December 3, 2022

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David Leonhardt on Hiring a Copywriter for Your Small Business

David Leonhardt on Hiring a Copywriter for Your Small Business

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You’ve got a great small business story to tell, but how do you find just the right words? On today’s show, David Leonhardt, President of The Happy Guy (THGM) Writing Services, sits down with Shawn Hessinger, the Executive Editor of Small Business Trends, to discuss how hiring a copywriter may be a better idea than trying to go it alone. Other highlights of the video include the benefits of hiring a copywriter, the best places to find this type of talent and how to convey your message to them once you do.

Why Hire a Copywriter for Your Small Business?

Shawn Hessinger: So, David, let’s start with why a small business would hire a copywriter.

David Leonhardt: Well, every business at some time or another needs to get a message across–whether it’s to customers, whether it’s to potential partners or whether it’s even just to the local business community. Your reputation is on the line every time you open your mouth, but just as much every time you hit the keyboard.

A copywriter helps take whatever message you want to deliver to whatever audience it is and finds the right words to put you in the best light. Even more basically, they help you communicate properly and get your message across.

But at the same time, one of the reasons a lot of businesses will outsource is because they want someone who is not just going to get the message across the “de facto” information, but also is going to get that broader message of “this is who we are,” “we are a good company,” “we are a respectable company” and “we are leaders.”

The business copywriters at The Happy Guy Writing Services exemplify this, you know, that image that you want with that particular audience. Plus, they are going to be able to work a little magic by finding the right words–very similar to a photographer or a graphic artist. Anybody can draw stick figures of three people interacting. But you’re going to hire a professional when you want to portray your reputation in a certain professional way; the same thing with copywriting.

Shawn Hessinger: Some people may say, “Well, I know how to write. Why do I have to hire a copywriter?”

David Leonhardt: Everybody can write. Everybody can draw. Everybody can speak. But one of the interesting things is how many people come to us to help write speeches. And the most interesting of all? The speeches that we write the most are wedding speeches. You know, best man, father of the bride, mother of the bride, that kind of thing. And this is something personal.

You know how to talk about your kid or about the groom if you’re the best man or something like that–who doesn’t? And yet you try to find the right words for that and business occasions. Every time you write something, it is an occasion. And maybe a note to one of your staff might not be an occasion. But if you’re sending it outside your company, you want to know that it’s done right.

Additionally, you need to, first, have the skill. And second, you alluded to it: you must have the time. And not just the time, but also that mental space to be able to put everything else aside to do it right.

Shawn Hessinger: Can you illuminate, maybe even from your own personal experience, things that people have hired copywriters to do?

David Leonhardt: Almost every business will sooner or later have letters to write or some marketing materials, whether those be pamphlets, advertisements, or video scripts. Sometimes there are reports.

Certainly, if you’re active, interacting with even municipal government or business improvement associations when you have something that you want to get across, you have a position that’s important for your company or you have any outreach toward, you know, again, like advertising or public relations…news releases is something actually that we get from time to time trying to raise the company’s profile, whether it’s locally, whether it’s for an event or a charity that it’s supporting.

You know, these are all the kinds of things that every business must communicate. And sooner or later, even plumbers must communicate beyond just phone calls and text messages. So that’s when you want to get a copywriter to jump in and share their expertise.

Shawn Hessinger: I think I need a copywriter. I’ve no idea where to find work. How do you go about doing that, even starting the process?

David Leonhardt: I mean, there are so many ways to find a copywriter, and it’s not all that different than findingny other outsource search engines right away. Ask your business colleagues. Presumably, you have either your partner, your partner organizations, suppliers, or even clients that can help with referrals.

You’re typically involved in a chamber of commerce or business improvement organization or perhaps some industry chats online. So, there are a lot of opportunities for referrals in that way. You know, obviously, there are websites that broker those things as well.

Shawn Hessinger: I want to drill down a little deeper into the brokerage sites. When do you think about Upwork and Fiverr or similar places? You know, what are the pros and cons of finding a copywriter that way?

David Leonhardt: The pros to them are that you don’t have to search very hard. I mean, it’s there when you need it. And if you don’t need a regular copywriter, if it’s just really some one-offs now and then, that’s probably your best way. You’re not going to want to invest the time and effort to find just that perfect copywriter who’s going to get your story. And it’s going to be kind of like an external arm of your business.

The con to them is that you’re not going to find someone who can really tell your story over the long term, where you can build a relationship, who can and who after a while, presumably any good copywriter is going to be able to think ahead of you–even in some cases, contact you and say, “You know what’s happening in your business these days? And lets you know what you should be preparing for down the road.

So that’s I think that’s really the main difference. And, you know, you might save some money as well, going to the brokerage places. But again, you’re going to lose some of that consistency. So, you can often level the scale between having a dedicated or ongoing relationship and pulling out of the brokerage side.

More on How to Hire a Copywriter

Be sure to check out the second half of the episode Hiring a Copywriter for Your Small Business where Shawn and David discuss more tips on how to hire a copywriter, including:

  • What kind of questions to ask to ensure you get the right copywriter for what you have in mind.
  • How to decide or negotiate a price for jobs or an ongoing relationship.
  • How to know what to pay a copywriter for what you’re asking them to do.
  • How to go about preparing your copywriter for the kind of content you really need them to create.
  • How to ensure your copywriter is on the same page as you.
  • How to ensure your business writer communicates in a way the audience understands.

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