As I’ve been giving workshops around the Triangle and talking to small business owners about getting started with blogging, one frequent question I get is how to know when hiring a good copywriter makes sense. It’s a great question.
I haven’t met a business owner yet who has unlimited resources (if you know one, please give me her number), so we all have to figure out where to spend our precious time, energy, and money. This is one of the toughest things to figure out: When does it make sense to hire someone to perform a task? When does it make sense to do it yourself?
Figure out what tasks are fundamental
One of the best pieces of advice I got back before I started my business was that just because I could perform a task myself, doesn’t mean that I should. I think the direct quote was something like: “just because you could figure out how to make your own milk, doesn’t mean you should go out and get a cow, a milking machine, and a copy of Pasteurization for Dummies.”
On one hand, this is solid advice. Just because you could figure out how to do your own taxes, doesn’t mean doing them yourself is better than hiring an accountant who can probably do the job faster and better than you’ll ever be able to do it.
On the other hand, I’m a big believer in business owners doing tasks that are fundamental to running a business themselves before hiring someone else to do them. A good example of this is sales. If you’ve never hustled to sell your own products and services, you are going to have a tough time hiring the right salesperson, let alone training him about what your customers really value about your business.
Is creating content fundamental to running your business?
In most cases, the answer here is probably not.
However, while creating the actual copy that will show up on your home page or a blog post explaining how your newest product will change the lives of your customers may not be fundamental to running your business, figuring out the best way to express your brand is fundamental.
This means writing some of the content yourself is important and arguably essential to being successful. One great thing about putting your thoughts down on paper is that doing so forces you to figure out the best way to express those thoughts. So blogging and creating content for your website is one way to help you define your brand.
Still, when it comes to creating content for your website, including creating blog posts, there are some clear-cut cases where it makes sense for you to hire a good copywriter:
1. You really don’t have time for that.
If you already feel totally overwhelmed with the daily operations of your business, then adding content creation, like writing a weekly blog post, to your plate doesn’t make much sense. Remember that triage is important whether you work in the ER or are starting an organic farm.
Beware of productive procrastination. Writing a blog post might be a lot more fun than doing payroll, but if you use content creation as a way to avoid doing tasks that need to be done, it might be time to hire a good copywriter.
2. Writing is not your jam.
Some people naturally love to write—just think of your friends in college who tripped over each other signing up to take a Creative Writing course. Others, like moi, have a talent for explaining complicated ideas clearly and concisely (and in a reasonably interesting way, if I do say so myself).
If neither of the above applies to you and thinking about writing 2 pages single-spaced, for public consumption, makes your palms sweat, it might be time to hire a good copywriter.
3. You are too much of a perfectionist about writing.
Maybe you really love to write and love to write about your business. But your writing process is slow and it takes you 3 or 4 hours to create 500 words. This is another case where professional help is in order.
A blog post is not the next Great American novel. It’s really not something to fret over. If you know that you will be too tempted to get every word just right, it might be time to hire a good copywriter.
4. Your dad is the only one reading what you post.
Professional copywriters earn their money by helping get the word out about your business. So if you are blogging yourself and have been disappointed in the uptake, hiring someone who knows a bit about search engine optimization (SEO) could be the best money you’ve spent this year.
Besides having the right keywords, you need content that your target audience will want to read and will find beneficial. A good copywriter can help you create high quality content that both your clients and Google’s bots will love.
5. You need accountability.
There is a third option besides hiring someone to write copy for you and doing it all yourself; you could write some and let your copywriter write the rest. In this scenario, you can count on your writer to create an editorial calendar and hold you accountable for the content you agree to write.
Working together can be a really nice compromise. It gives you a chance to hone your brand and exercise your writing skills, without creating more of a burden than you can really afford.
Still not sure if hiring a good copywriter is the right move for your business? Get more information during my FREE blogging for small business workshop this Friday, February 10th at noon. There are still a few tickets available. Workshop participants even receive a discount on my copywriting services.
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