Get out of the authenticity trapI’ve seen this trend in the world of copywriting. I like to call it the “authenticity trap.”

Every business wants their own unique voice that stands out from the crowd. So often they’ll hire copywriters who have unique, fresh voices. The business wants to sound “authentic,” because that’s what the kids want these days. Authenticity.

The funky, cutesy copy works great on the “fresh” copywriter’s website – but many times when the writer delivers this kind of writing voice to a business, the copy gets rejected. Because it doesn’t sound authentic to the business.

It’s a voice gap.

The copywriter gets hired for their fresh voice, but the business expects them to adapt their voice to the business’s brand.

That’s not an unreasonable expectation. Any copywriter worth their salt will adapt their voice to the client’s brand. But when a copywriter is told they are being hired because of their fresh voice, the copywriter may be led to believe the business wants that same voice.

To add to the unfortunate trend, now you have this whole pile of copywriters who write in fun, fresh voices to attract these brands who want to be different and “authentic.” And the freshness is wearing off.

Popular copywriter Laura Belgray of Talking Shrimp recently caught onto this as well…

Laura Belgray Facebook post

So what do you do if you want to hire a copywriter to give your copy and content a fresh voice that stands out from the crowd?

1. Choose a copywriter with a strong track record

This may be a no-brainer, but don’t hire someone just because you like their blog.

Ideally, hire someone who has worked with businesses like yours. Or hire someone with a range of clips (writing examples) that showcase their ability to write differently for different audiences.

2. Be clear that you want the copywriter to write in YOUR voice, not theirs

This is something that a good copywriter will figure out during the getting-to-know-you phase – but why take the chance? Be clear. Point to examples of copy that actually sound like your brand.

Telling a copywriter you hired them because “you like their voice” is a recipe for copy that sounds like the copywriter. It’s fine to compliment them on their writing voice, but just make sure you help the copywriter understand what your voice is. They’ll “freshen it up” from there.

When you go to the Horizon Peak website, you see very crisp, professional, business-focused copy and content. But did you know I’m a regular contributor to Gaiam’s lifestyle website? Or that I wrote part of The Best Colorado Springs Hikes? Sure, they liked my voice – but do you see the same voice there that is on my website? Nope.

The lesson, here? Hire based on a copywriter’s track record (ultimately, the best judge of their skill), not their personal voice on their blog.

3. If you don’t like the way the copy is being written, tell the copywriter

Don’t do what so many businesses do and suck it up… only to spend money on an editor to change it all. I can’t tell you how many of us get hired to fix other copywriters’ work. It makes me really sad that so many businesses waste money this way. Be open and honest with your copywriter and give them the opportunity to get it right.

A caveat, of course, is that sometimes you like the copy you get – and then a few months from now you decide it doesn’t fit the brand your business has grown into. This happens. But if you’re going to hire a copywriter to change it again, and you had a good experience with the one you hired to write the original copy, don’t be shy about re-hiring them for another round of edits. I promise we won’t be offended. Most of us are business-owners ourselves, remember. We understand that a business is an ever-evolving thing! (Plus, hiring the same copywriter will cut down on the discovery phase of the process — they’ll already be familiar with you and your business, which gives them a leg-up to make you happy with round 2. Ah, the benefits of building real relationships with your business success team…)

A Copywriter is Part of Your Business Family

Marketing and PR maven Maggie Patterson says that hiring a copywriter is kind of like dating. I couldn’t agree more.

Spend the time finding the right copywriter for your business – and budget accordingly. Poorly-written copy can really hurt your brand, costing you a lot more than a great copywriter would have.