleep when skimming through the content (which usually happens 5 minutes before the start of the annual general meeting).
Hire a copywriter to write terms and conditions
Whether or not you hire a copywriter, you’ll definitely need extra help when it comes to producing terms and conditions. The last thing you want is to publish a flaky set of rules that don’t stand up to any scrutiny. So, getting the content checked by your legal team or a suitably qualified external adviser is really a must.
A copywriter should be able to produce a set of plain English terms that will mostly satisfy your legal reviewer. I think this approach is better than handing the whole thing over to a legal agency – you should save money but still get an excellent result.
I love it when businesses take the time and care to produce simple, clear terms and conditions accompanied by a plain English summary. It’s a sign that they’ve used a copywriter’s services to help them improve communications with customers. I’m definitely more likely to trust a business that takes this approach.
The same goes for terms of service, which are probably the least read texts of any type of document. How many times have you read the service agreement before updating your mobile phone’s operating system?
Documents like these offer an opportunity for you and your business to stand out. Why? Because nobody expects one of these standard ‘customer touchpoints’ to contain anything interesting or exciting. Adding a bit of clarity and personality to such content can help your business be noticed and remembered. In other words, they give you a chance to ensure you don’t sound like everyone else.
Hire a copywriter to write non-disclosure agreements
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are in a similar category to terms and conditions. They’re different because they’re not intended for public consumption, but should still be clear and easy to understand.
An NDA is used to ensure that your suppliers keep parts of your working relationship private.
You’ll have gotten the gist by now: a technical copywriter can help to make the agreement clear, so that both parties can sign the NDA with confidence.
Hire a copywriter to write policies and procedures
Policies and procedures documents are important for the good operation of your business. If they’re not in a fit state and someone does something stupid at work, your HR department won’t thank you for giving them a tricky situation to handle.
If your policies and procedures are intelligently structured and well written, no one should be in any doubt about what’s expected of them while they work for you.
Structured documents are best handled by a technical writer who knows how to use a help authoring tool (HAT) such as Adobe RoboHelp or MadCap Flare. This approach is useful when you want to publish content online and as a Word document or PDF. If you’re happy with maintaining a Word document alone, a copywriter could do the job.
Hire a copywriter to write user guides
The old saying is that no one reads the user manual. I don’t blame people. Most user manuals are terrible, often because they’re poor translations of content created by non-native English speakers.
Even when instructions are written by native English speakers, they’re not particularly good. Why? Because they tend to be written by engineers, technicians or other members of the product team. That’s a bad idea for two reasons:
- Technicians tend not to be good writers
- They’re too close to the product to write about it in a helpful way.
What is simple or obvious to your in-house staff won’t be simple or obvious to your customers.
I hate it when people assume that readers know more than they do. If you do this in your instructional writing, you might alienate your customers. Here’s an example of a couple of words to avoid:
Don't start instructions with these words:
Everyone loses when the reader feels stupid.#WritingTips
— John Espirian (@espirian) May 11, 2017
🔍 Learn more: user guide writing & pricing
Hire a copywriter to write tenders and bids
Governments and other large organisations will often put contracts out to tender. Though you can churn through the guidance documents and answer the questions they ask, the process can be very time consuming.
Also, you might not be able to pitch the bid in the sort of language that the bid reviewers expect to see, and that could count against you (even if, in reality, your organisation would be the best one for the job).
As with other structured documents, a technical writer would be well placed to give you the written support to put together a solid tender or bid document.
Note that some companies specialise in bid-writing services, and can provide various levels of support depending on what you require when preparing your bid. One such specialist is SME Bidder.
Hire a copywriter to write release notes
If you release a new version of a product, you’ll need to write some ‘what’s new’ release notes to document the changes. A technical writer can summarise these changes for you.
There’s an increasing tendency to produce humorous release notes, to keep people engaged and entertained. If that sounds good to you, make sure you hire someone who isn’t boring.
Here’s an example of some release notes for the CodeKit app (I didn’t write these but concur with their assessment of the Kardashians):
Hire a copywriter to write press releases
Though they are one of the least effective types of writing, you may occasionally want to put out a press release. News syndication services and journalists may get hold of the content and write about your organisation – but don’t hold your breath!
Press releases usually have a standard format and tend not to include much in the way of creative writing. Here are some pointers:
- Start with the date and city of publication
- Keep it short: 400 words is usually enough
- Get the key message across in the first paragraph
- Don’t write using ‘I’ or ‘we’ (this helps journalists who want to quote parts of the text)
- Avoid jargon
The most cost-effective route for creating a press release is for you to fill out the facts and then hand the content over to an editor to polish. Alternatively, this could be a good task for a junior copywriter.
Let’s sum up
Copywriters and technical copywriters can do a lot more than just help you sell your products and explain how your services work.
Next time you need to produce any written content to support your business, ask yourself whether a professional writer could help you do the job better.
Did you find my writing clear?
If you struggle to write clearly for your customers – or if you don't have time to do it yourself – then save yourself a headache and hire me to do the heavy lifting.
I help B2B businesses to write website pages, blog posts, case studies and more. Need a hand with your writing?
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Who wrote this?
John Espirian – the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter
I write B2B web content, blogs, user guides and case studies – all aimed at explaining how your products, services and processes work. I also offer LinkedIn profile critiquing and rewriting.
I work from home in Newport, South Wales and support the (formerly) mighty Liverpool FC 🔴⚽️