Are you ready to hire a copywriter?

6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Hire a Copywriter

Hey, I'm Alethea—and I'm a 

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I’ll put it bluntly… Just because you don’t want to write your copy yourself doesn’t mean you should hire a copywriter.

And before you say, “but Alethea, shut up and take my money.” I want you to know that I only say this because handing over your cash to a copywriter before you’re ready will be a colossal waste of your money.

Like, investing in Bitcoin back when people thought it would make you rich.

(It’s me. I’m people. I was one of the Bitcoin idiots.)

And much like those beloved Bitcoin fools believed that crypto would make them rich, you might be thinking that hiring a copywriter will solve a long list of things for you, but the truth is:

IF YOU END UP HIRING A COPYWRITER BEFORE YOU’RE READY, YOU’LL REGRET IT.

(And yes, it was necessary to put that in all caps.)

So, if you’re on the fence about whether or not you’re ready to hire a copywriter, consider these six things first. That way, you won’t waste hundreds to thousands of dollars investing in copy that gets you zero results.

1. You’re still figuring out the details of your business

Copywriters are NOT business strategists.

(Even if it is a secondary skill we develop from having our noses in so many people’s businesses.)

That means before you hire a copywriter (and if you want your copywriter to have a chance at writing killer copy that makes you baller dollars), you need to be CRYSTAL clear about the ins and outs of your business.

You should know:

  • The industry you’re in and who your competitors are
  • Your core offers
  • Why people want to buy from you and what problems you solve for your clients/customers
  • The step-by-step process a client/customer takes when they buy from you
  • What sets you apart from everyone else in your industry and why your business is the perfect choice for your ideal client

Now the next question you might be asking is whether or not you need to have already had clients to hire a copywriter. The answer? It depends.

For e-commerce businesses that are familiar with their product and their industry, it’s not necessary to have sold the product to be ready to work with a copywriter. But for service-based businesses, you should have had at least a few clients before forking over a bunch of cash for copy.

Why? Because as a service provider who works 1:1 with clients, your process, deliverables, and client experience will change drastically over time. So you want to work out all the kinks before hiring someone to write about what experience and deliverables you provide for your clients.

(Digital products, like courses, fall into a category of their own because you can (and should!) hire a copywriter to help you launch a digital product. And you don’t necessarily need to have had buy it before you start selling it.)

In other words? If you’re still figuring out what services you want to sell, aren’t sure which industry you’re in, or are unclear about the step-by-step process your clients and customers will go through, don’t hire a copywriter. Your money will be better spent elsewhere.

2. You don’t know your brand vibe or voice (and you don’t want to hire a copywriter to help with brand messaging, specifically)

Before I say anything else, let me say this: some copywriters can help with brand voice.

Like me! Because I offer brand messaging, I do help clients come up with their brand voice, develop their ideal client avatar, and get clearer about their brand positioning by looking at the special spot they occupy in comparison to what’s going on in their industry.

But. That’s a specific and separate service from the other copywriting services I offer, like website and sales page copy.

If you’re going to a copywriter just for copy, you should be pretty dang clear about your brand vibe and voice. And what I mean by that is:

  • What’s your brand’s personality? Is your brand more of a party-raver type? Or a classy lady, sipping red wine?
  • How does your brand sound when it talks? Is it down to cuss or does it use more refined lingo?
  • And most importantly, have you done the deeper work of digging into the strategy behind your brand? Because if you say you want an edgy brand voice, but you want to work with Mormon grandmas, your copy is not going to get you the results you want.

So yes, copywriters can absolutely help with developing a strategic brand voice. However, you should be looking for that service specifically or be clear about your brand vibe and voice before reaching out to work with a copywriter.

3. You’ve only got a vague idea of who your ideal client is

The phrase “ideal client” gets thrown around a lot in business. And that’s because it’s absolutely fundamental to everything you do. But sometimes people make it seem a lot more simple than it is.

Knowing your ideal client doesn’t mean sitting down and writing a list of how much money your ideal person makes, whether or not they live in America, or if they have 2.5 kids and a golden retriever.

Those are demographics. And while they are a part of defining your ideal client, they’re not anywhere close to the whole damn picture.

If it helps, think about your dream man/woman/human being. Did you imagine them as a bulleted list of facts that read 6’2, 31, lives in a 1-bedroom apartment in a metropolitan area?

I didn’t think so because those things don’t help you imagine a real person at all. You want to go deeper than that.

Some deeper questions you want to be able to answer about your ideal client are:

  • What is their personality like?
  • What are the things they give a serious sh*t about?
  • What kind of references/jokes/comparisons can you make that you and them will both totally get?
  • What’s their current situation when they come across your brand? How are they likely hearing about you in the first place?
  • What problems are they facing? What have they tried? What excuses are they making?
  • What do they think will fix their problem? What do YOU, as the expert, think will fix their problem?

You want to know your ideal client like you know that when your best friend sends a yellow heart she’s being passive-aggressive. And when she says she’s “down” for an idea you suggested, it really means she’s gonna text you later and tell you she’s not down to do it.

When you know your ideal client like that, your copywriter can whip up copy that makes that person, and that person only, drool over whatever you’re offering. Because it will be so specifically written for them that there’s no way they don’t relate to it.

And btw, your ideal client will absolutely evolve. In fact, it can be really helpful to take a good look at your current audience and notice if that’s different than the audience you WANT to attract.

In other words? If you’re just starting out and you don’t have a good idea of who it is you want to be buying your stuff, don’t waste your money on hiring a copywriter. It would be better to DIY your copy, get stuff up and running, and then hire someone to help you redo it after you’re clear on who you want your copy to speak to.

(And if you don’t know your ideal client at all, this blog post is a freaking fabulous place to start.)

4. You’re hoping that hiring a copywriter will solve ALL of your business problems

If your marriage was falling apart, would you watch a TikTok on “how to fix your marriage” and think that would do the trick?

Probs not because that would be ridiculous.

And just like a less-than-2-minute video probably won’t solve your crumbling marriage, hiring a copywriter might not solve the problems you’re looking to fix.

For example, if you’ve got ZERO website traffic coming in and very few people interested in what you sell… Dropping 2-8K on website copy is NOT going to get you the results you want.

But if you’re noticing you’re getting loads of inquiries that just aren’t aligned. Or, you’re getting tons of traffic, but that traffic just isn’t converting. Those are great reasons to hire a website copywriter.

Before hiring a copywriter (or anyone!), you should be clear about your project goals. (And you don’t have to have some wild, crazy goal. You might just feel ready for a spicy revamp which is a totally valid reason.) If you’re clear on your goals and those goals are something working with a copywriter will actually help you achieve, have at it, my friend.

But if you’re looking to copy as a bandaid solution, a magic wand, or a Hail Mary move, don’t waste your money.

Good copy (the non-sleazy kind) should reflect how good your offer is and help you pull in people who are aligned—not generate money out of thin air.

5. You’re only gonna hire a copywriter (and not invest in design)

Copy without design is like a turkey sandwich without turkey.

(Or a turkey sandwich that’s just turkey without the bread. God, I feel for my gluten-free friends.)

While it might settle a grumbling stomach, it’s gonna fall flat on delivering what you’re craving.

And listen, I get it. Investing in copy AND design is expensive. But it should be because you’re paying for the words and the visuals that represent YOU and help show your value to customers and clients.

If you’re not ready to invest in both, that’s okay. But. I recommend waiting until you’re ready because you’ll end up investing in only one and be disappointed by the results. I know because I’ve seen it time and time again.

People drop thousands on a beautiful website or on beautiful copy. But then, because the other part of the equation isn’t equally matched, they don’t end up making the money they expected to make. Which makes them feel like it was a wasted investment.

So if you’re not ready to invest in both, consider waiting.

And btw, when I say invest in both copy and design, that doesn’t have to mean a custom website or done-for-you copywriting. Maybe that’s taking a copywriting course (I recommend this one for website copywriting). Or, buying a template and having a designer customize it.

Just make sure you’re giving your copy and your design equal attention.

6. You’ve got a jam-packed schedule

When you hire a copywriter, they will absolutely do the heavy lifting for you. However, you’re still going to have to put in some work.

Will it be a lot? No.

But almost any copywriter you work with is going to have things they need you to do. You’ll need to show up to meetings, give feedback, and most likely, depending on what kind of copywriting you’re getting done, fill out a lengthy-ass questionnaire.

And if for some reason your copywriter doesn’t hit you with a lengthy-ass questionnaire…

There’s cause for concern because that’s part of how we figure out what’s important to you and how to write things in your voice, using your words.

Once your copywriter has cooked up your copy, they’re gonna need your feedback so they can make sure you’re happy with everything they wrote. So if you’ve got an insane schedule that has no room for filling out lengthy-ass questionnaires, giving feedback, having meetings…

Or, if you’re only gonna give half-assed answers and vague criticism…

You’re not gonna get what you want and your copywriter isn’t gonna be happy with you. Wait until you’re ready to give the process the attention it deserves. That way, it’s not a waste of your money.

Let’s do this backward and give you a nice and easy, skimmable list.

You’re not ready to hire a copywriter if:

  • You are unclear about what you want to offer and are still figuring out what your process and deliverables are
  • You aren’t sure how you stand out in your industry and what sets you apart from your competition
  • You only have a vague idea of who you want to target and aren’t clear about their personality, what they’re currently experiencing, and the vibe that they’re attracted to
  • You have no idea what you want your brand vibe and voice to be and sound like
  • You’re investing in a copywriter as a Hail Mary move, hoping it will make you magical amounts of money
  • You’re not going to invest in design and are hoping your copy will be read even if the design is actively working against your copy

Bottom line

As my brilliant friend from Lexicon Copy Co. said in a long convo we had about this very blog post,

“Copywriters communicate and sell people on an experience and if you don’t know what experience your brand will provide, you can’t hire someone to write about it. No matter whether you’re an e-commerce biz or an online service provider.”

The bottom line of the bottom line? Hiring a copywriter is not ALWAYS the right move. There can be a lot of good reasons to DIY it until you’re clearer and ready. And if you invest before you’re ready… You can come and sit with me in the losers’ club. I’ll wait for Bitcoin to make me a millionaire and you can wait for your copy to make you rich. You’ve been warned!

(P.S. As a copywriter, it’s my occupational duty to end this blog post on a call to action and tell you that if you read this, were reassured about just how ready you are, and think I’d be a good copywriter for your funky self and business… let’s work together.)

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