In an earlier blog, we explored the idea of using outsource copywriters to help at peak times and how outsourcing can help build your business. While that might seem like a great idea, it can be fraught with problems unless you manage it carefully.
So you want to outsource work? Before you can do that, you first have to find some suitable outsource copywriters. Don’t leave this until the last minute, because it can take time to go through the recruitment process.
Recruiting outsource copywriters is a lot like looking for a handsome prince. Believe me, you will kiss a lot of frogs along the way! There are copywriters and there are … copywriters. The person you recruit will have to be reliable, ethical and have the necessary skills and experience.
You might already know some potentially suitable copywriters through your Twitter or LinkedIn networks. If that’s the case, you just need to check them out and approach them. However, if you don’t have anyone in mind, you will have to think about advertising.
Check out the freelance job sites. Freelancers in the UK allows you to advertise free of charge. You might consider People per Hour, but be aware they place a lot of restrictions on both the advertiser and the freelancer. If you advertise on any of these job sites, be prepared to be swamped with replies. Give some thought to how you will manage this stage in the process.
If you have a website, why not post your ‘vacancy’ there and use social media to create awareness. LinkedIn, in particular, is a good recruitment channel.
Think carefully about your advert and how it will be worded. Be specific about the sort of skills you are looking for, e.g. SEO copywriting or experience in a certain industry sector, perhaps.
Unless you’re planning to employ the copywriter as a member of your staff, be sure to state it is a freelance position. Some people might assume it is paid employment and will expect a salary.
Tell people how they should respond. Do you want them to phone or would you prefer to receive emails from interested applicants? Don’t be afraid to ask for CVs and / or examples of their copywriting.
Whether or not you include a rate of pay might depend where you place your advert. Some freelance job sites will insist on a rate being given, others are more flexible. If you want someone to work with in the long-term, it might not be appropriate to include payment details if each project will be different.
Be sure to do your homework and check out your prospective outsource workers. Look first at their email replies. Are they professionally written? Have they given you the information you asked for? Your outsource copywriters will be working to your brief so they must demonstrate their ability to do this from the beginning.
Look at their websites and examples of their work. Do they have the skills you need and do they meet your standards? Remember, the reputation of your company could be in their hands!
Don’t be afraid to interview people – even if it’s just over the phone. As well as having the right writing skills, you need to have a rapport if you are to work together. Draw up a list of questions you want to ask in advance. While you need a good working relationship with your outsource writers, an interview shouldn’t just be a quick chat!
If you have a shortlist of suitable applicants, you might consider asking them to do a trial. Although some companies ask people to take part in free trials, it’s not very ethical and not everyone will agree to do this. If you want someone to do a trial piece of work, be prepared to pay them something for their time. You might not pay the full rate, but paying for a trial piece of work will show you are both ethical and professional.
If people have taken the time to respond to your advert, be sure to reply to their emails or calls, even if they are unsuccessful. Imagine how you would feel if you had applied for work and you never got so much as a acknowledgement.
If you’re looking for outsource copywriters, the Copywriting Apprentice might be able to help. We have a number of present or former students who are building their copywriting careers and looking for work. Simply send us an email with the relevant information. We will be happy to distribute it free of charge to suitable candidates and promote it through our social networks.
In the next blog, we’ll be looking at how you can manage your outsource workers.
Blog post by Joy McCarthy