How to Hire a Copywriter (and Still Sound Like Yourself)

Looking around at the most successful brands within our creative industry, there’s one thing that every stand-out business seems to have in common: They create lots and lots and lots of content.

Podcasts. Instagram Stories. Instagram posts with long, inspiring captions. Blog posts. Ebooks. Weekly emails.

It goes on, and on, and on.

But if you've been at this content game for a little while, you also know that there's a limit to how much writing you can actually do by yourself.  Even if you’re a natural creative, writing anything takes a TON of time and energy. We all have a limit!

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Whether it's because you're stretched for time, you're not totally confident in your writing ability, or it's just not your favorite thing to do—the time might come in your business where you need to outsource some of those blog posts, email newsletters, ebooks, and social media captions so that you’re not managing every piece of content for your business all on your own.

But as I've heard time and again from friends who need and want help with content creation, it can be SO hard to trust someone else to write content for your brand!

Can another person actually sound like you?
Will they "get" the big picture of your business?
Will they write with the same level of passion and care for your audience as you do?

YES! A skilled copywriter can and will do all of those things!
That is, IF you give them the tools they need to do so.

I’ll warn you right now—equipping your copywriter to consistently create content that you’ll be pleased to share with your audience is going to take some time and energy up front. But if you’re going to invest your hard-earned dollars to outsource copywriting for your brand, isn’t it worth doing what it takes to make sure that investment pays off?

To get you started, here are 4 things you can do to get the best work from your copywriter:

1. Communicate the big picture of your business.

Each of the various pieces of content you create for your audience may be shared separately, but they don’t actually stand alone. From blogs to Instagram captions to ebooks and emails and more, each piece is just one part of the larger story you’re telling to and about your ideal client.

This means if you want your copywriter to create content that fits in with that story, you have to let them in on more than just the topic or headline you want them to write about! Take the time to share the why behind who you are, what you believe, and how you hope for your audience to grow through your content.

If you’ve never done the work to truly define the greater mission and message behind your brand and business, I am telling you, now is the time.  After all, if you can’t articulate what your business is about for yourself, how is your copywriter supposed to figure that out?

Not sure where to start? Check out this in depth blog post about the importance of starting with your why, then make sure you've done the work to uncover the core purpose behind your business.

2. Direct your copywriter to your best work.

If you've been blogging or on Instagram for a long time, you might assume that your new copywriter can just check out your past work on their own. And yes, any skilled ghostwriter can and should take that step!

But what are the pieces of content you’re most proud of? Which ones resonated best with your audience or have continued to generate the best leads? These are things your copywriter can’t know unless you share that information up front.

As you continue producing new content—and particularly when you’re investing in a copywriter to create that content—you want to be replicating your best, most authentic, and most effective work. Share what’s been working well (as well as anything that significantly under-performed) so that your copywriter can recreate the BEST of your brand voice.

3. Give your copywriter opportunities for interaction.

Have you ever gone away for a weekend with a good friend, only to find yourself naturally falling into their classic “voice” by the time you get home? The more time we spend with people, the more we naturally pick up on their manner and rhythm of communicating, the words they use, and their overall tone.

This is true for good friends, and it’s also true for copywriters. Every minute that they get to spend interacting with you is going to help your writer get a little bit closer to your authentic voice. It’s what will make your core purpose, your past content, and the guidelines you share come together to formulate truly authentic ghostwritten content.

In practical terms, this might look like scheduling a monthly interview call with your copywriter to discuss upcoming topics, or simply sharing recordings of meetings with your team so that your writer gets to hear your voice “in action.”

No matter how you go about it, the goal is to give your copywriter at least some amount of behind the scenes scoop into "the real you." That way, the voice they’re writing from will represent you as a real person—not just a "persona."

4. Create an in-depth content style guide.

If you’re feeling like all those steps sound like a lot of work—don’t panic, sweet friend! There’s a shortcut to compiling all the assets your copywriter needs to create blogs, emails, captions, and more that are so on point, you’ll actually start to forget which ones you did or didn’t write for yourself!

Along with your brand’s mission, vision, and values, links to your favorite content, and recordings of you doing life IRL, here are a few of the most critical elements of a content style guide that will equip your new copywriter with the tools they need to capture your authentic brand voice in every piece of content they create:

  • Point of View: Do you refer to yourself/your business using  I or we? Do you talk to your audience using you, or about your target using they?
  • Word Choice: Do you call the people who buy from you clients? Customers? Friends? What are the industry-specific terms you use every day, and what are the jargony catchphrases you would never be caught saying?
  • Pop Culture References: What are your hobbies, or the things you enjoy that you talk about regularly with your audience? Peppering in references to your love of Scandal, guacamole, and Starbucks coconut mocha lattes will help your copywriter craft more authentic stories and metaphors in your content.

Remember, the goal of any piece of content is to move your readers from casual followers to committed fans that become enthusiastic customers

So that means you want the voice they connect with on social media, over podcasts or video clips, and in your blogs and email campaigns to match the experience they’ll have as customers.

Being as detailed as possible with that content style guide is critical—both so that you will be happy with the content you receive from your copywriter, and so that your future clients don’t feel baited and switched when they come to work with you.

“Okay, Jaime, I get it. But how do I even start to create a content style guide for my brand?”

Friends, there’s no denying that if you’ve never put together a messaging guide for your brand, this process is going to involve some serious time and energy. What can I say? To borrow from the infamous Gary Vee, "you can’t outsource your push-ups."

But if you put in the up-front effort to put this messaging guide together and update it regularly, you’ll be far better equipped in the long run to run a content machine you can be truly proud of.

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