Finding a freelance B2B copywriter can be a daunting task. Choosing the wrong copywriter is more hassle than it’s worth – leading to project delays, higher costs and increased work for you.

But when you find the right copywriter, you can make your job easier, improve your marketing results and produce more content faster.

Here are seven questions to ask to ensure that you make the right decision:

1. What type of information will my copywriter expect from me?

Before you look for a writer, make sure that you have your brand positioning figured out. Some copywriters can help you with this, but most can’t write about you unless you know how you want to position yourself.

You can also give your copywriter the following items to help ensure that you get compelling copy that converts prospects into customers:

  1. Buyer personas for the customers you want to target.
  2. A style guide, including information on your preferred tone.
  3. Examples of copy you like and dislike.
  4. A project scope document. I provide my clients with a creative brief, even if they have one of their own. I often have questions that are different from the ones in their brief.
  5. Supporting data to back up your claims.
  6. Background materials, such as existing content about your topic.
  7. The contact information for anyone your writer needs to interview. You may need to make introductions if you want your copywriter to interview customers, subject matter experts or other people on your team.

2. Who owns the copy?

If you pay for the copy, you should own it. Make sure that your copywriter agrees to this in your contract.

However, your copywriter will appreciate it if you allow them to show your project in their portfolio. I typically wait until a project is successful before I ask if I can post it online.

3. Will they meet my deadline?

You and your copywriter should agree upon deadlines before your project starts. When you consider your timeframe, think about the following:

  • The time you will need to complete a creative brief and gather background information for your writer.
  • Whether your writer needs to conduct any interviews, such as with a customer for a case study. The timeframe will depend on your customer’s availability.
  • Time for your copywriter to research your project. If you are working with a new writer, allow them time to get up to speed with your company.
  • Approvals for outlines, the first draft and revisions. You can make this process smoother by asking your copywriter to create an outline before they write the first draft. Signing off on an outline puts you and your writer on the same page, so they will be more likely to submit copy that meets your standards.You can also reduce your editing time by asking your team review the copy and provide feedback all at once. Then, consolidate this feedback for your writer. That way, you’ll get all of the edits together.
  • The time for final steps, including proofreading, translations and design.

It’s a good idea to start your project as early as possible. This gives your writer time to get to know your company and write stronger copy. Many copywriters also charge a rush fee for last-minute projects.

4. I’m with an agency. Should I give my copywriter access to my clients?

Some copywriters prefer to deal only with their agency contact.

However, I prefer to speak with the client directly. When I take part in calls with the agency and client, I can ask questions that may not get answered otherwise. This gives me a deeper understanding of the client and how to write for them. I always write stronger copy when I speak directly with the client.

5. I’m in a niche market. How can I ensure that my copywriter doesn’t work with my competitors?

This is a Catch-22.

You probably want a copywriter who has experience in your niche.

If your niche is small, it’s likely that your copywriter will work with one of your competitors. Discuss your concerns with your writer and ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement before you share sensitive information with them. Your copywriter should agree to keep your information private. However, it might not be realistic for them to stop working with your competitors.

6. I need to send my copywriter sensitive data. How can I keep it secure?

With cybercrime making headlines daily, it’s vital to keep your data safe from unauthorized access.

Talk with your IT department about how to keep data secure when it leaves your company. To meet my clients’ IT policies, I have taken their online security training. I have also used their secure file sharing services, such as Box, to collaborate on projects.

7. What if I don’t like the work?

Here are five things you can do to minimize the risk of getting unusable copy:

  1. Review your copywriter’s samples before you hire them. Make sure you like their style and that they understand your industry.
  2. Provide your copywriter with the background information discussed earlier in this blog post. This will help them quickly get up to speed with your company and how you like things done.
  3. Allow your copywriter to directly interview your team, subject matter experts and customers.
  4. Ask for an outline before your copywriter submits in the first draft.
  5. Be clear with your edits. Don’t just say, “I don’t like it.” Explain why you don’t like it. Also be open to your copywriter’s response. They may have a reason behind every word choice. Hear them out before you veto their ideas.

You can also test your copywriter with a small, paid project before you hire them for a major marketing initiative. If the small project goes well, you can feel confident moving forward.

Are there any questions that I missed? Please let me know.